Our goal is to work with willing landowners to create a corridor for the Haw River Trail, preserve the open space and viewshed around the Trail, and advise landowners on how to be the best possible stewards of their land. In many cases, landowners are interested in donating their property, or in executing a conservation or trail easement. However, we also work with property owners who are merely seeking advice on how to best manage their property.
There are a number of grants, tax deductions and other programs that allow landowners to be compensated for protecting their property from development or allowing Haw River Trail access. It is not necessary for landowners to stop occupying, farming or otherwise using their property in order to participate in these programs. In some circumstances, landowners may be able to simply sell property located near the river for conservation or trail access.
Although none of these programs offer get rich quick schemes for landowners, the financial incentives available allow homeowners, farmers and others fair compensation for making unselfish choices about the future of their property.
As we work with landowners to preserve the rural character and ecological integrity of the Haw River, perhaps the most valuable vehicle available to conservationists and landowners is the conservation agreement. Conservation agreements have emerged as popular conservation options because they allow landowners to maintain ownership and control over their property, while providing substantial tax benefits to those landowners. Here is a quick breakdown of the tax benefits of conservation agreements:
- A deduction for landowners of the entire amount of reduction in value of their property from their Federal taxes
- A reduction of local property taxes resulting from a lower taxable value of the land
- Conservation agreements may also help landowners lessen estate taxes or avoid paying estate taxes by reducing the value of their estate below the estate tax threshold
Conservation agreements may be crafted to cover all or only a portion of a landowner’s property. Further, conservation agreements can be tailored to suit the needs and desires of particular landowners, such as the desire to build an additional home on the property for a son or daughter.
The benefits of conserving land through the Haw River Trail go beyond simple tax deductions. Study after study has shown that proximity to natural areas, public parks and greenways increases the value of adjacent properties. For developers, this is an opportunity to enhance new or existing developments, and for landowners this can enhance the resale value of your property. For more details on the benefits to landowners please visit the Property Value page.
In addition to increased property value, proximity to recreation resources such as the Haw River Trail can be a boon to local businesses by attracting locals and tourists utilizing the trails. Visitors spend on lodging, food, and shopping when they come to visit a resource like the Haw River Trail, bringing direct revenue to local businesses and spreading the word when they have a good experience. For more information about trail impacts on tourism please visit the Tourism page.