Frequently Asked Questions
This year celebrates our 25th year of land protection. Safeguarding the beauty of open space in Utah was and remains the motivation for Utah Open Lands’ creation and continuing existence. As land for farming, ranching, recreating, educating and inspiring diminishes across America at a rate of an amount that equals almost 6,000 acres a day, the need for advocates for open space is crucial.
WHY WOULD A LANDOWNER DONATE A CONSERVATION EASEMENT?
Most if not all of our lands donated by the landowners, were done because of the owner’s love of the land. Lands that have been sometimes in the family for generations, lands that mean more to families than money. When donated to a qualified public charity like Utah Open Lands, conservation easements constitute a charitable donation and consequently have favorable tax consequences for the landowner making the gift. These tax benefits range from income tax deductions to estate tax benefits. Learn more
WHAT IS A LAND TRUST?
Utah Open Lands (UOL) is a land trust, one of roughly 1,200 land trusts throughout the nation. A land trust, like UOL, is a non-profit, tax-exempt, public charity identified under a special section of the Internal Revenue Service Code which allows the organization to hold conservation easements. Read more
WHAT IS A CONSERVATION EASEMENT?
A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement entered into voluntarily and mutually between a landowner and UOL, protecting the land from some or all future development in perpetuity. Read more
DOES A CONSERVATION EASEMENT INFRINGE ON PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS?
Actually a conservation easement enhances private property rights as it allows families a choice when faced with development pressures which could force the sale of the property. The right of a landowner to preserve his/her land is equally valid as the right to develop it. Again, an easement is a voluntary agreement entered into mutually, which allows for a landowner to continue owning the land, living on the land, working the land, or passing it on to the next generation or selling it to a conservation-minded buyer.
IS A CONSERVATION EASEMENT BINDING ON SUCCESSORS?
Yes, the conservation easement is binding on successive owners, but no it does not infringe on personal property rights any more than any other significant deed restriction would. A conservation easement is evident on the plat. It restricts future uses while maintaining current uses forever so the status of what the successive owner is either inheriting or buying should be clear.