YOUR FAMILY LAND

:

LEGACY OR MEMORY?
An Introduction to the Family Land Protection Process

By Steve Broderick, Holly Drinkuth and Ruth Cutler

YOUR FAMILY LAND: LEGACY OR MEMORY?
OVER TIME, MANY FARM AND FOREST OWNERS COME TO LOVE THEIR LAND: ITS FORESTS, FIELDS, AND STREAMS, AND THE WILDLIFE THAT LIVE IN THEM. ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL, MANY WOULD LOVE TO KNOW THAT SOME OR ALL OF THEIR LAND WILL REMAIN UNDEVELOPED AFTER THEY’RE GONE. THE FACT THAT YOU’RE READING THIS SUGGESTS YOU MAY BE ONE OF THEM.

If you choose to do it, protecting your land from development is a task you certainly can accomplish. Virtually every case is do-able, and every problem solvable. It does require some planning and decision making, however, so the sooner you start the better. Experience has shown that the number one obstacle to the protection of family land is pure and simple procrastination. The Appendix at the end of this booklet is filled with specific contact information of groups and programs, right here in the QuinebaugShetucket Heritage Corridor, that can help. We at The Green Valley Institute are always anxious to help, and available at any time at:

( 8 6 0 ) •7 7 4 •9 6 0 0
Stephen.broderick@uconn.edu Holly.drinkuth@uconn.edu Ruth.cutler@uconn.edu www.thelastgreenvally.org/gvi

We look forward to hearing from you.
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This booklet is designed for landowners who think they might want to permanently protect some or all of their land from development, but aren’t sure where to start. It’s built around a simple set of steps you can take that, once completed, can put you on the path to a land protection plan that accomplishes exactly what you want it to.
THE STEPS ARE IN A SUGGESTED ORDER THAT YOU MAY FIND IT MAKES SENSE TO REARRANGE, DEPENDING ON YOUR SITUATION AND THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT PRESENT THEMSELVES.

STEP 1 Get specific . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
What is it that you want protected for future generations? What matters to you? Try to think in terms of protection goals, such as protecting water resources, habitat for wildlife, preserving a scenic vista, and/or sustaining a working farm or forest. Some questions to ask yourself include: • • • Do you want an heir or heirs to someday own it, or do you prefer that a land trust or conservation organization own it? Do you want to retain the land and exclusive use of it for your lifetime, or doesn’t that matter? Do you want the public to be able to enjoy some or all of your land, or do you want it to remain private? • • Could you benefit from income and/or estate tax benefits available to those who voluntarily protect conservation land during their lifetimes? Do you want all of the property kept from development, or are some specific portions more important than others?
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Step 2 Learn some basics about land protection tools and options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Many folks assume they have just three options for the future of their land: • They can give it all away; • They can sell it all for development; • They can leave it as is to their heirs. In fact, these are just three options out of many, representing a wide range of income to the owner and protection of important natural resources for future generations. Perhaps the single most important land protection concept to understand is the notion of “separable rights”. This means that you as a landowner possess many individual, and separable, rights, which are “bundled” together in land ownership. Examples include the right to hunt, to fish, to grow and harvest crops or trees, to build buildings and to subdivide the land according to town land use regulations. As a landowner, you can choose to remove one or more of these rights from your bundle and still retain all the other rights you currently have. A farmer who sells his/her development right to the State Department of Agriculture is a good example of this principle in action. That farmer can no longer subdivide or develop the land, but can still do everything else he/she always has, including farming the land, selling the land to another farmer, or willing it to heirs.

Land protection tools, then, come in 3 basic categories: 1. You retain ownership of your land but remove the right to build and/or subdivide. These tools are known as conservation easements or conservation restrictions. 2. You sell or gift the property itself to a government agency or non-profit conservation group. 3. You combine sensitive and limited development on a portion of the land with permanent protection on the rest. These tools can be used simultaneously, and/or in any combination. In addition, there are an increasing number of local, state and federal funding programs available for land protection. Which ones you might qualify for will depend on the location and attributes of your land. To learn more, contact the Green Valley Institute or consult the Further Reading section at the end of this booklet.

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Many owners are torn between not wanting to see their land developed and not wanting to disinherit children or other heirs. Usually, however, it’s not an “either/or” situation, as some may believe. Creative planning and compromise can allow for some measures of both.

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Step 3 Discuss your thinking with appropriate family members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Not everyone has immediate family members, and for some this step may not be necessary, or even desirable. But for many it is absolutely essential. Many a land protection effort has failed, or never gotten off the ground, because family members either didn’t communicate or couldn’t agree. Getting things “out on the table” can relieve anxieties, reduce misconceptions and clarify just what differences of opinion really must be addressed. Many owners are torn between not wanting to see their land developed and not wanting to disinherit children or other heirs. Usually, however, it’s not an “either/or” situation, as some may believe. Creative planning and compromise can allow for some measure of both. But the key is to open the lines of communication so the planning process can begin. At some point, we all must face our own mortality. There is nothing unseemly or morbid about having these discussions, but breaking the ice can be difficult.

Step 4 Make some calls

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Let’s assume you’ve thought through these first three steps. You’ve developed a clearer idea of what you want to happen to your land, and in general which of the three types of protection tools seem to make sense for you. If necessary you’ve talked things over with appropriate family members. Now it’s time to reach out and make some contacts. Which contacts you make, and in what order, will vary from one situation to another. The most common ones include: 1. The Green Valley Institute. We can answer specific questions and help you pull a team of partners and advisors together that can work with you. 2. Your local land trust. Land trusts are non-profit organizations run by local, conservation-minded volunteers. They exist to permanently protect and care for open space. Land trusts can help you explore funding programs, locate good legal assistance, and much more. The map in Figure 1 shows local land trusts within the Quinebaug-Shetucket Heritage Corridor and the towns where each one operates. 3. Your town Conservation Commission. These Commissions exist to inventory and protect important open space as your
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community grows. Often they can work with you and the local land trust to help you realize your land protection goals. Your town clerk or annual town report can provide contact information. 4. A conservation attorney. If you have a good attorney that you like and trust, that’s great. But be aware that some attorneys (even those who advertise estate planning services) may not know much more than you do about the specific needs, opportunities and tax issues facing folks protecting their land. If in doubt, ask your land trust or Conservation Commission for a recommendation.

Step 5 Take stock of what you have . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
People who own thousands of dollars worth of stocks or mutual funds usually keep fairly close track of how healthy the companies they’ve invested in are, what kind of return they’re producing, and what risks they might be facing in the future. Yet these very same people might own tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of land and timber, and yet know almost nothing about it: how healthy the forest is, what the land and/or timber is worth, or even where the boundaries are. Specifically, your land protection effort will likely require: 1. Accurate boundary information. This doesn’t necessarily mean an expensive survey, but someone should know where your property corners are and how to find them. 2. A property appraisal. Certified general real estate appraisers can estimate the current market value of your land, as well as the value of its development rights. This information isn’t required early on, and may not be necessary at all. It will eventually be needed, however, if you intend to take advantage of federal income tax deductions that are allowed for conservation gifts or bargain sales. If some of your land is forested, a forest resource inventory can also be helpful. A certified professional forester can conduct one and alert you to such features as unique plant communities, valuable or productive timber stands, valuable wildlife habitats, etc. This information enables you to make the best possible choices about what portions of your land may be the most important to protect. Your local Cooperative Extension office or DEP Service Forester can provide you with a listing of Certified Professional Foresters in your area (see For More Information).

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ACT NOW!!!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

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Step 6 Don’t forget: NOW IS THE TIME! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Contrary to popular belief, protecting family land is not something to put off until just before you die. There are at least four good reasons why the time to do this is now: 1. 2. 3. 4. If you should die unexpectedly without a plan, the state and/or your heirs will create one for you. Theirs may not look much like what yours would have. Significant income and/or tax benefits may be lost by waiting to protect land via last will and testament. Good planning can save land now, save or earn you money now and may save your heirs money later. Peace of mind. If you keep thinking about this, you must want to do it. Actually getting it done changes that worry into pride and contentment. You’re of sound mind at the moment. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

For more information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Green Valley Institute is dedicated to: • Improving the knowledge base from which land use and natural resource decisions are made, • Building local capacity to protect and manage natural resources as our region grows. The GVI is a cooperative venture of the Quinebaug-Shetucket National Heritage Corridor, the UConn College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UMass Extension, and numerous other partners.
The Green Valley Institute c/o The UConn Cooperative Extension System, Windham County Extension Center 139 Wolf Den Road Brooklyn CT 06234 (860) 774-9600 www.thelastgreenvalley.org/gvi The Quinebaug-Shetucket National Heritage Corridor 107 Providence Street Putnam, CT 06260 (860) 963-7226 www.thelastgreenvalley.org
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YOUR FAMILY LAND:

LEGACY OR MEMORY?
YOU CAN FIND ADDTIONAL INFORMATION THROUGH THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS. CALL BY PHONE OR VISIT THEM ON THE WEB.

The UConn Cooperative Extension System can provide information on farm management, forest stewardship, estate planning and other related topics. Contact:
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension System

The Connecticut Division of Forestry has a Public Service Forester who can provide on-the-ground forest stewardship information and assistance for no fee. Contact: Dick Raymond Goodwin State Forest 23 Potter Road Hampton CT 06247 (860) 455-0699 Sherwood.raymond@po.state.ct.us http://dep.state.ct.us/burnatr/forestry
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Windham County Extension Center 139 Wolf Den Road Brooklyn CT 06234 (860) 774-9600 Tolland County Extension Center 24 Hyde Avenue Vernon CT 06066 (860) 875-3331 New London County Extension Center 562 New London Turnpike Norwich CT 06360 (860) 887-1608 www.canr.uconn.edu/ces

EC

T IC

U T F ORE

ST

EA

Wolf Den
Land Trust

AS

S O C I AT I O N

The Eastern Connecticut Forest Landowners Association is a non-profit educational organization run by forest owners for forest owners. Through quarterly newsletters and workshops they provide information and education on forest stewardship and family lands protection topics. Contact: ECFLA P.O. Box 404 Brooklyn CT 06234 www.ecfla.org
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S T E RN C ON

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ND
OWNERS

Local Land Trusts in The Quinebaug-Shetucket National Heritage Corridor (see Land Trust Map to the right). Avalonia Land Conservancy P.O. Box 49 Old Mystic CT 06372 (860) 887-6786 www.geocities.com/avalonialc Charlton Heritage Preservation Trust P.O. Box 92 Charlton Depot, MA 01509 (508) 248-5121 www.charltontrust.org Connecticut Forest and Park Association: A conservation organization and land trust which also manages the 700-mile Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System. Contact:Adam Moore 16 Meriden Road, Rockfall, CT 06481 98600 346-TREE www.ctwoodlands.org Dudley Conservation Land Trust 29 Healy Road Dudley, MA 01571 508-949-2468 www.dudleyclt.org Greater Worcester Land Trust 172 Shrewsbury Street Worcester, MA 06104 (508) 795-3838 www.gwlt.org

Land Trust Regions within the Quinebaug-Shetucket National Heritage Corridor
Legend
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LEGEND

East Brookfield

Town Boundary

East Brookfield

Town Boundary

Wolf Den Land Conservancy*
Brimfield Charlton Sturbridge Oxford

Avalonia Land Conservancy Wolf Den Land Conservancy* Connecticut Forest and Avalonia Land Conservancy Park Association** Brimfield Connecticut Forest and Dudley Conservation Land Trust Park Association** Greater Dudley Conservation Land Trust Worcester Land Trust Joshua’s Tract Land Trust Greater Worcester Land Trust
Holland

Charlton Sturbridge

Oxford
Holland Southbridge Dudley

N W
Southbridge

Webster

E

Dudley

Webster
Union Woodstock

Joshua’s Tract Land Trust Norcross Wildlife Foundation Opacum Land Trust Union Norcross Wildlife Foundation Opacum Land Trust and Opacum Land Trust Charlton Heritage Preservation Trust Opacum Land Trust and Wyndham Land Trust Charlton Heritage Preservation Trust Wyndham Land Trust and Wyndham Land Trust New Roxbury Land TrustAshford Wyndham Land Trust and New Roxbury Land Trust

S

Thompson

Woodstock

Thompson
Putnam Ashford Putnam Eastford Pomfret Killingly

Eastford Pomfret Killingly Chaplin

*The geographical region of the Wolf Den Land Trust Mansfield Coventry includes all towns located within Windham County, Connecticut. **The Connecticut Forest and Park Association covers the entire Connecticut portion of the Quinebaug-Shetucket National Heritage Corridor.

Coventry

Mansfield

Hampton

Brooklyn

Chaplin

Hampton

Brooklyn

Windham

Scotland

Canterbury

Plainfield

Sterling

The Nature Conservancy owns protected land or holds easements within the Quinebaug-Shetucket National Heritage Corridor.

Windham

Scotland

Canterbury
Lebanon

Plainfield

Sterling
Sprague

Data shown map on were derived from data courtesy of the Connecticut Department Lebanon of Environmental Proctection, Environmental Franklin and Geographic Information Center, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Massachusetts Geographic Information System.

Franklin

Sprague Lisbon Griswold

Lisbon Griswold Norwich Voluntown Preston Voluntown

This map is intended for planning purposes only, contains Norwich no authoritative positional information, and is not suitable for conveyances.
Preston

0

2.5

5

10

15

Miles

continued

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Joshua’s Tract Land Trust P.O. Box 4 Mansfield Center, CT 06250 (860) 429-9023 www.joshuaslandtrust.org The New Roxbury Land Trust P.O. Box 98 Woodstock CT 06281 (860) 928-9726 www.nrlt.org The Norcross Wildlife Foundation P.O. Box 269 Wales, MA 01081 (413) 267-9306 http://www.norcrossws.org Northern Connecticut Land Trust P.O. Box 324 Somers, CT 06071 (860) 684-5538 www.northernctlandtrust.org Opacum Land Trust, Inc. P.O. Box 233 Sturbridge MA 01566 (860) 347-9144 www.opacumlt.org Wolf Den Land Trust P.O. Box 404 Brooklyn CT 06234 (860) 974-1991 www.ecfla.org/wdlt
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Wyndham Land Trust P.O. Box 302 Pomfret Center, CT 06259 (860) 774-3493 Funding Programs for Land Protection: Contact Information Federal Programs U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program: purchases conservation easements on important forestland threatened with conversion to other uses. Contact: Fred Borman CT Division of Forestry 79 Elm Street Hartford, CT 06106 (860)424-3630 http://dep.state.ct.us/burnatr/forestry http://dep.state.ct.us/burnatr/forestr Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Farmland and Ranchland Preservation Program: purchases conservation easements on prime, unique or other productive soils for the purposes of limiting conversion to non-agricultural uses of the land. Contact: Kip Kolesinskas, Natural Resource Conservation Service 344 Merrow Road, Suite A Tolland, CT 06084-3917 (860) 871-4011 www.ct.nrcs.usda.gov/sign-up-programs.html www.ct.nrcs.usda.gov/sign-up-programs.htm
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State Programs CT Department of Agriculture Farmland Preservation Program: purchases development rights on existing working farms with significant prime or productive farm soils. Contact: J. Dippel CT Department of Agriculture PDR Program 165 Capitol Avenue Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 713-2511 www.ct.gov/doag CT Department of Environmental Protection Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program: acquires land adjacent to existing state land or other large tracts that meet specific criteria. Contact: Suzanne M. Barkyoumb DEP Division of Land Acquisitions and Management 79 Elm Street Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 424-3016 http://dep.state.ct.us/rec/openspace/rnhtp.htm CT Department of Environmental Protection Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Program: provides grants to municipalities and land trusts to protect important land and water resources. Contact: Dave Stygar DEP Land Acquisition Unit 79 Elm Street Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 424-3016 http://dep.state.ct.us/rec/openspace/opensp31.htm http://dep.state.ct.us/rec/openspace/opensp31.ht

Non-Profit Organizations The Nature Conservancy: TNC works with willing landowners to preserve lands important to the conservation of biological diversity, with particular focus on two specific regions within the QSHC. http://nature.org Contact: Holly Drinkuth Quinebaug Highlands Project Director 139 Wolf Den Road Brooklyn, CT 06234 (860)774-9600 hdrinkuth@tnc.org Kevin Essington Pawcatuck Boderlands Project Director 391 Norwich-Westerly Road P.O. Box 250 North Stonington, CT 06359 (860) 535-1355 kessington@tnc.org Connecticut Farmland Trust: CFT assists landowners with protection of agricultural land by raising private funds to match with public funding in acquiring conservation easements. Elisabeth Moore 77 Buckingham Street, Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 247-0202 www.ctfarmland.org
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Connecticut Audubon: Accepts land or easements adjacent to their existing wildlife sanctuaries in Hampton and Pomfret. Contact: Sarah Heminway, Director Connecticut Audubon P.O. Box 11 Pomfret Center CT 06259 928-4948 www.ctaudubon.org/visit/pomfret.htm

Further Reading A Landowner’s Guide to Conservation Options. The Nature Conservancy. 28-page brochure available from The Land Trust Service Bureau, 55 High Street, Middletown CT 06457. (860) 344-0716. Conservation Options: A Landowner’s Guide. The Land Trust Alliance, 1331 H Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20005-4711. (202) 638-4725 or www.lta.org Preserving Family Lands: Essential Tax Strategies for the Landowner. Stephen J. Small. A three-book series available for $14.95 each from Preserving Family Lands, P.O. Box 2242, Boston MA 02107 or www.stevesmall.com The Landowner’s Guide to Conservation Easements. Steven Bick & Harry L. Haney, Jr. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 4050 Westmark Drive Dubuque, Iowa 52002. 179 pages.
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Graphic Design by Susan Schadt, University of Connecticut

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The Green Valley Institute c/o University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System 139 Wolf Den Road Brooklyn, CT 06234

The Green Valley Institute is an educational partnership of:

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension System

working with

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