Frequently Asked Questions
What is a land trust?
Land trusts or land conservancies are independent, charitable organizations that work with private landowners to preserve open space and nature.
Land trusts accept donations and bequests of land and conservation agreements and in some cases, may purchase land or conservation agreements. The land is then permanently protected to preserve its natural, recreational, scenic, historical, or agricultural importance.
These organizations create public benefit through education programs, community services, and the creation of passive recreational opportunities, thereby improving the quality of life for all citizens.
Land trusts provide individuals with a safe, reliable, long-term way to leave financial contributions and/or bequests of real property for the protection of the land, water, and species in perpetuity.
What is Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy?
Your Environmental Trust
The Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy (HTLTC) is a new land trust created in 2011 by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, a registered Canadian charity. The HTLTC is a volunteer organization with a separate board of directors. The Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy gives people in the Huron Tract area a way to make a positive difference by helping protect and restore land, water, and nature.
The Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy gets its name and geographic boundaries from the days of early settlement in this part of Ontario. The Huron Tract was purchased by the Canada Company, an agent of the British government, to be distributed to colonial settlers of Upper Canada.
The Canada Company bought one million acres (4,000 km ) of land west of the then London district and called it the Huron Tract. The Canada Company was the administrative agent for the Huron Tract.
HTLTC is a new land trust created in 2011 by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, a registered Canadian charity. The HTLTC is be a volunteer organization with a volunteer Board of Directors. The HTLTC has an audit annually and financial statements are available upon request. The HTLTC is a volunteer organization with a nine-member Board of Directors appointed by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation. These Directors represent the geographic area of the land trust and include a variety of backgrounds and expertise.
What type of land does HTLTC protect?
Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy protects lands and waters of natural, agricultural and cultural significance. Most people will
first think of nature preserves. Although that is a high priority for the Foundation, the Land Trust will also actively protect and manage agricultural land. HTLTC reviews prospective properties to assess their significance and their contribution towards the Land Trust’s strategic goals. HTLTC is proactive in looking for lands in certain priority areas such as Hay Swamp and headwater areas but the Land Trust considers all opportunities that come to the Board’s attention.
How does land donation work?
The process starts with no obligations. Interested landowners contact the HTLTC and the Land Trust
arranges to visit and assess the property. If both parties wish to proceed, based on mutually agreed
priorities, the Board and landowner jointly sign a Letter of Intent to Donate. From that point the Land
Trust compiles the following:
- Management principles
- Baseline documentation (inventory and mapping)
- Financial plan (transfer costs and future stewardship
Survey, environmental assessment and appraisal
- In many cases, land donations will be certified as Eco-Gifts by the Canadian Wildlife Service
- Dedication ceremony and signage (if desired by donor)
- Negotiations and inspections are carried out by the Land Securement Committee and approved by the Board of Directors
Are there tax implications if I donate property?
Each case is unique and donors need to consult their own advisors before finalizing any agreements.
However, there are often substantial tax benefits arising from a donation of land. The HTLTC will issue a charitable receipt for the appraised value of the property at the date of transfer. Donations of natural lands which qualify as Eco-Gifts receive favourable status under the Income Tax Act in that they are exempt from capital gains.
Would the land trust ever sell any of their properties?
The primary intent is to hold property in perpetuity. HTLTC may, at its discretion, accept donations of real property as “Trade Lands” for the express purpose of selling such lands to support other projects. If this were the intent of the HTLTC, it would be made clear during the land donation process.
Do you have a project for my community group?
Contact us. We have many opportunities throughout the year for volunteers to undertake work at any one of our sites. Tasks may include planting, invasive species control, clean-up and trail maintenance.
HTLTC does not undertake projects on private land except in those cases where it holds a conservation easement. We will gladly connect you with our sources of assistance such as your local conservation authority or stewardship council.