CATS Grand Hike to the Essex Inn
Plans for the CATS Grand Hike to the Essex Inn on May 14, 2016 are in full swing. This year you can meet at the Essex Inn and catch a shuttle to the beginning of the hike in Wadhams. Shuttles will be running every 15 to 20 minutes from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. so you can start at whatever time you need to walk the 11 miles and reach the Essex Inn in time for the BLOCK PARTY from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. As in the past two years, there will be oases along the way where you can rest, fill up your water bottles, have a snack and use a port-a-potty. The Block Party will feature live music, refreshments, and restorative yoga and massage for tired hikers. There is no charge for the block party and non-hikers are also invited. For more information and to register, click here.
Dream Trail Designers
On March 19 a group of young hikers met at the Erin Hall Studio in Westport to Design their own Dream Trail. Our trailblazers created many new trails at the workshop as you can see from the maps they made. Pictured from left to right are: Margot Hall, Felix Haskins, Lila Kullman, Natalie McDaniel, Ooona Hall, Alexander Goff, Otis Wekin, Ezra Wekin and Grace Kullman. For information on future events, click here.
Trail of the Week
If you want to take a different kind of a hike, this week we suggest a hike on the Champlain Bridge Trail in Crown Point. Begin by the Crown Point State Historic Site and hike across the bridge to experience some of the most magnificent views around. This handicapped accessible “trail” is an easy, one-mile round trip.
Part 8 – Conservation Easement Costs[See the previous posts discussing conservation easements here.]
A conservation easement (CE) is an excellent way to preserve natural habitat, conserve farmland, and protect clean water. It can also be costly. Here’s what goes into those costs:
The Appraisal establishes the CE’s value. If the landowner is donating the CE, the IRS requires him to pay for the appraisal. If the landowners sells the CE, the Land Trust may pay for the appraisal. Estimated cost – $3,500
Lawyers review the CE and arrange the transaction. Estimated cost – $2,000.
A Survey may be needed for the whole Property or just to identify areas where structures can be built. Estimated cost of a full survey – $10,000.
Transaction Costs include updating the title to the Property, getting title insurance, paying real estate transfer taxes, and closing costs. Estimated cost – $2,000.
Land Trust Staff Costs include inspecting the Property, negotiating the CE, creating a Property Description Report, contracting for appraisal/survey/title work, and completing the transaction. Estimated cost – $3,500.
Stewardship Endowment is intended to provide earnings that pay for 1-2 days of staff time to annually meet the landowner and review the status of the Property. Estimated cost – $7,500
Easement Defense Fund is a predetermined amount aside for each CE that will be combined with insurance coverage to pay legal costs in the rare case that the Land Trust needs to legally enforce the CE. Cost – $3,000.
So, that all adds up to $31,500. That’s a lot of money. Before you start writing checks or say, “No way,” just “hold your horses” as my father used to say and look forward to next week’s piece on CE’s where I’ll discuss programs to cover those costs and how the benefits of donating a CE can offset the conservation easement expenses.
CATS Executive Director