Individuals, Families, the Economy, and Community
Everyone benefits from land conservation. For individuals and families, land conservation ensures that property with important personal meaning will be protected. For example, conserving farmland ensures that a family’s future generations will have an agricultural land base that helps preserve the rural, agrarian character of Anderson Valley.
Jobs and the local economy benefit from the conservation of good-quality, well-managed forests, while outdoor recreation opportunities are enhanced by the protection of the native flora and fauna and a diversity of species. Anderson Valley businesses benefit from conservation of the region’s scenic beauty and values as a visitor destination. All these benefits lead to a stronger community for local residents, even if they are not personally involved in a conservation easement.
Income and Estate Tax Benefits
The gift of a conservation easement to a land trust may constitute a charitable gift that entitles the donor landowner to a charitable deduction both for income and estate tax purposes. The tax benefits to the donor can be truly compelling, and this is particularly true in 2010 and 2011, when charitable deductions from granting a conservation easement may qualify for preferential treatment. While we are not permitted to give tax or legal advice in this area, we strongly advise property owners to consult with their tax and legal advisors about the implications of granting a conservation easement. For a general discussion of the income and estate tax benefits of granting a conservation easement, and the preferential tax treatment allowed for easements granted in 2010 and 2011, please refer to Using the “Conservation Tax Incentive: December 2010” prepared by the Land Trust and the “Easement Donor Factsheet”.
Freedom in Land Management
AVLT is not involved in the everyday management of conserved property. Management, consistent with the conservation easement, is left to the landowner. We monitor each of our conservation easements once each year with a site visit, which usually takes a few hours. We also answer questions that may arise throughout the year about land management as it pertains to the easement. Our Stewardship Program ensures that the intent of the conservation easement is fulfilled, but there is no involvement in day-to-day decisions and operations.
A conservation easement does NOT grant public access to the property, unless the owner specifically includes this feature in the easement’s terms.