Plans for the CATS Grand Hike to the Essex Inn are in full swing. Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 14. This Grand Hike will be the best yet! We’ll start in Wadhams and walk 11 miles to Essex where you can enjoy the Block Party. Visit our website for more information and to register for the hike.
Last Saturday, we began preparing the trails for the Grand Hike. The access trail to Mount Wadhams needed some work especially as it continued toward the new Long Valley Trail. A big THANK YOU to our volunteers. There is more to do so hopefully you can join us on future projects.
The next CATS Event is a fabulous one. You really need to see the views from Coot Hill and the hawks riding the thermals. Join Gregg Van Deusen for our second annual Coot Hill Bird Walk and Hawk Watch at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 23rd. You’ll likely see many species of raptors that migrate along the ridges west of Lake Champlain. Meet at the trailhead at the end of Lang Rd in Moriah and join us for the moderate one mile hike to the overlook. Bring your lunch or a snack and binoculars. Click here for more information and to register.
Trail of the Week
The Trail of the Week is the Wildway Passage Trail. This 1.5 mile loop is an easy hike that passes through a peaceful forest, goes by some interesting rock outcrops, crosses over a little stream several times, and has an overlook where you can relax and look out over the Split Rock Wild Forest.
Part 7 – What Happens after the Conservation Easement is Signed?[See the previous posts discussing conservation easements here.]
Hooray! The Conservation Easement is signed and more land is saved. Now what? The landowner carries on but is mindful of how the CE protects the Property’s conservation values and clean water. If he donated the CE, he will contact an appraiser to value of CE and justify the tax benefits he’ll receive.
The Land Trust files the documents in a secure location, informs its donors and the public about its conservation success, and deposits funds into the stewardship and easement defense accounts. If it was a donated CE, the Land Trust will study the appraisal and sign the IRS form for the landowner’s tax benefits.
Then a year goes by and it is time to monitor the easement. The Land Trust reviews the CE, reads the Baseline Documentation Report which describes the Property when it was covered by the CE, and contacts the owner for a site visit. They meet, discuss the Property, and walk it as the Land Trust take pictures and verifies compliance with the CE. Then the Land Trust fills out a form, attaches new photos, and mails it to the landowner.
In rare situations, the landowner or Land Trust may want to alter the CE. This is done through a legal process to amend the CE. A caution is that if the CE was donated, the amendment cannot reduce the restrictions and thus give value back to the landowner for which tax benefits have already been claimed.
When the land is sold to another owner, then additional work takes place. The Land Trust must explain the CE to the new landowner emphasizing that this is a permanent document that restricts potentially harmful activities and encourages beneficial uses. Some new owners may not understand the process or resist the CE which could cause problems. In the vast majority of cases, the new landowner supports the CE because he too, wants to protect the conservation values and clean water. Because the CE is permanent, this easement monitoring process will continue far into the future. And that is what conservation is—its saving what we have now for those who will follow—an inspiring and auspicious reality.
Next we’ll look at any costs involved in a CE.
CATS Executive Director
- What is a Conservation Easement? (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Local Examples of Conservation Easements (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Old-Growth Forest Network Recognizes Dickenson’s Point (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- 2015 Grand Hike A Sucess – CATS Sends Thanks (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- What’s in a Conservation Easement? (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)