A private real estate partnership owned a 433-acre parcel of land in Chambers County, Alabama. The property encompassed forest, field, wetland and lake habitats. Conserving the property met the policy objectives of the Alabama State Wildlife Action Plan, the Mobile River Basin Recovery Plan and the Tallapoosa River Basin Management Plan.
Beyond the land’s ecological value, The Barn Group Land Trust (TBG) recognized the public benefit the property could provide military veterans. High environmental quality contributes positively to an area’s economic growth and the well-being of its residents. Moreover, military veterans often struggle to reintegrate themselves into society post-service, and study after study has shown that spending time in nature reduces stress, anxiety, depression and aggression and improves happiness, life satisfaction and social connectedness.
With the help of TBG, the partnership developed a plan to place a conservation easement on the property, aiming to protect its ecological value and provide public benefit. Once the easement was finalized, TBG and the property owners partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project and the Eden Project to allow veterans to use the property for hunting and similar recreational uses, as well as for healing programs.
The partnership and TBG ultimately agreed to the following terms for the easement:
The protection of the property and its benefit to the public, particularly veterans, was possible because of the willingness of the private partnership to forego all future development possibility. Scott Smith of TBG added, “From our first visit, we knew this property had significant conservation value. The property’s conservation is a win for the donor, a win for the environment and a win for the public.”
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