a land trust, the Conservancy uses many tools to assist
landowners and communities in their preservation efforts.
If you’d like to learn more about any of the options
described below, please contact the office at (360) 373-3500
or via email.
Why Someone Might Want to Conserve
Perhaps you’ve watched the forests surrounding your
property slowly disappear and fear for the future of your
own trees. Maybe you own a farm that’s been in your
family for years, one that you’d like to see future
generations continue to farm. Perhaps you and your neighbors
are concerned about the future of a creek that runs across
your lands. Maybe you want to make sure the views out your
windows are ones that your grandchildren will be able to
For these reasons and more, landowners like you choose to
conserve their lands. As populations
grow and residential and commercial development expands
throughout our region, our forests, natural shorelines,
and open spaces are rapidly disappearing forever. A voluntary
gift of land (or a gift of conservation interest in land)
is one of the most significant contributions a family or
an individual can make to the scenic and natural future
of the Great Peninsula region.
Options for Land Conservation
As a private property owner you have the right to privacy;
you have the right to farm your own land; you have the right
to use and enjoy your property; you have the right to sell
your land, or to pass it on to your heirs; you have water
and mineral rights…and the right to develop your property.
One way you can protect your land is by donating a conservation
easement to the Great Peninsula Conservancy. A conservation
easement is a permanent, legal agreement placed on the title
that limits future uses of the land. Each conservation easement
is unique, written with your cooperation and with your needs
and the needs of your particular piece of property in mind.
Because the easement stays with the property when it is
sold or inherited, it offers permanent protection for your
You may continue to live on your property, you can use the
property for purposes such as farming or forestry, and you
can sell or pass on the property when you choose. But with
a conservation easement in place, you'll have the assurance
that, come what may, your unique piece of land will be protected.
With conservation easements we choose to give future generations
a chance to know and enjoy the land – just as we have.
Advantages to protecting your land with a conservation easement:
- You retain ownership and may continue to live on the
land, sell it, or pass it on to heirs.
- Conservation easements are flexible and can be written
to your specific needs.
- They are permanent, regardless of who owns the land.
- A Conservation easement may significantly lower estate
taxes and property taxes.
Donating land for conservation purposes may be the best
conservation strategy for you if you do not wish to pass
your land to heirs, if you own property you no longer use,
if you own a highly appreciated property, if you have substantial
real estate holdings and wish to reduce estate tax burdens,
or if you would merely like to be relieved of the responsibility
of managing and caring for land.
The Conservancy accepts donations of land with and without
conservation value. Lands with conservation value will either
be held permanently by the Conservancy or protected with
a conservation easement and then sold to a conservation
buyer. Lands without conservation value will be sold to
fund future projects and the work of the Conservancy. Donating
land is more straightforward than protecting land with a
conservation easement and you will receive tax benefits
for your charitable donation regardless of whether the land
has conservation value.
Advantages to donating your land to the Great Peninsula
- The donation process is simpler than protecting land
through a conservation easement.
- You are relieved of responsibility for the land.
- You receive tax benefits regardless of whether the
land has conservation value.
- You avoid capital gains tax.
- If your land has conservation value, it will be permanently
If you'd like to retain ownership of your land during your
lifetime but want to ensure its protection after your death,
donating your land to the Great Peninsula Conservancy via
a bequest in your will may be an ideal solution for you.
Before establishing the bequest, please contact the Conservancy
so that we are aware of your intentions and prepared to
accept your gift.
Advantages of bequesting your land to the Great Peninsula
- You can continue to live on the land while ensuring
its future protection.
- You may significantly reduce estate taxes.
Remainder Interest Land Donation
An outright donation is not the only way to give land. You
may give land while continuing to live on it by donating
a remainder interest and retaining a reserved life estate.
In this arrangement, you donate the property during your
lifetime, but continue to live on and use the property.
When you die (or sooner, if you choose), the land trust
gains full title and control over the property.
By donating a remainder interest, you can continue to enjoy
your land and may be able to claim an income tax deduction
for the value of the donation, your estate taxes may be
reduced, and the property taxes are levied only on that
portion of the land retained for personal use.
Advantages to making a remainder interest land donation
to the Great Peninsula Conservancy:
- You may continue to live on your land while ensuring
its future protection.
- You may qualify for a reduction in estate taxes, an
income tax deduction and a reduction in property taxes.
- Focus conservation efforts on priority lands, identified
by Great Peninsula Conservancy's Conservation Initiatives.
- Develop conservation partnerships with individuals,
public agencies, tribes, community groups, and other conservation
- Conduct outreach to landowners on options for land conservation.
- Build GPC's capacity to be responsive to conservation
With over 250 miles
of Puget Sound shoreline on the Great Peninsula , streams
and estuaries are a vital part of the region's ecology.
A water-endowed region, hundreds of estuaries and streams
dot the landscape, fed by an extensive network of springs
and wetlands as one moves up into the different watersheds.
Streams and estuaries provide a multitude of important ecosystem
benefits to both humans and wildlife. While often individually
small in size, collectively, these creeks and coves have
a big impact on the health of Puget Sound . Many fish, birds,
and marine life depend upon them for survival and people
value them for their beauty and natural features.
and lagoons are recognized as critical habitat for several
threatened aquatic species. Riparian areas and wetlands
also provide flood protection and help maintain water quality
by filtering pollutants and excessive nutrients from runoff
before it reaches Puget Sound . Conservation of land adjacent
to water can also provide points of public access and opportunities
for passive recreation, such as kayaking and bird watching,
and other ways for people to connect with nature.
Unveiled in 2008,
the Streams and Estuaries Initiative builds on earlier successes
and focuses GPC 's energy on conserving water-related lands
from tidelands to headwaters. To protect these natural assets,
GPC will actively:
- Develop partnerships with government agencies, tribes,
community groups, and other conservation organizations
to protect a diverse mix of streams and estuaries with
high ecological and public benefits;
- Work with communities in conservation and restoration
planning at a watershed level; and
- Take advantage of state, federal, and private funding
dedicated to wetland, coastal, bird, and salmon restoration
to protect critical fish and wildlife habitat associated
with streams and estuaries.
GPC Streams and
Great Peninsula forests
are unique, complex associations of soils, creeks, a diversity
of plant and animal life, and a highly evolved group of
trees, many of which attain great age, size, and individuality.
These spectacular forests provide myriad ecological services
at no cost, including clean air and water, conservation
of biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. These forests
are matchless in their ability to help limit climate change,
by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carefully-managed
forests may also provide valuable forest products and sustain
livelihoods that are important to the local economy. Additionally,
forests provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and
scenic landscapes that help sustain local communities.
Finding the right
mix between forests as reservoirs of biological diversity
and economic dependence on timber extraction has not been
easy to attain across the Great Peninsula . Conflicts over
forest management continue to polarize the community and
have left an unresolved legacy. However, the undisputed
fact is that forests are facing extreme threat for conversion
to residential and urban uses. Retaining these lands as
working forests is the first step toward long-term conservation
of forest ecosystems. Encouraging timberland owners to manage
these lands for long-term sustainability of ecosystem health
is the second step. Launched in 2009, GPC's Forests Initiative
is still evolving. As projects are developed, they will
be designed to achieve the following objectives:
- Preserve contiguous tracts of forestland forever, contributing
to local forest-based livelihoods and enhancing conservation
of biological diversity;
- Promote responsible forest management that not only
supports timber production, but also contributes to habitat
enhancement and healthy watersheds; and,
- Stimulate snowballing of benefits related to forest
conservation, like relief from climate change-related
impacts and improved water quality.
GPC will pursue a
dual path of on-the-ground conservation and participation
in public forums as an advocate for forest conservation.
Working with a variety of partners, GPC will play a lead
in finding win-win benefits for livable communities, forest
biodiversity, and a healthy climate.
GPC Forests Initiative
Greenspaces are a
community necessity, which have value beyond preservation
of wildlife habitat and neighborhood aesthetics. These lands
preserve community character, rural or urban, and may support
passive recreational opportunities such as trails, picnicking,
wildlife viewing, and environmental education. Small forest
enclaves, native wetlands, stream corridors, and farm fields
help to define our communities. They provide many children
with their first opportunity to explore the great outdoors.
Farms feed our community's growing interest in buying locally-grown
products. Trails and greenways attract neighbors and visitors
alike and sustain our quality of life. Conservation of community
greenspaces like these can help revitalize a neighborhood
and provide a boost to the local economy.
GPC has a long history
of conserving the special greenspaces in our communities
from the Indianola Greenway and Silverdale's Clear Creek
Trail to the many family-owned natural lands we protect
through conservation easements. GPC will continue to pursue
protection of community greenspaces through:
- Partnering with community groups such as the Clear Creek
Task Force, Friends of Miller Bay and the Hansville Greenway
Association that act as long-term stewards for specific
tracts of land;
- Working with willing landowners throughout the Great
Peninsula to protect natural areas in an increasingly
- Cooperating with other groups and agencies while exploring
new sources of funding for greenspace projects; and
- Leveraging financial contributions from local communities
that benefit directly from protection of local greenspaces.
Community Greenspaces Initiative Fact
You don’t have to own land to be a part of conservation
in our region. Click here
for other ways to get involved.
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