Nature Noted

Notes on a changing Nature

Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

I never would have predicted this one

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Smoky Mountain Land

The Nature Conservancy is going to play midwife to a plan to eventually transfer nearly 10,000 acres of land to the National Park Service near the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The first step takes place August 30th when the land's owner, Alcoa Power Generating, will grant to The Nature Conservancy, at no cost, permanent conservation easements covering approximately 5,900 acres and term conservation easements on an additional 3,975 acres of land. The lands over which the conservation easements will be granted are located in Blount and Monroe counties, Tennessee. More specifically, the land effected sits between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest. The Nature Conservancy will have the option to buy this land from APGI, ultimately transferring it to the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, or the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, assuring its long-term protection." So says the press release.
And another press release announces that a new Conservation Easement Handbook is ready for release.
he Land Trust Alliance (LTA) and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) have revised and expanded The Conservation Easement Handbook, the definitive resource for land conservation professionals developing a conservation easement program to meet local acquisition needs. With the renewed IRS scrutiny of donations of conservation easements, land donors, their attorneys, and easement-holding organizations will need the best possible guidance to ensure that they are following the letter and the spirit of the law — and this is it. .....
A detailed guide for establishing and maintaining a conservation easement program, the handbook provides technical guidelines for drafting conservation easements—complete with case studies, sample documents and references to landmark court decisions. The two publishers, LTA and TPL, are national nonprofit conservation organizations leading land conservation efforts across the country through training, public finance and transactional support.
"The great conservation opportunities of this century will be on privately owned land, and conservation easements are the most effective way to protect those lands," said Rand Wentworth, LTA president. "Now at this time when easements are under threat, The Conservation Easement Handbook presents critical information to help guide those who design them to last forever."
The handbook reads like a how-to manual and includes topics such as:
Creating an Easement Program - From the basics, such as goal setting and developing criteria for resource protection, to the challenges of creating and executing a conservation priorities plan.
Developing a Stewardship Program - If conservation easements are to last in perpetuity, a well-managed stewardship program is vital.
The Conservation Easement Drafting Guide - An update to the Model Conservation and Preservation Easement published in 1988 and 1996, this section has five chapters dedicated to checklists, sample easement provisions and commentary.

Anyone interested in the new handbook can find ordering information at either LTA publications or TPL publications.


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