Conservation Easement: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

A conservation easement is a restriction placed on a piece of property to reduce usage of the resources (natural or man-made) associated with the parcel. The easement is either voluntarily sold or donated by the landowner, and constitutes a legally binding agreement that is usually permanent and theoretically protects land for future generations.  Conservation Easements have become one of the tools of choice for taking control of private property without actually needing to purchase the land outright.

Conservation easements negatively affect our tax base and increase the price of privately owned land but are justified because “Bambi needs a home”. To that it should be said that without the existence of conservation easements there are still wildlife habitats, farmland, and open spaces for Bambi AND income and property tax generation while not driving the cost of privately owned land through the roof.

While this article was published in 2008, you should feel comfortable extending the lines on the graphs that include data only up until the year 2005. Rest assured that the effort to control privately owned land through the use of conservation easements has done nothing but increase since 2005.

In summary, this article about conservation easements is fantastic. It will allow you to learn the history of conservation easements, how they work, the many disadvantages they have, not just for those who voluntarily give up their land, but for the rest of the citizens, and so much more. This is a critical read if you are attempting to convince officials that property rights are under attack in America. To learn more, follow this link.

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