Through a conservation easement, the land is not opened, and the set of rules that make it environmentally friendly stay on even in the event of a new land sale.
By Evan J. Pretzer.
Spruce Grove Examiner
December 13, 2018 at 6:13 p.m.
Though growth in the Edmonton region at times leads to loss of natural land, the Edmonton and Area Land Trust works to preserve area environments.
Recently, the group received a donation of more than 100 acres of old growth forest from an anonymous donor in the Tri-Region. When added to the other lands managed by the trust, it totals more than 2,200 acres total preserved for wildlife and, on occasion, those who want to enjoy them.
“This is significant,” Edmonton and Area Land Trust Outreach Coordinator Stephanie Weizenbach said. “It is really cool forest and some trees have been shown to be over 100 years old and it is an important bird habitat.”
The trust usually accepts land through two different ways. Under a fee simple transaction, the title to the land is transferred to them and it is then opened up to low impact public activity such as snowshoeing. Through a conservation easement, the land is not opened, and the set of rules that make it environmentally friendly stay on even in the event of a new land sale.
This is the direction of this donation.
According to Weizenbach, this means the new acres will not be available to the public. The rules are ironclad and devalue the land to a significant degree, though it can benefit the owner when it comes to tax payments.
“They get a credit for the difference,” she said. “This is then used against taxes for up to 10 years.”
And for the anonymous owner, preserving it was most important.
“We decided to put a conservation easement on this property because if at some point down the line we had to sell it, we would have the assurance and deep comfort of knowing that it will remain largely as is forever,” they wrote in an email.