Protecting Your Lands

Conservation Options for Private Landowners

Conservation Easement:
A legal agreement between a private landowner and a nonprofit land-conservation organization such as Countryside Conservancy. The agreement permanently and legally restricts the types of subdivision, development, and activities allowed on a property. It is a powerful tool for preserving the important natural, scenic or recreational values of a property.

Under a conservation easement, the landowner retains ownership of the land and all rights not covered by the easement, while the Conservancy takes on legal responsibility for enforcing the easement restrictions.

A conservation easement is a voluntary initiative on the landowner’s part. The easement document itself is tailored through discussions between the landowner and the Conservancy and is designed to protect the values of the land in a way that reflects the owner’s needs and wishes.

The landowner benefits from an easement through the assurance that the important values of the land will be protected permanently, even after it passes into other hands. In certain cases, the landowner can take a Federal income tax deduction for donating a conservation easement.

The Conservancy holds conservation easements on properties in three counties (see Protected Lands for information on our easement properties). Nationwide, over 6 million acres have been protected through voluntary conservation agreements of this type.

Land Donation:
A landowner may donate the title to conservation-worthy land to Countryside Conservancy. Donating land releases the landowner from the day-to-day responsibility of managing the land. The Conservancy will work with the landowner to ensure that the Conservancy has the resources to own and manage the land as the landowner envisions.

The Conservancy will consider acquiring lands only if the owner wishes to sell and if ownership seems to be the best way to provide significant public benefit. To date, most of the properties we have acquired lie next to Lackawanna State Park, and we manage them as public-access areas that serve as virtual extensions to State Park lands.

Donations of land may be made during the landowner’s lifetime or by bequest. Landowners who donate land to a conservancy typically quality for a Federal income tax deduction, and also avoid paying the capital gains tax that usually results from a land sale.

Remainder Interest:
Landowners may donate a remainder interest in land while reserving a life estate for themselves. This allows the landowners to continue living on the land and using it during their lifetime; ownership passes to the Conservancy upon their demise. Giving a remainder interest in land may qualify a landowner for a Federal income tax deduction.

Bargain Sale: 
Landowners may sell conservation-worthy land to the Conservancy for less than its market value in a “bargain sale.” This option generates some income for the landowner and may also qualify the landowner for a Federal income tax deduction for the donated value (the difference between market value and sale price).

For more information on conservation easements and other land conservation options mentioned visit:

Upcoming Events

  1. 20th Annual Conservancy Auction

    July 20 @ 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

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Countryside Conservancy
Countryside Conservancy3 hours ago
A great clip of our Davis Crossing Preserve near Lake Winola - thanks Discover NEPA and thanks to the Crawford family for helping to manage the trails and our beaver friends!!
Countryside Conservancy
Discover NEPA
Join our interns for a walk through the Countryside Conservancy's Davis Crossing Preserve in Dalton. Hikers can choose between a 1-mile loop or a straight out-and-back trail that leads to a viewing stand overlooking the pond. See if you can spot some beavers during your visit! ☀️ #DiscoverNEPA
Countryside Conservancy
Countryside Conservancy4 days ago
It's not just your imagination: "The substantial May rainfall total helped push the most recent 12-month output for the Lower 48 states to the highest level in 125 years of record-keeping."
Countryside Conservancy
Countryside Conservancy6 days ago
Current conditions on the Trolley Trail: not raining!!!
Countryside Conservancy
Countryside Conservancy1 week ago
Photos from Countryside Conservancy's post
Countryside Conservancy Trolley Trail
Many, many thanks to these wonderful volunteers from Prudential and our Trolley Trail Committee for all their hard work today!