What is a conservation easement? -  A conservation easement (or conservation restriction) is a legal agreement between a landowner
and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows you to
continue to own and use your land and to sell it or pass it on to heirs.

When you donate a conservation easement to a land trust, you give up some of the rights associated with the land. For example, you might
give up the right to build additional structures, while retaining the right to grow crops. Future owners also will be bound by the easement's
terms. The land trust is responsible for making sure the easement's terms are followed.

Conservation easements offer great flexibility. An easement on property containing rare wildlife habitat might prohibit any development, for
example, while one on a farm might allow continued farming and the building of additional agricultural structures. An easement may apply to
just a portion of the property, and need not require public access.
{definition extracted from lta.org}

The NFA has several Conservation Easements, protecting an additional 90 acres from future development.  These are still private
properties and public access is not permitted.  To the NFA, and the community at large, conservation easements serve to help preserve the
rural character of Newtown and provide connectivity between other open space to provide larger ecosystems for wildlife to thrive.  Although
we don't legally own the property we do have the legal obligation (as a public charity holding these rights) to oversee the owners property
management/stewardship practices to ensure that the terms of the easement are not violated.  The obligation to us holding a conservation
easement is attributable to the presumption that the donors may have the ability to deduct the fair value of the donation as a charitable
income tax deduction.  The potential deduction can only be evaluated by your tax advisors and generally requires the donor having retain
site engineers and a qualified appraiser.

Read about our recent Conservation Easement donation from the
Howat family in August 2009.
Conservation Easements
Newtown Forest Association
Connecticut's Oldest Private Land Trust
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