Conservation Easements

What is a Conservation Easement?

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust (such as Athens Land Trust) that permanently limits use of the land in order to protect a property’s natural resources. Some important things to keep in mind with conservation easements:

  • The landowner continues to own and manage the property, which can be sold or inherited.
  • The CE must provide benefits in terms of open space or natural resource protection.
  • Each CE is tailored to the particular property and to the goals of the landowner. The CE can allow for a variety of uses including farming, hunting, and limited residences.
  • The rights retained by the landowner and the restrictions on land use are spelled out in the CE, which becomes attached to the property’s deed.
  • The CE is binding on future landowners of the property. The land trust that holds the CE has a responsibility to monitor the property to ensure that landowners comply with the provisions of the conservation easement.

What are the benefits of a Conservation Easement?

  • Protecting open space helps provide clean air and water, scenic and rural views, significant natural habitats, as well as recreational and agricultural resources for the community
  • Ensures that the land’s natural and/or agricultural resources are preserved as the property is passed to heirs or sold to future landowners
  • There may be potential tax benefits for landowners that qualify for federal charitable tax deduction, estate tax deductions, local property tax reductions, and the Georgia State Tax Credit

How can I donate the ownership of my land to Athens Land Trust?

For fee, or ownership donations of land, please visit our Planned Giving page.

Who can I contact about donating a conservation easement on my property?

Please contact Krisztian Varsa or Dyan Holt or call 706-613-0122.