Making a Lasting Impact: Explore Conservation Options

We understand that deciding to conserve your land is one of the most significant choices you and your family can make for its future. Your dedication and foresight are essential in preserving the agricultural heritage, vital habitats, and breathtaking open spaces that define Western Colorado.

For landowners interested in protecting and conserving their land, we offer a range of options. These pages provide comprehensive information about the various programs available, an overview of the steps required to establish a conservation easement, details on tax incentives, and guidance on what happens after a conservation easement is in place.

You can find links to this information below. After reviewing these pages, please feel free to reach out to a staff member at Colorado West Land Trust. We are here to discuss conservation easements and answer any questions you may have.

Frenquently Asked Questions:

What is a conservation easement?

A conservation easement is a voluntary land protection tool that a landowner donates or, in rare cases, sells to protect all or part of their land. The easement includes specific development restrictions determined by the landowner, while retaining all other property rights. The land remains under the landowner’s ownership and use, with the easement being permanent and binding on future owners, whether the land is sold, bequeathed, leased, or gifted.

Many landowners retain the right to build a limited number of houses for their family’s future needs or financial considerations. The flexibility of easements can accommodate these needs, provided the conservation values of the property are protected.

What are the benefits of conservation easements?

The landowner has protected the land from further development, ensuring open space will remain in the community.  In addition, tax benefits are often realized.  The easement represents value given up by the landowner, who might receive a federal income tax deduction.  Estate tax is often reduced considerably, allowing property to remain in the family rather than being sold to pay the taxes.  Long-term benefits are possible with a rise in the quality and value of local property if the area is maintained as open and agricultural.

What are the drawbacks of conservation easements?

Because each landowner determines the specific restrictions in an easement, there are few drawbacks.  Conservation easements are perpetual agreements that are difficult to change, and they do limit opportunities for future landowners to develop, divide, or subdivide the land.

Are there other options available?

Yes.  Conservation easements are only one tool available to landowners interested in land protection.  Many options exist, and we work with each landowner in determining which option is best for their needs.