Protecting Mountain Views and Habitat in the Cherokee National Forest

Situated within the Cherokee National Forest is a one square mile parcel of privately owned real estate that was acquired by investors in 2005. While the land was suitable for subdivision into 131 residential lots to meet growing demand for vacation and second-home properties in the area, the owners could not escape the notion that development would forever mar the unspoiled natural character of the property. The investors began exploring an alternative option where they would donate a conservation easement to a land trust – and by doing so, relinquish the land’s development rights forever – resulting in tax incentives for the partnership members.

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Building A Legacy in Land Conservation

In Midway, Georgia, a unique property derived from several King George land grants consists of diverse marshes, tidal creeks, river frontage and old growth maritime forests. For nearly forty years, the land owners refused offers from developers that would allow them to retire and instead struggled financially to keep the land in its natural state, working multiple jobs to pay property taxes and insurance. In 2015, private investments and an ecologically minded land trust helped the family conserve approximately 2,000 acres, or one-fifth of their land. But the following year, a campaign attacking conservation easement donations by partnerships nearly derailed the family’s plan to conserve an additional 2,000 acres.

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Preserving Natural Environment within a Residential Development

Investors interested in developing a private residential subdivision acquired a large mountainous property in North Carolina that offered a staggeringly rich level of biodiversity. To recoup and maximize their investments, they faced significant financial pressure to fully develop the property and sell as many private lots as possible. However, the investors were keenly aware of the area’s unique ecological significance and kept searching for an economically sound alternative: one that would allow for responsible development and preserve much of the natural environment.

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Saving Pristine Marshland from Development

Along the coastline of South Carolina just south of Charleston sits beautiful land that offers a cornucopia of environmentally unique habitats. A local family has owned the property since at least the 1800’s and received a generous offer to sell to a foreign development firm. But the landowners were reluctant to see the still rustic area largely destroyed and kept searching for another alternative. Thanks to private investments and a conservation easement donation, residential development is now prohibited, the public still enjoys the scenic views and many rare bird species using the Atlantic Flyway for migration continue to benefit from the conserved coastal property.

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A North American Land Trust (NALT) Case Study

When a local architect seeks a mountain retreat and discovers the ideal property that he is unable to finance entirely on his own, North American Land Trust provides a solution. In contrast to a 1998 development plan calling for over 100 home sites on the parcel, NALT develops a plan that preserves more than 310-acres of the property and creates incentives for the architect to find like-minded investors. In the end, the new investors are provided homesteads for their own use and a significant charitable deduction for the preservation of the open space.

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100,000,000

The U.S. population is projected to grow by 100 million and the amount of land covered with housing, roads and shopping malls will nearly triple by 2050.

Source: Land Trust Alliance

2,200,000

We lose 6,000 acres of wildlife habitat every day. That’s 2.2 million acres — an area the size of Yellowstone National Park — every year.

Source: National Wild Turkey Federation - Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.”

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