WHO MAY ACCESS YOUR LAND?
Does a conservation easement grant any special rights to owners of nearby properties—such as the right to cross the land that is subject to the easement?
No. A conservation easement is wholly different from the typical road or access easement with which many people are familiar. A conservation easement is created for the benefit of the public at large, to protect conservation values on the land for public benefit. There is no specific benefit for any neighbors. Neither the neighbors nor any member of the public in general obtain any rights to enter the land because of the conservation easement.
Do any of the conservation easements now held by AVLT allow for public access to the land?
Is it possible to have a conservation easement that specifies there must be public access?
Yes. The Internal Revenue Code recognizes this type of easement. But very few of the conservation easements that are held by thousands of local land trusts in the U.S. incorporate a public access feature.
If AVLT holds a conservation easement on my land, must I agree to allow representatives of AVLT to enter my land?
Yes. There is language to this effect in the conservation easement documents that AVLT uses. AVLT will always notify the property owner of proposed monitoring visits, which typically occur annually. AVLT prefers that the owner participate in the visit. After each annual monitoring visit, AVLT writes up a monitoring report. A copy of that report goes into AVLT’s files and a copy is sent to the property owner.