The conservation easement, is the most commonly used approach to land conservation. It enables landowners to preserve and protect the special qualities of their properties and to limit development on lands of ecological or scenic importance for all time.
As a landowner of property, an individual holds a collection of rights such as the right to farm and conduct forestry, the right to sell, the right to pass the land to children, the right to control public access, and the right to build upon or subdivide the property. These rights are a bit like holding a handful of straws. The conservation easement can be loosely described as the landowner passing all or just a few of those straws to the land trust to hold in perpetuity.
To give some rights away while retaining others, a property owner grants a conservation easement to a qualified recipient such as a land trust. A conservation easement does not typically change the way that an owner uses their property so long as those uses do not conflict with the restrictions of the easement.
Easement restrictions assure that the property will be protected indefinitely, no matter who owns the land in the future. Conserving land in this manner ensures that future generations will continue to enjoy the special places you cherish while protecting the natural and cultural amenities of our community.