Conservation Easements: Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Conservation Easement?
A conservation easement protects the conservation values of your property, like your farmlands or forest lands or wetlands and open spaces.
It is legal agreement filed with the deed of your property that ensures those conservation values are always protected no matter who owns the property in the future.
Should you, as a property owner, want to protect your land with an easement, Otsego Land Trust helps you to develop the easement to determine what you specifically want to see protected.
Otsego Land Trust is then responsible for ensuring your property is protected under the terms of your easement into the future.
If I donate a conservation easement, do I still own and control my property?
Yes. You still own your property. You can sell, lease, farm, conduct forestry, or do any of the things you would normally do with your property within the terms of the easement protection.
Does a conservation easement require me to allow public access to my land?
No. Again, your private property is YOUR private property. A conservation easement does not give the public any rights to your land.
What kinds of protection does a conservation easement offer?
In order to protect the conservation values of the land, a conservation easement will prohibit industrial and large scale commercial activities and prevent excessive subdivision. It will also designate different levels of protection based on the unique characteristics of your property. For example, the easement may say that no building is allowed along a stream corridor, but could allow the building of a barn or residence in a designated area. Every easement is different, depending on the property and your needs and desires as the landowner.
How does Otsego Land Trust ensure the easement is upheld year after year?
Our stewardship staff visits all easement protected properties each year to ensure conservation values are being protected as per the terms of the easement.
Are there tax benefits associated with conservation easements?
Please see Financial Benefits or call our office for more information regarding the possible tax benefits related to conservation easements.
Why does Otsego Land Trust protect land using conservation easements?
Otsego Land Trust is a private, non-profit conservation organization with a mission to conserve our natural heritage of woodlands, farmlands, and waters that sustain rural communities, promote public health and support wildlife diversity. Every time we conserve a property with a conservation easement we take a step towards furthering our mission. Conservation easements benefit you, the property owner, by protecting the conservation values of your land into perpetuity. Conservation easements also benefit the community because all land protected contributes to the environmental and ecological health of the whole region. We are a community organization who truly believes that a good quality of life depends on the health of the lands and waters that sustain our lives.