Conservation properties for sale are tracts of land on the market that have conservation values. These types of properties often utilize a conservation easement. In this blog, we will define a conservation easement, and explain its impact on Colorado land.
A conservation easement is a deed restriction arranged with and held in trust by an IRS-qualifying not-for-profit group or agency that limits some or all development on a property. In exchange for giving up these development rights, landowners can receive financial benefits such as federal income tax breaks, real estate tax reductions, estate tax benefits, and tax credits in Colorado. Well-crafted easements are typically flexible, allowing various continued land uses for a wide variety of landowners and do not require public access. Conservation easements are generally donated, however, on rare occasions they can be sold outright.
These easements are the primary land preservation tool in Colorado, accounting for more than two-thirds of all conserved land in the state, which amounts to over a million and a half acres of land. There are over three thousand conservation easements around Colorado that have protected farms, ranchlands, scenic and historic areas, wildlife habitat, and unique natural areas that otherwise could have been lost forever.
The program has been quite successful for Colorado land. In fact, a report from The Trust for Public Land describes the economic impact from Colorado’s land conservation programs. For every $1 invested by the state, including through the Conservation Easement Tax Credit and the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund, the state received $6 in benefits.
According to the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, land conservation is critical to support Colorado’s economy and quality of life. Some of our state’s largest economic industries, including agriculture, tourism, and outdoor recreation, are all connected to conserving our working ranchlands, our scenic vistas, and our recreational opportunities.
The program has been reformed over the years, but as former President of the Board for the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts and ranch broker, Ken Mirr, explains, “The tax credit program is incredibly successful and the program has only been reformed over the years to ensure fiscal responsibility.”
Some interesting fast facts about conservation easements:
- 107 easements were donated in 2011, totaling 52,830 acres. This utilized all $22 million of the cap and also took up several million of the 2012 credits.
- Currently, 42 organizations are certified by the State.
- The $22 million cap for 2012 tax credits has been reached and the waitlist for 2013 credits has started.
Contact Mirr Ranch Group if you have any questions about conservation easements, how it may work for conservation properties for sale, and if it’s right for your situation.