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Tools and Techniques

The Trustees of Reservations work to enhance and extend the system of protected lands in Massachusetts through:

Land Acquisition Land that we acquire for conservation is managed in perpetuity for public use and enjoyment through our system of statewide reservations. Since 1891, we have acquired some 27,000 acres of land, creating 120 reservations for the public to use and enjoy. We acquire these lands by various means. The Trustees has been incredibly fortunate to receive gifts of iconic properties across Massachusetts over our history. Such gifts of significant conservation land remain important in our work, however more commonly today We purchase land, usually at a bargain sale price below the full value of the land and almost always with the aid of a special fundraising campaign.. The donor of the land often provides an endowment to help defray the costs of managing the land in perpetuity. No matter how we acquire it, new conservation lands are used to either expand an existing reservation or create a new one.

Conservation Restriction (CR)The Trustees accept conservation restrictions (also called conservation easements in other states) on land. This legal device allows landowners to retain ownership and management responsibilities for their land while placing permanent constraints on how the land is used, constraints which they and all future owners must observe in order to protect the land’s conservation values. Landowners may sell or convey the land, but the restrictions placed on the property remain. As holder of the conservation restriction, The Trustees is responsible for monitoring and legally enforcing the terms of the CR. Since 1971, when The Trustees began this program, conservation restrictions have helped us protect more than 20,000 acres of land—more than any other conservation organization in Massachusetts. Learn more about Conservation Restrictions.

Assistance ProjectsSome properties may be more suitable for protection by partner organizations. Through our work with other groups over many years, we have assisted in the protection of more than 16,000 acres of land.

Gifts of land or conservation restrictions may qualify donors for income, estate, or property tax savings for themselves and their heirs. Together, these incentives can be substantial. You can learn more by contacting our Land Conservation Department, at 978.840.4446 x1922, or via email.

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