buermann farm lamb south hero vermont.jpg

South Hero Land Trust protects the natural and agricultural landscapes of South Hero through conservation projects. We work with willing landowners to facilitate protecting their land through conservation easements, wherein the landowner sells or donates his or her development rights to a qualified land conservation organization. In doing so, the landowner can be assured that the property will be protected in perpetuity.

A conservation easement is a legal document that permanently restricts the development potential of property that has significant natural or cultural value. With a conservation easement, landowners protect their land without giving up ownership and can continue to use the land for farming, forestry, recreation, education, and other non-development purposes. The easement runs with the land; the original owner and all subsequent owners are bound by the restrictions of the easement. Conservation easements are flexible by nature; they can be designed to provide for future family housing needs, farm expansion, and in some cases even limited sub-divisibility, as long as the natural and agricultural resource values are protected.

Ice Floes in South Hero Vermont

South Hero Land Trust is a non-holding, non-acquiring land trust. In other words, rather than holding easements or title to land we partner with regional and statewide organizations that will ensure that the conservation value of the property is maintained in perpetuity. Our partner organizations who hold easements are the Vermont Land Trust, the Lake Champlain Land Trust, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets. South Hero Land Trust acts as a facilitator between local landowners and larger easement-holding land trusts and state agencies. Our work includes fundraising, project planning, and easement drafting as well as the local landowner relations.

 

Conservation FAQs

What kind of land does the South Hero Land Trust conserve?

South Hero Land Trust protects farmland, woodland, natural and recreational areas, and other open spaces which help give South Hero its distinctive quality of life. South Hero Land Trust primarily deals with large tracts of agricultural land and woodlands (usually 50 acres or more). We also conserve recreational lands, scenic lands, and important wildlife habitat. Additionally, SHLT can play a role in conserving land that the town deems important for municipal purposes.

How does the South Hero Land Trust conserve land?

The most frequently used tool for conserving land is called a conservation easement (see below). South Hero Land Trust is a non-holding, non-acquiring land trust. In other words, rather than holding easements or title to land we partner with regional and statewide organizations who will ensure that the conservation value of the property is maintained in perpetuity. In most cases land is conserved when a landowner voluntarily sells or donates a conservation easement to a holding land trust or state agency. In the case of the Landon Farm and Round Pond project, SHLT and its project partners purchased the property and donated a portion of the land to the State of Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources to become Round Pond State Park. The Landon Farm portion was conserved and sold to a farming couple who were selected through a Request For Proposals (RFP) process. 

What is a conservation easement?

A conservation easement is a legal document that permanently restricts the development potential of property that has significant natural or cultural value. With a conservation easement, landowners protect their land without giving up ownership and can continue to use the land for farming, forestry, recreation, education, and other non-development purposes. The easement runs with the land; the original owner and all subsequent owners are bound by the restrictions of the easement.

Conservation easements are flexible by nature; they can be designed to provide for future family housing needs, farm expansion, and in some cases, even limited sub-divisibility, as long as the natural resource values are protected.

How is the South Hero Land Trust funded?

Our most important source of funding is our membership. Though we obtain funding from the state and from private foundations, continued funding from these sources depends on our local support from members. In other words, our membership and local support determine our capability to conserve land in South Hero. The ability to compensate land owners at a fair market rate for their development rights is a goal of the land trust which can only be achieved through local funding from dedicated supporters. Because we work in partnership with other Land Trusts, South Hero Land Trust is able to substantially leverage any funds raised locally.