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From the forested mountains of Garrett County to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland has natural areas and scenic beauty rivaled by few states in the nation. You can play an important role in protecting Maryland's lands by agreeing to protect your land.
Your land matters to you and future generations. By protecting your land, you leave a natural legacy; you improve quality of life; conserve scenic views and wildlife habitat; ensure the future viability of farming and forestry; and preserve the rural character and natural beauty of communities all across Maryland. You can accomplish all of this without giving up ownership of the land you love.
You can continue to live on the property, farm the property, and sell it or pass it on to whomever you wish. You are also eligible for significant tax benefits that can help keep the land in your family and help you save on income, property and estate taxes.
You can protect your land through an agreement called a Deed of Conservation Easement. This is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust (like Maryland Environmental Trust), which restricts the future uses of the landowner's property. It applies to all future owners of the property. The agreement often limits such things as the amount of subdivision that is allowed on a property, or the number of houses that may be built. It does not grant public access to a property unless that is what the landowner wants. Deeds of Conservation Easement are tailored to fit a landowner's individual situation. The landowner and the land trust work together to finalize the terms of the agreement.
You may also choose to work with us and a nonprofit land trust to protect your land. In this case Maryland Environemt Trust and the land trust work together to make sure your land is protected forever -- that the terms of the agreement are not broken.
To get started, spend some time thinking about your long-term plans for your property. Consider what your goals are for protecting your property.
Maryland Environmental Trust accepts offers of conservation easements on a case-by case basis. Significant rural properties that contain agricultural, historic, natural, scenic, scientific, open space, or recreational values may be considered. Exceptional urban properties of all sizes, especially those that would provide public access, may be considered through our program policy. To find out if a Maryland Environemntal Trust conservation easement matches your goals and if your property is eligible for our program contact the Conservation Easement Planner for your county. We often work with land trust partners in the easement process. All of our services are free.
These are the typical steps involved in the Conservation Easement process.
The conservation easement donation process can take anywhere from five months to a year depending on complexity. Please keep this in mind if you plan to take advantage of tax benefits this year.
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