GPMCT works with willing landowners on a voluntary basis to conserve lands of ecological, scenic, recreational, agricultural and historic significance in northwestern Hancock County. While there are many methods of conserving family lands, land trusts most often choose one of the following tools.
Conservation Easements can protect the most valuable natural resources or scenic beauty of your land while keeping it in private ownership. Each easement is different – a custom fit for each landowner and property – and includes covenants that describe allowed uses of the land. Public access is up to the landowner. Land under easement will remain on the tax rolls, and landowners may continue to live on and manage the property, sell it, or pass it to heirs – GPMCT will visit the property annually and monitor it to ensure compliance with the easement, which is a legal document enforceable by law. Donating a conservation easement can result in significant income or estate tax benefits if an appraisal shows that the property value has been diminished by the easement.
Donation of land with significant conservation or recreation values is a wonderful gift to the community, and an important legacy for a family to leave behind.
Sale of land to GPMCT requires a capital campaign and associated expenses for the trust, but may be the best option for a property with exceptional conservation and/or recreation values. In such cases, GPMCT may seek to negotiate with a landowner for a “bargain sale.” A sale substantially below appraised value can be considered a tax-deductible charitable donation – benefiting both GPMCT and the seller.
Because stewardship of conservation easements and ownership of land are serious long-term obligations, GPMCT will thoroughly evaluate any conservation offer to determine whether it fits our criteria for conservation values and benefit to the public, and what stewardship obligations it would bring.
For more information on conserving family lands with GPMCT, call the Executive Director at 207 469-6929 or e-mail [email protected].
Download this Maine Coast Heritage Trust guide for more conservation information as well.