Last week I briefly explained landowner liability for those who have a trail on their property. This week I will begin an informative series about Conservation Easements.
What Is A Conservation Easement? A Conservation Easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust like CATS, or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. The landowner continues to own and use the land and can sell it or pass it on to his heirs.
When you donate or sell a Conservation Easement, you give up some of the rights associated with the land. For example, you might give up the right to build additional structures or to subdivide the property into multiple parcels. You do retain rights like using the land for agriculture or harvesting timber but agree to do those activities in ways that protect clean water, maintain soil health, and ensure sustainable use. Future owners will be bound by the easement’s terms. The land trust is responsible for making sure landowners follow the easement’s terms.
Conservation Easements can be flexible within established limits. For example, an easement on property with rare plants might prohibit development in sensitive areas but allow it in other places. An agricultural easement would allow farming and new barns, but only with a wide vegetated buffer along streams. An easement may apply to just a portion of the property.
Next week we’ll look at some local properties that have conservation easements to see how they work.
The scheduled “Third Saturday of the Month Volunteer Project” on February 20 has changed slightly. The recent wet weather and ice would make our planned project difficult, so we decided to use the day to discuss the CATS Trail Adopter program as we hike the Beaver Flow Trail.
Many people have expressed an interest in becoming a Trail Adopter but don’t think they can because they don’t have a lot of time, they are afraid the work may be too difficult, or they don’t want to hike the same trail over and over again. As we walk this trail together and cut back low-handing branches, we’ll explain how you can adopt one trail and hike it often, OR you can call us if you plan to hike and would like to help and we’ll suggest a few trails that might need some attention. If you notice a problem on a trail that you can’t handle, just give us a call and we’ll make arrangements to take care of it. As our trail system grows, we need your help. So join us on February 20 for a winter hike on the Beaver Flow Trail and learn how easy and fun being a CATS Trail Adopter can be! Email us at email@example.com if you plan to come. We will meet at 8:30 am at Dogwood Bread Company in Wadhams for coffee and muffins and should be done around 1:00.
February 27 is the “Introduction to Snowshoeing” event. The group will begin together at the Dogwood Bakery and after basic instruction will head out on the 3-mile loop trail. Meet at 3:00 pm. One leader will guide families and adults looking for a shorter adventure and the other will take those looking to complete the trail. (If we don’t have snow, still plan to come for a great winter hike. Pok-O-MacCready instructor Zack Floss said if there isn’t enough snow to snowshoe, he will use the hike to “Read the Winter Landscape,” exploring how the land had been used since European settlement began. The group will look at various signs on the forest floor, the composition and age of tree species in the area, and other hints of human or animal activity.) The chili buffet starts about 5:00 and will cost $12/person so plan to stay for dinner and music at the Dogwood Bread Company. You can come just for that! Click here for more information and to register for the event.
- CATS Achieves Accreditation! (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- CATS Application Approved By Land Trust Alliance’s Accreditation Commission (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex County Agriculture (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Where is the Split Rock Wildway? (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- More Work to Do at Split Rock Wildway (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)