Creating a Legacy

Resources for Interested Landowners

The Basics

Successful conservation easements are the result of a voluntary, thoughtful process. Each agreement is unique, tailored to meet the personal needs of the landowner and the special qualities of the land.

  • A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust.
  • The agreement is designed to permanently protect the conservation values of the land, including working farms and ranches, clean water, and wildlife habitat.
  • A conservation easement limits the development potential of a piece of land, and is transferred with the title to all future landowners.
  • Landowners who place a conservation easement on their property continue to own the land and are free to carry on traditional land uses, sell the land, or pass it on to their heirs.
  • In most cases, property owners retain the right to provide or prohibit public access on their land, as they see fit.

Down to Brass Taxes

Conservation easements may provide tax benefits as a charitable contribution

  • Any donation of land or conservation easement to a land trust can provide tax benefits.
  • Under some circumstances, property owners are paid for their development rights in what is called a “purchased” easement. Any portion of this property transfer donated may be eligible for tax benefits.
  • Conservation easements can help keep land in the family by lowering estate taxes.
  • If landowners wish to donate their land but continue to live on it, a remainder interest donation with a reserved life estate may be a good option.

A Continuing Partnership

Even when deeds are signed and filed, and conservation easements are recorded, it’s not yet “conservation done.” Every field season, PPLT stewardship staff return to each easement property. We’re there to ensure the agreed-upon conservation values are being protected, and just as important, to build on our partnerships with the landowners and act as a resource for them. It’s something we look forward to each year.

We are Here to Help

You have worked hard to care for your land and want to pass on its integrity for generations to come. Rich soil, clean water, and wildlife habitat are precious today – and will be even more precious in the future. As the value of developable Western land skyrockets, more and more landowners turn to Prickly Pear Land Trust for tools to manage their land as they wish.

Like you and your property, each voluntary conservation easement agreement process is unique. Contact Prickly Pear Land Trust to discuss your needs and circumstances. Together we can pass on our natural replace “blessings – clean water, working farms and ranches, and wildlife habitat – for generations to come.

Since 1996, Prickly Pear Land Trust has worked with private landowners to conserve working farms and ranches, wildlife habitat, and other land of high scenic, recreational, and historic value. We work in Lewis & Clark, Jefferson, Broadwater, and Powell Counties.

Prickly Pear Land Trust is a community-based, non-political, nonprofit organization working with local landowners to protect working farms and ranches, clean water, and wildlife habitat through voluntary conservation agreements.



125Lewis & ClarkYork
1500PowellMullan Pass
75Lewis & ClarkWest of Helena
117Lewis & ClarkMt. Helena Ridge
42JeffersonElkhorn Mountains
63JeffersonElkhorn Mountains
95JeffersonElkhorn Mountains
51JeffersonElkhorn Mountains
30JeffersonElkhorn Mountains
130JeffersonElkhorn Mountains
163JeffersonElkhorn Mountains
146JeffersonElkhorn Mountains
122Lewis & ClarkHobbes Hill, Helena South Hills
670Lewis & ClarkWolf Creek
260Lewis & ClarkBirdseye
230Lewis & ClarkHelena Valley
507Lewis & ClarkWolf Creek
2,888Lewis & ClarkHelena Valley
24Lewis & ClarkHelena Valley
3,109Lewis & ClarkSpokane Hills

For More Information

Please call the land trust office at (406) 442-0490 and ask to speak to Travis Vincent or email [email protected].

Information provided on this site is not intended to be tax or legal advice. Please consult with your investment planner or accountant before you make a decision about a charitable gift.