Voluntary agreement between landowner and municipality to restrict management, development, or use of land to preserve resource, view sheds, ecosystems, farmland/forest land, or open space. Can permit access. May be donated or sold; tax reduction possible. Land trust can be vehicle to buy, hold, or enforce easements.


To preserve or conserve the scenic, cultural, environmental or architectural condition of property by restricting use. Can also be used to create public access.


May be difficult to insist the owner maintain easement in a particular way. Make sure there are no outstanding liens, mortgages, etc. Appraisal for tax deduction purposes may be hard to fix. Access is typically not part of it. Public access must be linked to easement purpose.


Can be coupled with purchase of development rights (e.g. farmland). Can save local government the cost and administrative burden of holding and maintaining easement. In coordination with other initiatives, can be used to create a larger greenway/bikeway network.


Reinventing Conservation Easements

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Land Trust Alliance

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