A land trust is a non-profit organization directly involved in the permanent protection of land and its resources for the public benefit. A trust may operate on a local, state, regional, or national level. A land trust is the private alternative to land preservation by public agencies or park districts. The land trust gives local citizens concerned about open space issues a way to work together to preserve areas important to the community. It also offers options to landowners interested in protecting their own land.
Land trusts are not “trusts” in the legal sense. Some, in fact, refer to themselves by other names such as conservancies, foundations, or associations. Land trusts accept donations of properties, buy land, or help landowners establish legal restrictions that limit harmful use and development. Land trusts may own and manage properties, monitor the restrictions they have helped establish for land owners, and/or work in partnership with other agencies. Little Traverse Conservancy is unique in the land trust world because it also offers free environmental education programs all year round.