If you are a landowner interested in learning more about how to preserve your land you can download a copy of the Manada Conservancy Preservation Packet. This packet contains information about land trusts and what they do, information about the process of placing a conservation easement, and a fact sheet about land protection options.
Many landowners with a significant parcel of land would like to see it stay undeveloped, either for agriculture, wildlife habitat, historic or scenic value, or to enhance the quality of life in their community. Often, even though they don’t want to see their land developed, it happens anyway, either because some is sold to pay bills, or because the heirs can’t afford to pay the estate taxes.
What is a conservation easement? Simply put, it is a restriction placed on a parcel of land, protecting its conservation value by limiting development, restricting activities in sensitive areas, such as stream banks or steep slopes. or preserving it as farmland. The restrictions run with the deed in perpetuity. You retain ownership of the property, but have given up some rights, such as limiting subdivision, according to the terms—established by you—of your easement. This restriction reduces the value of your property by a measurable amount, which may be considered a charitable deduction by the IRS.
Public benefit does not mean public access. Conservation easements which protect farmland, habitat and stream buffers have public benefit even though they remain in private hands.
The Manada Conservancy is a non-profit land preservation organization—a land trust—with the mission of preserving natural, agricultural, scenic and historic lands in our region. We work with landowners who wish to preserve their land voluntarily, and once we have accepted a conservation easement on a property, we are responsible to make sure, in perpetuity, that the preservation wishes of the landowner are upheld. This does cost us money, and we do request (but do not require) a small endowment amount to help us uphold our responsibility to your land—the IRS requires that we demonstrate that we have the resources to protect the easement. We take this job very seriously, and we have worked with a number of landowners to protect their lands in this way. See some of our past projects.
The Summary of Land Preservation Options, below, is also included in the downloadable Preservation Packet.
The Manada Conservancy is a sponsor member of the Land Trust Alliance, a national umbrella organization for land trusts. Their web site contains a wealth of information about land trusts, land protection and specific land preservation issues.
We also belong to The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, which seeks to protect Pennsylvania’s special places and landscapes for today and for generations to come. To increase the quality and pace of land conservation, PALTA helps conservation practitioners improve their effectiveness, builds public understanding, and advocates for better governmental policy. PALTA’s web site also contains information for landowners.