There are many different ways in which you and Champlain Area Trails can work together to protect your land. Whether you want to maintain ownership, sell, or donate your land for protection, explore all of your options for permanently protecting the scenic and conservation values of your property.
If you would like more information about your options as a landowner, or if you would like to arrange for Champlain Area Trails to do a site visit and discuss land protection options, please call the CATS office at 518-962-2287 or firstname.lastname@example.org. CATS also has available a booklet Conservation Options: A Landowners Guide which provides straightforward information about the ways you can protect your land and about the tax benefits that can result-whether you want to pass land along to your children or donate it for the use of all.
Gift of Land
Few more enduring legacies can be imagined than the protection of a natural landscape. CATS accepts gifts of land which has special ecological, recreational, or scenic value. Land which does not meet these criteria may be donated with the understanding that CATS will sell the land and use the proceeds to purchase other significant natural land. In either case, you may claim an income tax deduction based on the fair market value of the land at the time of the gift. CATS is happy to name the resulting nature preserve in your honor or in the memory of a loved one.
Leaving land to CATS in your will allows you to retain full use and control of the land during your lifetime, yet ensures its care after you are gone. Because the gift must be formally accepted after your death, we urge you to share your plans with us in advance so that we may assure you that the gift meets our criteria for acceptance.
What about Deed Restrictions?
A land owner who depends upon deed restrictions to protect property will probably be disappointed. The most serious disadvantage to deed restrictions is that no third party can be designated to assume monitoring and enforcement responsibility. The law limits who can enforce the restrictions and for how long. For example, if you insert restrictions in your deed and then sell or give the land away without retaining land nearby, your restrictions may not be enforceable by you or your successors!
Sale and “Bargain Sale”
Land is occasionally purchased for conservation purposes by various governmental units and by CATS. Sales below market value (“bargain sales”) involve the gift of a portion of the property’s value by the donor. The value of the gifted portion can be deducted from the donor’s federal income taxes.