If you are thinking about protecting your land, there are a variety of land conservation tools are available to meet your individual needs (more on conservation easements here) . Our professional staff is here as a resource for you. As a nationally accredited land trust, Midcoast Conservancy meets the highest standards for land conservation.
We are fortunate to have worked with numerous landowners who decided to protect land in your backyard. Here are their stories.
Sandy and Honor Sage own 33 acres along the Sheepscot River in Alna. Their concern for the endangered Atlantic salmon population in the river was the impetus for their easement donation. Louis is a biologist who has a passion for protecting the rivers and the natural habitat found there. His wife, Honor, was also interested in preserving the land and protecting it from further development. Sandy did some research and found that the part of the river their property borders contains conditions ideal for salmon spawning. He realized that if these river fronts are not protected, salmon, as well as other flora and fauna, will not survive. As a result of their concerns, their easement prohibits additional residences and provides strong protection of the riverfront.
The Marshalls – A great gift
Chris and Susan Marshall generously donated 15 acres of land, including a spectacular hemlock forest and section of bog in our Sheepscot Headwaters region. One of our founding organizations (Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance) worked with them and it all came together in 2010. They had purchased the land, along with a home, in 1978, and raised their family there. Today they still reside on the portion of the property they retained.
Donating the land, the Marshalls say, actually enhanced their relationship with it. “We are not losing anything, and we are gaining longer-term protection for the land.” They see benefits for both Midcoast Conservancy and themselves. The Marshalls still have the opportunity to use the land as they did before, walking it as they always had but now with their grown children whenever they come back for visits. Says Susan, “A lot of it is about care. This is such a special place and I feel really attached to it. Donating the land has provided us a way to leave it in better shape than we found it.”
For Chris, the fact that the land will be open to the public and enjoyed by other people for 20, 50, 100 years into the future is an important piece of his enhanced relationship with the land he and his wife Susan donated. “The land is stewarded knowledgeably, now and into the future.”
“We use the land to walk on and gather mushrooms, and we can still do that. It doesn’t change our relationship with the land but we want to protect it. We are not losing anything, and we are gaining longer-term protection for the land. Whoever would have purchased the land after us might not want to protect it.”
Lucy Harrington donated an easement on her 150 acres along the Marsh River, a major tributary of the Sheepscot River. Her parents bought the island in 1968 when they were looking for a fishing camp. Lucy fell in love with it and visited often. Lucy’s father and brother wanted to develop the island but Lucy and her mother wanted to prevent any changes. Happily, Lucy and her mother prevailed. Lucy began to contemplate her mortality. “I didn’t know anything about easements when I started but I knew I wanted some way to protect the property and keep it undeveloped into the future. I learned about easements from Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association and was encouraged by a friend who worked for Maine Coast Heritage Trust. I trust Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association [now Midcoast Conservancy] because they seem to share my passion for protecting the land. Easements do not make you give up any ownership. For me, it just eliminates the possibility of anyone developing the property in the future. I encourage everyone who has a passion for protecting his or her property to obtain an easement. It is not difficult.”
The Donhams – Finding a win-win
Brett and Priscilla Donham were already familiar with the concept of easements when they bought their property in Alna. They had several reasons for putting an easement on their land. “We loved the quality of the open space on our property and wanted to affirm that and make a commitment to have it stay that way.” They learned about how land conservation offered a possibility of bringing back salmon. They also learned about potential tax benefits. Donating an easement on a property may be a gift that can be deducted from federal income taxes. “It is truly a win, win situation.”
Joseph & Mary Fiore – story coming soon
If you are looking for more information on what might work for you, Anna our Director of Conservation would love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org or 389-5153.