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:

Countryside Conservancy

We work to keep green spaces green in northeast PA!
Countryside Conservancy
Countryside Conservancy4 months ago
We were saddened to learn today of the recent passing of Mr. Don Wydeen, formerly of Dalton. I got to experience his generosity and community mindedness firsthand when back in 2013, the plans for the Trolley Trail came to a screeching halt before we could connect into Dalton. We were ONE property short from bringing the Trolley Trail all the way from Clarks Summit into Dalton when Don and his wife Tina came to the rescue. They graciously allowed the Conservancy to have an easement along the edge of their property in order to get trail users out to South Turnpike Road and continue on to Dalton. This alternate route would require a 240-ft. raised boardwalk through wetlands and Don didn't bat an eye. He saw the potential benefit of the Trolley Trail to the community, and he understood the importance of completing the connection into Dalton. Don put the community before himself and took the chance on an unknown brand new trail. The resulting boardwalk has become one of the most popular features along the Trolley Trail and lets trail users experience the unique wetland ecosystem from above. We don't take landowner generosity lightly especially when it comes to allowing public access, but Don's belief in the Trail and the Conservancy will have a lasting impact on the community for generations of residents. From all of us here at the Conservancy, our condolences to his family and please think about him the next time you walk or ride the boardwalk.
Countryside Conservancy
Countryside Conservancy4 months ago
Have you gone for a walk lately? The Countryside Conservancy Trolley Trail was recently enjoyed by community members for a Winter Nature Walk. On Feb. 15, beginning at Church of the Epiphany in Glenburn, walkers were guided down a portion of the Trolley T
Countryside Conservancy
Countryside Conservancy4 months ago
Photos from Countryside Conservancy's post
Countryside Conservancy Trolley Trail
Looking like a perfect weekend to hit the Trolley Trail and thanks to Eric Simakaski and Troop 251, you can fine-tune your bike during your ride!

Photo credit: Abington Journal & Brad Smith
Countryside Conservancy
Countryside Conservancy5 months ago
Happy Valentine’s Day from all your favorite trees!
Countryside Conservancy
Countryside Conservancy5 months ago
The Church of the Epiphany - Glenburn Twp, Pennsylvania
Tomorrow is the day and it’s going to be perfect!

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