What is a Land Trust

Home > What is a Land Trust

What is a Land Trust?

Land trusts are nonprofit, community-based organizations dedicated to the permanent protection and stewardship of land for public benefit.

They work closely with landowners, communities, and other nonprofits to conserve land through acquisition or gifts of property or through conservation agreements (called conservation easements). Land trusts are supported through charitable donations and use funds for a variety of purposes in support of their mission.

Land trusts have an ongoing responsibility to care for the land they conserve, ensuring that the conservation agreements (conservation easements) are upheld and public conservation areas and/or nature preserves are taken care of forever.

There are currently ~120 land trusts serving the communities of Connecticut, representing the third most land trusts of any state in the country.  Collectively protecting and managing property with significant natural, recreational, cultural and scenic resources, land trusts range in size from small, all-volunteer organizations to those with professional staff.

Land trusts focus on a range of community conservation objectives as well as geographic areas. Some cover one or two towns, while others have a local or regional or statewide focus.

The specifics of how a land trust serves the conservation needs of their community vary, but often include:

  • Conserving land and water. Land trusts protect natural habitats and water quality by conserving forests, woodlands, meadows, wetlands, streams, ponds, aquifers, and municipal water supply areas. Many are looking for ways to help their communities slow down and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
  • Connecting people to the land. They establish trails and provide access to the outdoors and community gathering spaces.  Many host programs with schools, community organizations, and municipalities to support and inspire youth and other people from all aspects of their communities.
  • Enhancing urban green spaces and developing community gardens. Land trusts work within urban centers to create healthier communities through parks, natural areas, forests, and community gardens.
  • Preserving farms and supporting rural economies. They assist farm families and their communities to ensure that land is always available for local agriculture and food production.
  • Protecting scenic views. Land trusts may also conserve land in order to protect a scenic viewshed from being lost to development.
  • Connecting communities to the land, history, and each other. Land trusts assist their communities by preserving the natural and historic places that are important to our local history.

Check out more information about what land trusts do by downloading the free eBook

Land Trust Directory

CLCC is offering the first statewide Connecticut Land Trust Directory.

Find your local or regional land trust along with other land conservation organizations. You can search by town, county, statewide, or alphabetically. If you'd like to search to see what land trusts are accredited by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission, you can do that too.

Thanks to Beth Doran, we now have an interactive map to identify what land trusts are serving different regions of the state. Click on the map to test it out.

Need to update your land trust profile?

Fill out the form below. Contact Cristina Hayden at chayden@ctconservation.org if you have any questions.