PRESERVING THE LAND WE LOVE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
The Land Trust has acquired land in several ways since it was established in 1987 as Alabama’s first land trust.
The majority of property has been added via donation from land owners. There has been some acreage added as purchase/donations. Also, the Land Trust currently has two properties that are called Life Estates. Another way to protect land is through a Conservation Easement.
Land Donations occur when a landowner wants to see land preserved and is entitled to deduct the appraised value of the land from his or her taxes. Many properties have been acquired in this manner. Developers have especially utilized this method, as it allows them to donate and preserve portions of property that have development constraints.
Land Purchase/Donations happen when a landowner is paid for part of his property and donates part of the property for a tax deduction. Grant monies and general Land Trust funding are used to pay for the property. All of the Land Trust’s land acquisition funds are raised through memberships, gifts, corporate sponsorships, and fund raising events. There is no consistent, dedicated source of funding at this time to support land purchases.
Life Estates are used by landowners who want to continue to use their property during their lifetime but want to insure that their preservation wishes are carried out after their death. The property is already deeded to the Land Trust but the land owner continues to have full use of the property during his or her lifetime. There is one working farm and one wetland currently being preserved as Life Estates.
The Land Trust’s Land Acquisition Committee is led by volunteers. All properties are rated according to the following criteria before acceptance by the committee. Accepted properties are then presented to the full Board of Directors for a vote before the acquisition is final.
Criteria for acceptance includes the following items: Resource significance, development pressure, cost, linkage, existing use by the public, maintenance/size of property, access/title.
Saving the land requires planning and money. It isn’t cheap. And usually, once the “SOLD” signs appear on a property it’s too late to preserve it. Pre-planning is the answer.
Do you know of land that is historical in nature or contains unique geological features? Do you, or someone you know, own land that they are interested in donating or selling to the Land Trust for preservation (and tax advantages)?
We’d like to hear from you. For more information on land acquisition, contact Cynthia Potts, Executive Director.