Who We Are

Costs of Protecting Lands

Acquiring land for conservation involves many project costs, only one of which is the actual purchase price of the property. Each project is unique and includes expenses from a subset of the activities listed here. It is also important to consider the costs of assuming risk: a land trust incurs much expense without guarantees that a project will succeed.

NEGOTIATION
Land trusts invest much time in confidential negotiations with willing sellers about acquiring properties of high conservation value. This often takes years.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Professionals skilled in real estate transactions manage all steps in a complex process, ensuring that deadlines are met and the project moves forward smoothly.
OBJECTIVE APPRAISAL
This detailed report, conforming to Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), provides an expert opinion of real property value to its highest and best use. Methods include the cost approach, income capitalization approach, and sales comparison approach. Accomplished at arms-length from the seller, the analysis provides an impartial market valuation.
TITLE RESEARCH
This process of exhaustively analyzing the legal history of a property determines the interests of any relevant parties and assesses regulations concerning its sale or use.
ENVIRONMENTAL SITE ASSESSMENT
Reports identify potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. These address both the underlying land as well as physical improvements.
NATURAL RESOURCE ASSESSMENT
An audit of existing and potential natural resources is conducted by compiling baseline biological and conservation-related data using spatial analysis and extensive field surveys.
LEGAL FEES
Legal advisors structure transaction documents to ensure that the needs, rights, and obligations of the seller and buyer are addressed; and that applicable laws and regulations are met in perpetuity.
SURVEYS AND MAPS
Detailed geographic surveys reveal property boundaries, fence lines, existing roads and trails, easement boundaries, and rights of way.
PURCHASE AGREEMENTS
An option-to-purchase agreement may be necessary during the period of time when fundraising and pre-acquisition activities are taking place.
GOVERNMENT & AGENCY RELATIONS
Coordinating with elected officials and agencies advances the transaction and identifies sources of funding. The endorsement of state, county, and city officials is often essential for success.
FUNDRAISING & COMMUNICATIONS
It is necessary to raise awareness of the project, meet with potential donors, hold events, submit grant proposals, and take other steps to secure funds. Experienced fundraisers must have excellent materials that make a persuasive case for support.
SITE USE PLANS
Landscape planners propose how a property is to be used and enjoyed by visitors.
PURCHASE PRICE
A significant cost is funds transferred from buyer to seller in order to transfer title and execute the sale.
TRANSACTION COSTS
Many expenses are required to execute the sale. Services include escrow agents, title insurance, transfer tax, property tax, recording fees, attorneys’ fees, and more.
REPAIRS
Issues may need attention before or after title is transferred. These include environmental clean-up, repairing roads and trails, mitigating hazards, and removing old structures.
HABITAT RESTORATION
Biological rehabilitation may be needed to reverse human impacts on habitat for native species, especially when species are threatened or endangered.
PROPERTY IMPROVEMENTS
Physical enhancements that facilitate public use vary widely in cost and scope. Features may include trails, fences, benches, gates, signage, maps, bridges, parking facilities, rest rooms, and ADA-compliant measures.
DONOR RECOGNITION
Donors who make significant gifts receive recognition on site in the form of plaques, signs, benches, and engraved stones.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Lands that are well-integrated with neighboring communities have the greatest impact on the well-being of human and non-human residents. Meetings, events, presentations, and other gatherings support this effort.
ONGOING STEWARDSHIP
Protecting a landscape requires an ongoing program of monitoring and maintenance that involves tasks as diverse as repairing weather damage or removing invasive species. It is prudent to set aside a reserve and/or endowment to provide funds for stewardship in perpetuity.