What is a land trust?

A land trust is a private, nonprofit corporation with the primary purpose of protecting open space in its natural state for the benefit of present and future generations. Because it is a 501(c)(3) corporation, membership fees and additional donations are tax deductible. Trusts purchase land and receive donations of land and conservation easements. Donors have not only the benefit of tax savings, but also an enduring legacy of generosity and foresight. The land trust regularly monitors the properties that it holds.

What is the mission of the land trust?

The land trust has only one mission: To protect natural areas and the quality of life. All of the activities of the land trust relate to that mission.

Why protect open space?

Development in most communities is rapidly decreasing the amount of open space available. This open space offers scenic views and beautiful places for walking or running, nature education and inspiration. A Natural open space cleans, filters, replenishes the fresh air and clean water that people need. Also, open space represents diverse habitats - forests, fields, ponds, vernal pools and other wetlands – which require protection, largely because of the wildlife that depend on them.

What is the position of the land trust with respect to land development?

We are neutral. We have not, and will not take a position with either those who work for or favor the development (such as the "Cotswold" project) or those who oppose it. None of our past actions have been and none of our future actions will be anything but neutral.

Doesn't the willingness of the land trust to accept a developer's donation as part of a development proposal suggest that the land trust is helping the developer?

No. Please recall our mission, to protect natural areas. The Land Trust considers any desirable land donations or conservation easements from any owner, because that land will be permanently protected. The owner could be an individual, family, estate, developer or other business or government entity. In a hypothetical development project; if a developer has all approvals to build on part of the land, we would be delighted to accept and protect the balance of any significant acres. Consistent with our mission, the more acres set aside, the better.

But doesn't it look as if the land trust is helping, or that the developer is trying to wrap himself in green by working with the land trust?

Some have that perception, and that is why we have made this effort to clearly state our mission (protect natural areas) and position (neutrality). The land trust is in no way "helping" or "working with" the developer. We do stand ready to accept and protect desirable natural areas from any source.

Why doesn't the land trust actively fight development projects?

Because that is not our mission. There are many excellent and effective conservation and environmental organizations (such as the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the Sierra Club, etc.) that have such a mission. The land trust urges citizens to get involved with the good work of these organizations. In fact, as individuals, many land trust directors and other members belong to and work with such organizations.

Out of the remaining natural areas, some will be developed. Some projects will include setting aside and protecting a portion as open space or natural areas. The land trust exists to conserve land, including such set aside, donated parcels. If the land trust actively fought developers, we believe that we would seriously harm our mission and less land would be saved.

How can I learn more about the benefits of protecting open space, including possible tax benefits?

Click on Protect Your Land and Reduce Taxes or click on Contact Us