A land trust is a non-profit community organization that conserves, protects, and preserves open spaces and natural resources. This is done through the purchase of land, acceptance of land donations, and by collaborating with landowners in the formation of conservation easements. Once property is conserved, land trusts are involved in the stewardship of the land.
Conserved lands benefit the community and future generations in many ways. The most evident are traditional outdoor recreational uses such as hiking, hunting, and fishing. In addition, the scenic vistas and natural spaces provided by preserved land act as a muse for creative endeavors like photography, painting, and writing. Mindful of the preservation of a "way of life," land trusts often ensure the continuation of a parcel of land's productive purposes such as farming and forestry. Abundant with educational benefits; safeguarded habitats provide learning laboratories for science and natural resource programs, as well as opportunities for the study of sustainable growth. Less apparent, but equally important to the well being of a community, protected lands help secure safer drinking water, cleaner air, and a sense of tranquility.
Aside from the human rewards that land trusts offer, there are incalculable benefits for plant and animal life. As roads and subdivisions fragment large parcels of land, fewer species of animals can live in these areas and we significantly lower our level of biodiversity. Land trusts work to keep large parcels of land intact.
Open spaces are on the decline. Places to hunt are now gone or have been made unsafe for passer-bys because of their proximity to development. Working land, cherished by generations of farmers has become unaffordable because of increasing property taxes based on land valuations. The woods, where you explored and played as a child, have disappeared, and will never be enjoyed in the same way by your children or grand children. The Windham Land Trust is actively protecting the access to open spaces that define your way of life.
Trails found on Windham Land Trust properties provide areas for people to hike, snowshoe, and cross country ski. The serenity associated with “getting away from it all” can be found in the natural surroundings of your own town. Conserved and protected lands create clean buffers for drinking water and better air quality. Our preserves supply opportunities for family and friends to exercise together, enjoy the tranquility of forests and fields, and develop a love of nature.
The Windham Land Trust is a 501(c )(3) non-profit community organization dependent on the noncompulsory financial support of the community. The Land Trust’s status as a community organization allows it to move faster than State or local government in protecting land. Taxpayer benefits provided by the Land Trust are realized in a number of ways.
All donations to the Windham Land Trust are tax deductible as prescribed by law. Managed by dedicated volunteers, donated funds are put to work locally with less operational overhead. This means that you will see your money at work in your community.
Conservation easements allow landowners to work with a land trust to tailor a plan for the land’s future uses. The value of donated easements may be partially tax-deductible. Placing easements on property may also translate to property tax savings by removing the development potential of the land and lowering the market value thus resulting in lower estate tax.
Donations of land are not only a great way for landowners to reap tax benefits, but to leave a model legacy for future generations. Tax benefits are fulfilled through income tax deductions and estate tax benefits.
Tax benefits are realized by the public-at-large because protected land requires fewer municipal services than developed land. Open space costs taxpayers little or nothing, while a large subdivision can cost the town hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
Outdoor recreation activities like hiking, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing, walking, and the viewing of nature are enjoying increasing popularity with American people. Often people need to travel to natural areas to participate in these activities, spending money in the surrounding community while there. Open spaces protected by the Windham Land Trust are a draw for tourists. Also, it is easier for local businesses to attract employees to a town that values open space for aesthetic and recreational purposes.
Windham Land Trust properties provide essential habitats for the plants, insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals that live in our surrounding areas. Abundant with forests, fields, wetlands, streams, and geologic features, conserved lands provide local educators with learning laboratories. These valuable educational opportunities, just a short bus ride from local schools, supply your children with exciting hands-on examples that increase their comprehension and allow them to walk away with a greater appreciation for their natural surroundings.
There are countless ways that you can get involved in conserving, protecting, and preserving open spaces and natural resources in Windham and its surrounding communities. You can donate land or money, work as a volunteer, or discuss the value of conservation with your neighbors. Get started today because valuable open spaces are disappearing quickly.