Land conservation is meant to keep treasured places open and natural and to protect our region’s land, water, wildlife, and culture. Conserved land might be used as open space or agriculture today, with a difference use in the future, but will be forever undeveloped. Maintaining space for farming, ranching, spaces between places, wildlife habitat, and places for kids to play are all benefits of land being left just that, land. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
For more detailed information about protecting land through conservation easements, download our Landowner Packet.
What is a “conservation easement”? A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and AVLT that permanently limits certain high-impact uses and development while allowing for uses consistent with conservation goals, such as farming and ranching. A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement recorded in the county records that becomes a permanent part of the title to the land, acknowledged by all future owners of the land. It can be an important planning tool for the future.
Will I still own my land after conservation easement? Yep. The land is still yours and you are free to sell it, transfer it, or mortgage it, with the knowledge that the conservation easement will forever protect it.
Are there certain criteria for my land to be considered for conservation? Every property is unique and, while there are no minimum acreage requirements, AVLT has adopted criteria for selecting conservation projects. If you’d like to determine eligibity, we’d love to hear from you. There is no risk or cost to inquiring.
Will my land be protected forever? Yes. You and AVLT will create a formal agreement, called a conservation easement, which assures that the place you love will be protected. Forever. The promise of forever makes this process especially meaningful — a legacy for future generations.
"What better thing to do than conserve land? Nobody is tearing up blacktop and planting wheat."
- Dr. Raymond & Judy Schoonmaker, Kinstead Ranch
Why is it called ‘donating’ a conservation easement? Your commitment to keep your land undeveloped is seen by federal and state governments as a charitable gift in the interest of the public. What you are ‘donating’ are the rights to develop, divide, and use your land in certain ways.
Does a conservation easement give the public access to my land? Nope, unless you specifically want that to happen.
How long does it take to complete a conservation easement? There is no set timeline, but the process of conserving your land usually takes about a year but this allows you and your family to be thoughtful and deliberate in your decisions.
Our region faces a housing crisis. What about leaving some space for affordable housing? We fully support comprehensive planning efforts and work hand-in-hand with local municipalities to make sure we do not conserve land that would best serve the community as housing. There are still plenty of opportunities to build affordable housing within urban boundaries. Our goal is to protect family farms and ranches and critical wildlife habitat between our communities.
Can a conservation easement ever be amended, terminated, or condemned? Conservation easements cannot be revoked or terminated, except by a court order. Amendments may be made in rare cases to further the purposes and intentions of the easement (such as to add acreage or increase protections) or to correct or clarify details within the agreement.
Aspen Valley Land Trust is dedicated to protecting land forever in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys. For 55 years, AVLT has been a trusted community-supported conservation partner helping to ensure the natural and community health of our region.