Asheville Homes and LAND!- The Keep In Touch Blog


22 BIG QUESTIONS about Conservation Easements Asked by a Waterfall

SO...having spent this weekend by a waterfall (see photo JT took ) on "forever wild" land adjacent to a conservation asheville NC area waterfalls at HNFneighborhood our Asheville, N.C. real estate firm is getting to know...

 a number of questions about conservation easements popped up in my mind. . .22 to be exact...and there are probably some I haven't even thought of yet!  But here, as a REALTOR® (and as an interested party) is what I want review . . .


  1. What is a conservation easement? 
  2. What is a land trust or land conservancy? 
  3. Why do landowners donate conservation easements?
  4. What are the financial incentives for donating a conservation easement? 
  5. What are the costs of a conservation easement?
  6. How much is a conservation easement worth?
  7. What types of land can be protected by a conservation easement?
  8. Does a Land Conservancy accept all easement offers?
  9. How long does a conservation easement last?
  10. What are some disadvantages of donating a conservation easement?
  11. Will a conservation easement grant public access to the property? 
  12. Who actually owns land protected by conservation easement?
  13. What types of uses are allowed by a conservation easement?
  14. What types of uses are not allowed by a conservation easement? 
  15. Who is responsible for maintenance and liability on a property protected by conservation easement?
  16. Do other organizations accept conservation easements?
  17. Can a conservation easement be donated by will?
  18. Is land protected by conservation easement immune from condemnation?
  19. How long will the easement design process take? 
  20. Is the landowner ever obligated to proceed with a conservation easement?
  21. What does a Land Conservancy gain from accepting a conservation easement?
  22. Does a Land Conservancy charge a fee?

THOSE are the 22 questions....OH! and just one more...
Where to go for the answers?


Luckily for the Brokers at our Firm, the eco-developers of this conservation neighborhood are "‘salt-of-the-Earth"  folks.. Having spent many years in placing Land into conservation easements and understand all the in-and-outs of the process. More than that, they are generous in their time and energy. As we made our way to the waterfall (one of many adjacent to the conservation neighborhood) they talked about what it meant to them and how it happened that they placed this large acreage in a conservation easement.

For those ofo you who don't get to spend your weekends by waterfalls...or may be consdiering doing so....They also shared THIS LINK ... where those interested can find the answers .

By the way, landowners interested in learning more about managing their land in the Greater Asheville, NC area can participate in an educational event this summer (2008), when a team of land management experts from federal and state agencies, universities, and the private sector are coordinating efforts to offer the annual Woodland Owner Short Course through the Biltmore Forest School.

Will we see you there?. .or would you rather meet us by the waterfall (I'm smiling)

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Asheville NC Real Estate Journal for RESOPURCES & REFERRALS -Mountain Homes and Land Legacies- Asheville 1031 Realty© 2014.  Designations: NAR GREEN®, EcoBroker®, Eco Certified ®Real Estate Consultant, ePRO®. Unauthorized reproduction of any information including photos and graphics on this site is a violation of existing copyright laws.  All rights reserved.

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janeAnne..I am definately saving this. I know nothing about it but it is a hot topic in NH and ther is a lot of property being put into conservation...this is definately worth understanding!
Posted by Joan Mirantz, Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire (Homequest Real Estate) almost 11 years ago
Here is the other Joan -- and my colleague has said it all -- people in New Hampshire are interested in conversation easements -- I had a client do a conservation easement encompassing some ski trails, however, most realtors don't know much about them in so. N.H. 
Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 11 years ago
janeAnn, these are good questions & I'm bookmarking the post because it is the sort of information one wants to be able to find easily when it's needed.  Thanks for an educational post.
Posted by Lola Audu, Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home! (Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

I like the thought of those falls being there, undisturbed, for our ancestors to enjoy. J.T.

Posted by John Narrin (ECO-Steward Realty) almost 11 years ago

Hi JaneAnne - I'm with the others, this post is bookmarked! You came up with questions I never thought of.

I love JT's picture - the only thing missing is sound! I can only imagine how beautiful and relaxing that site must be!

Thanks for providing another great resource! This is why I send my clients to ECO-Steward Realty when they are looking for property in and around Ashville NC!

Posted by Mary McGraw, 2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine! (GLREA) almost 11 years ago


I am so complimented that YOU are saving this post! Good luck in NH >>>>>>>

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 11 years ago

Joan W.~

I am really excited with your news..."people in New Hampshire are interested in conversation easements ..."I always suspected that with all the narural beauty in your state, this would be the case...good to hear it from you...

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 11 years ago


Thanks for bookmarking this post. Happy to be in Asheville, folks are working to preserve the natural beauty for everyone to enjoy...much like the Great Lakes shorelines in your area...I am wondering about conservation easements there (??)

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 11 years ago


You like the idea of the falls being there for those to come...just as they were for those who came before, too...and I feel lucky to be a part of all of this.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 11 years ago


I am working on getting a sound clip for this...I have the all I need to do is convert it...I'll let ya' know when it's UP..

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 11 years ago

janeAnne- There is wonderful man by the name of Stephen Small, used to be with the IRS and wrote the tax law on conservation easements.  He is an Attorney and has written a series of 3- it may be four by now, books on the subject of conservation easements and family lands... he is the acknowledged expert on the subject because there are wonderful tax benefits for landowners of large tracts of lands...  


I highly recommend them for anyone who wants to get involved in CE's.... and he gives seminars around the country from time to time. 

His website is:

Posted by Eva Armstrong, Environmental Visions (Environmental Visions) almost 11 years ago

Conservation easements can be a great estate planning tool. People considering conservation easements should consult with their accountant, their estate planning attorney and a real estate attorney.

Posted by Lisa Lambert, Esq. 1031 Exchange Expert (The Law Offices of Elisabeth A. Lambert) almost 11 years ago


It's definitely an attractive idea to have a team of professionals involved when making investments in land...

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 11 years ago

Great questions.  I am a commercial appraiser and land broker, with experience with conservation easements.  The Land Trust Alliance is a great reference for these questions.  Moreover, they are offering a course on the 'Valuation of Conservation Easements.'  It's new to the Appraisal Institute, and I recommend appraisers take this course and understand how to value conservation easements.

Many of your questions would be specific to each deal, and to what is negotiated (ie state regs, environmental impact, allowable uses, etc).  Value can be impacted by the ownership of mineral rights.  Ideally, a sale of a piece of comparable land before and one after a conservation easement is placed shows the 'value' of the impact.  But those may be few and far between, or - non-arm's length transactions.  More specifically, the value of the rights given up by the land owner to the land trust (or easement holder).  An experienced attorney in these matters understand what is normally upheld in that specific state.

It's great to see a firm specializing in these matters!!!

Posted by Michael Harris (Colliers Ostendorf-Morris) almost 11 years ago

janeAnne - What a wonderful - thoughtful - post. When I saw your photo I immediately thought of the "Cascades" a magnificant thirty foot waterfall right in downtown Tallahassee (FL) that was ultimately turned into a dump and sealed with concrete . . . Unfortunately, I never got to see it . . .

An article about the Cascades in the Pensacola Gazette in 1825: "Our party was not long in selecting a camping ground, and pitching their tent about midway of the southern slope, which might be taken for the land of Fairies: to the southward and westward, the country opened to their view . . . at their feet a crystal fountain, gushing from the declivity of a hill; to the eastward the view was more confined by the thick foliage of the undergrowth, which served to screen the view, though not the sound of a beautiful cascade, which was formed by the rivulet above described, falling over the ledge of rocks into a deep glen, which forms a circle of about seventy yards in diameter."

How I wish I could have seen it . . .

Posted by Robin Sherman, Search Pensacola Homes, For Sale - Pensacola FL Neighborhoods ( - Grand Points Realty) almost 11 years ago

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