Conservation Tools

There are a variety of tools that can be used to conserve land. Read on to hear about a few of the ways Three Rivers Land Trust works with landowners to protect special places in our region.


Conservation easements: Conservation easements are one of the most important tools for conserving private land. Landowners continue to enjoy ownership of their land while preserving its beauty and natural characteristics for future generations. Conservation easements are negotiable documents that match owners’ property-use needs with long term benefits to their community.


Bargain Sales: A bargain sale occurs when a landowner agrees to sell land for an amount less than the full fair market value as determined by an appraiser. The difference between the fair market value and the contract price is deemed to be a charitable donation and tax deductible when the purchaser is a charitable entity, such as a land trust.


Remainder Interest Trust or Reserved Life Estate: Through a remainder interest trust or life estate, the landowner can place an easement on their land and restrict it today, as well as make a commitment that at the end of a specified time period or upon the landowners’ death the entire property will be owned by the land trust or other remainder beneficiary. As with bargain sales and donations of easements, significant tax benefits may be realized by the landowner through these transactions.


Bequest, Living Trust, or Charitable Trust: These estate planning devices can all be used to ensure that a land trust receives a valuable interest either during life or at the death of a landowner. These “valuable interests” may include full title to land, partial interests in land, stocks, or cash.


Gifts of Heritage Program: The Gifts of Heritage Program allows landowners to donate property to a land trust with the agreement that the land trust can resell the property subject to a restrictive conservation easement. This arrangement ensures that a property gets permanent protection while at the same time allowing the land trust to raise funds to support other land protection projects.


Installment Gifts or Sales of Land: Through Installment giving or selling of land, a landowner can maximize tax benefits by spreading out the time period over which such transactions occur.


Please contact Land Trust staff for more information by email at, or by phone 704-647-0302.


The Land Trust recommends that you consult with your own legal and financial advisors as well in order to maximize and personalize your financial benefits.


Learn more about these conservation options by contacting Emily Callicutt at



(704) 647-0302


204 East Innes Street, Suite 120
Salisbury, NC 28144