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Conservation Easements to sell land or receive tax break

Posts: 13
Location: Colorado/Montana
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Does anyone here have experience with using a conservation easement as part of their financial plan for their property. If so, I'd love to hear what you've learned. From what I can see, it's theoretically possible to sell your land or part of it to a designated land trust while still retaining rights, in perpetuity, to the property. I think my big question is this: Are these land trusts something that you create then "sell" it to yourself or are there other organizations that will pay you to keep portions of your land in a natural state?
Posts: 3054
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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I'm pretty sure you can go through a process to be exempt from property taxes. Same as if you raised cattle. There's probably rules like minimum acreage to qualify.

I watch a show called "out on the land" on rfdtv. On that show they mention nrcg which I think is natural resource conservation group. My impression is they provide grants to help with changing the land. Stuff like adding wetlands for migratory ducks. Another one they changed the perimeter fence for a certain type of deer that goes under, not over a fence.
Posts: 522
Location: Sierra Nevadas, CA 6400'
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I know this is an old topic, but I have a good reason for resurrecting it!

First off, I just got off the phone with the director of a local conservancy and some financial planners. The way these easements work is that you negotiate with the conservancy what rights in which areas you are retiring. The conservancy does not own these rights, they are retired — so you cannot buy them back. What those rights look like are completely up to your negotiations. It seems as though I could box out specific pieces of my land to retain all rights for, while giving up other rights in other areas. The only rights that apply to the whole property are title-related right, specifically the right to subdivision. You then hire an appraiser to appraise the value of the rights you've given up, and that becomes the amount you can deduct from taxes.

For the next part, I'd love to hear about anyone with experiences with these types of grants. What kind of things should I include in my negotiations? From the outset, this seems like a great fit for my property. I have zero interest in subdivision, and no qualms with retiring rights in perpetuity. This will never be a year-round home or a homesteading location, and I'm not super interested in logging the property (primary means of future income). The tax deduction would be far more lucrative than any non-logging business I could run there. My main interest is to have some land to play with gardening-wise (a comically small percentage of acreage), a nice place to escape to in the summers, and improvement of the landscape. The last part is one of the biggest reasons for my interest in this. We'd effectively be partnering with the conservancy and they would help with things like fencing the free-grazing cows out, clearing the meadow of lodgepoles, stream improvement, etc.

So... anyone with experiences here? We don't plan on making any moves on this until at least next summer, but I'm always interested in more personal experiences.
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