Frequently Asked Questions

When considering how to protect your land, here are some of the common questions that arise among landowners. Please do not hesitate to contact our office to talk directly with one of our land protection staff: 231.347.0991.

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.

As community organizations, land trusts are responsive to the special needs of the land and people in their regions. As private organizations, land trusts are able to offer quick response, flexibility, and confidentiality in land transactions.
No. We are more than 4,000 people like you who want to protect the special places and characteristics of northern Michigan. Together, with a professional staff and hundreds of volunteers working on the ground, we are one of the oldest and most established land trusts in the Midwest. We comprise a broad coalition of northern Michigan residents, resorters, landowners, conservationists, and developers. Our supporters are bound together by a common interest in establishing a healthy balance between development and the need to protect the scenic beauty and natural integrity of northern Michigan.

One way to visualize a conservation easement is to think of owning land as holding a bundle of sticks. Each one of these sticks represents the landowner’s right to do something with their property. The right to build a house, to extract minerals, to lease the property, pass it on to heirs, or allow hunting are all rights that the landowner has. A landowner may give up certain development rights, or sticks from the bundle, associated with their property through a document called a conservation easement. The easement will carry with the property for perpetuity, regardless of future ownership.

Conservation Easement Guidebook

People grant conservation easements because they want to protect their property from future unwanted development but they also wish to retain ownership of their land. A conservation easement ensures that the property will be protected forever, regardless of who owns the land in the future. An additional benefit of granting a conservation easement is that t