Learn about land trusts to protect yourself from urban sprawl.
In our age of urban, suburban and even rural sprawl, no
land is sacred. But there are steps you can take to improve
the odds, learn about land trusts to ensure your beloved property won't someday be leveled for
yet another condominium development or amusement park.
Land covenants are land-use restrictions
between buyers and sellers, or between partners. They're
attached to the property deed and are recorded at the local
county courthouse. However, protection of covenants is up
to the new owner, and the covenants can be easily
A conservation easement is a type of
self-zoning, where you guarantee some land-use activities
and prohibit others by relinquishing certain landowner
rights to a monitoring and enforcing agency (such as a
local land trust organization or the U.S. Forest
Service). There are easements guaranteeing property will
never be logged, will always be reserved for agriculture or
will remain undeveloped.
Conservation trusts are another level of
protection, where you either donate or will your property
to an existing trust, or set up your own. Trusts are
nonprofit corporations with a charter that defines the uses
of the land it owns or controls. Starting and maintaining
your own trust can be challenging, even for a cooperating
— Jesse Wolf Hardin
Hear more from Jesse in "Bringing Nature Home," page 128 of this issue.