In north Idaho and northwest Montana, our communities are more than the places we work. The landscape represents our playgrounds and livelihoods, and brings deeper meaning to our lives. By inspiring more people to value and protect the natural world, we can lay the foundation for future conservation of our shared natural heritage.
CONSERVATION AT WORK
CONSERVE YOUR LAND
People are drawn to this region by its stunning beauty, abundant wildlife and ready access to recreational opportunities. These special qualities are threatened by the increased development that comes with a growing population. If not implemented thoughtfully, development can impact natural systems and undermine our exceptional quality of life.
We realize that growth is necessary and strive to balance it with preservation of our natural landscapes to maintain a vibrant community with ample opportunity for economic prosperity while protecting critical areas.
Our vision is that 100 years from now there will still be a permanent land base to sustain a vibrant, varied economy, large tracts of undeveloped land to provide critical habitat, community access to natural areas, and pristine waterways such as Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River. The preservation of working ranches, farms and forests plays a key role in achieving this balance.
Since 2002, KLT has helped area families to protect over 2,500 acres of working farms, scenic views, important wetlands, and habitat for wildlife in Bonner County, Idaho and Sanders County, Montana. We use two primary methods to support this process: conservation easements and land donation.
Understanding Conservation Easements
A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and a land trust that protects land from development to preserve important natural qualities on the land. The easement transfers the development rights to the land trust, after which they are effectively extinguished. The conservation easement may also limit other uses such as mining, clear-cutting and other disruptive activities.
A conservation easement allows individuals to maintain private ownership of the land, manage it for various uses including timber harvest and agriculture, and continue to enjoy it, all while protecting its important resources. Landowners are able to sell or gift the land, but conservation easements are perpetual and must be adhered to by future landowners.
The landowner and the land trust enter into this agreement voluntarily. KLT has no regulatory authority and cannot force a landowner to enter into a conservation easement.
The Kaniksu Land Trust is responsible for upholding the terms of the easement and monitors all easements annually. The land trust maintains a stewardship fund specifically earmarked for this purpose.
Conservation easements are one of the most powerful and effective tools available for the permanent conservation of private lands. Their use has successfully protected millions of acres of land while keeping it in private hands and generating significant public benefits.
If you are interested in learning more about conservation easements, please contact a staff or a Board Member.
The donation of a conservation easement to the Kaniksu Land Trust may qualify you for a charitable tax deduction. In 2015 Congress made permanent an income tax incentive allowing qualifying conservation easement donors to deduct up to 50% of their income for a carry-forward period of up to 15 years or until the value of the donation has been used. Qualifying farmers and ranchers may deduct even more.
Other Methods of Protection
In addition to conservation easements, Kaniksu Land Trust also accepts gifts of land. Such gifts may be permanently conserved and resold, or maintained under KLT’s ownership depending on the qualities of the land and desires of the owner.