How Land Is Conserved
The Richmond Land Trust relies on voluntary agreements with landowners to protect agricultural lands, forests, scenic vistas, recreational areas, wildlife habitat, historic sites and watersheds within and around the community. We individually tailer these agreements to meet the family and financial objectives of each landowner as well as those of any funding sources such as the Richmond Conservation Reserve Fund and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Fund.
Some agreements result in the Land Trust acquiring the land itself; others take on different forms. When the Land Trust acquires land, it usually is managed as a natural area, working farm or forest, public park, walking trail or scenic landscape. As owner, the Land Trust acts as a steward of the land through professional land management and conservation practices. In some cases the Land Trust holds title to the property and is responsible for paying property taxes and insurance on it. As of 2012, the Richmond Land Trust is steward to approximately 140 acres of farm and woodland in the community.
The Land Trust also protects land through voluntary conservation and scenic easements with private land owners, through which the owners usually retain title and use of the land while reducing their tax burden. Specific agreements are entered into between the landowner and the Land Trust that describe the parcel's future land use. As of 2012, the Richmond Land Trust has about 536 acres under protective easement within the community.
Is Public Access Required?
Not necessarily. Some funding sources may require public access, but no agreement is ever finalized without the landowner agreeing to the full set of terms. Agricultural land is often exempt from the requirement for public access, even if public funds are used to acquire it. The Richmond Land Trust has protected several parcels in Richmond which the owners and their families have kept private. As noted above, all conservation agreements are tailored to meet each landowner’s family and financial objectives.