The Westchester Land Trust works with local private landowners, municipalities, and other partners to protect the land in three ways.
- We draft conservation easements with landowners enabling them to retain ownership while restricting or eliminating the development potential of the land. There may be additional tax incentives for this type of arrangement. In total, WLT has created more than 180 conservation easements.
- We work with landowners who donate their land to WLT. In total, WLT owns 29 preserves.
- We work with other conservation organizations, as well as county, state and municipal governments to identify land worth protecting, negotiate contracts, and identify funding sources.
In total, WLT has protected nearly 8,000 acres including more than 700 acres in preserves owned by the organization.
WLT believes that for our communities to thrive and to remain great places to live we will need:
- Clean, healthful, and abundant drinking water as well as water within which to swim and fish;
- Fields and forests to explore that are homes to plants and animals, have scenic beauty, and have value in fostering a love of nature as well as a stewardship ethic;
- Farms and woodlots to provide healthful locally grown food and renewable fuels;
- Compelling examples of best management practices that are an inspiration to land owners who want to manage their properties responsibly;
- Scenic vistas and view sheds that represent the rural character of the area.
WLT believes that open spaces offer us many benefits, not the least of which are:
- Diverse ecosystems vitally important to clean air, clean water, wildlife populations, storm water management, and the ambiance of neighborhoods;
- Opportunities for outdoor recreation, learning and discovery, and spiritual renewal.
WLT also believes that these open spaces are threatened by:
- Increasing development pressures driven by an increasing population;
- Spread of impervious surfaces;
- Habitat loss and fragmentation;
- Pollution, consumption, and effects of climate change;
- A loss of genetic diversity;
- People disconnecting from the landscape.
In this section, you’ll find information about working with the Westchester Land Trust on conservation easements and a description of the potential income tax benefits that easement donors might be eligible for.
You’ll also find testimonials from conservation easement donors, who discuss what it’s like to work with WLT on an easement, and the benefits it can lead to, for the both community and the donor.
For more information about any of these land protection methods, please contact John Baker, WLT’s Land Project Manager, at 914.234.6992 ext 25.