Land conservation is one of the chief ways the Sharon Land Trust helps to protect our landscape in perpetuity. We work with families and landowners to conserve all types of properties, including historic farms, family woodlots and forestlands; mountain ridgelines, wildlife habitats, and undeveloped shoreline along our town’s pristine lakes and wetlands. The most commonplace approach to conservation incorporates the donation of a conservation easement or the purchase of a conservation easement. Some landowners choose to donate their land to us directly, while others add provisions in their wills to bequeath their property or a conservation parcel to the Land Trust. Conservation easements allow people to protect the land they love—they’re the number one tool available for protecting privately owned land.

Conservation Easement

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its conservation values. If you’re placing land under easement, you can work with the Sharon Land Trust to decide on terms that are right for the land and for you. For example, if it’s important to you to be able to build a home on the land or to subdivide your property, you may be able to reserve those rights — as long as you’re still protecting important conservation values (such as productive farmland or wildlife habitat). You can use an easement to protect your whole property or part of it. Farming and ranching are usually permitted; surface mining is almost always off-limits. While some easements require public access, many do not. When you conserve your property, you continue to own and manage your land, and pay property taxes to the town. You are free to sell or pass on your conserved land, though the easement will stay with the land. As the holder of the conservation easement, our role is to ensure that its terms are honored by all future owners of your property.

A donation of land is one of the most generous gifts a landowner can make to the Sharon Land Trust. A gift of land can offer relief from the expenses and responsibilities of ownership—and there is also a planned giving option that allows you to donate land while continuing to live on it. Donating land can also provide a number of tax benefits, including a federal income tax deduction. Learn more about protecting land.

Occasionally, when a crucial piece of land is at stake, Sharon Land Trust will purchase a property outright. It may be a farm at risk of impending development or sale, or a site that the town has identified as an important heritage, scenic, or recreational site worthy of enhanced protection. In these special cases, we often act as a short-term owner while we help facilitate the purchase of the land by the town, nonprofits, or other agencies. Having community involvement, enthusiasm, and financial support are crucial for these types of purchases. By purchasing conservation easements, we have been able to protect some of the most beautiful areas of Sharon.

Our goal at the Sharon Land Trust is to help guide you through the process of what conservation method would best suit your personal vision for your land. To learn more about conserving your land with the Sharon Land Trust, please contact Maria Grace at 860-364-5137 or