Conservation Restrictions

Conservation Restrictions (header)

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Our CR work is a critical part of our land trust accreditation.

Keep up with our CR work at our On the Land blog.

Volunteer as a CR Field Monitor.

Find resources and grants for land management.

See where our CRs are located across the state (PDF).

Support our Conservation Restriction work >>

Contact us at or 978.840.4446 x1922.

CR Landowner Handbook >>

Find out more about Conservation Restrictions from articles in an occasional series from CR Specialist, Andrew Bentley: 

Conservation Restrictions: An Introduction to CR's and what they mean for Massachusetts.

From Lauded Trails to Landing Strips: More on the breadth of Conservation Restrictions maintained by The Trustees across the state.

Land conservation has grown to encompass much more than the traditional method of simply buying a threatened natural property to save it from development. Conservation Restrictions (CRs) are a lesser known (and faster growing!) tool to help protect private property nationwide. CRs are now a key part of how The Trustees carry out our work across Massachusetts, partnering with private landowners to ensure the permanent conservation of their very own special places. Want to learn how CRs work? Read on.

Conservation Restrictions: 393 and Counting!

The Trustees of Reservations hold 393 Conservation Restrictions – comprising more than 20,000 acres – which connect and protect 54 Trustees reservations across Massachusetts. The Trustees are the largest private holder of conservation restrictions in the state, second only to public holders the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG). See a map of our CRs (PDF).

What is a Conservation Restriction?

Conservation Restrictions offer one method of helping landowners to maintain their property as protected open space, forever. A Conservation Restriction (also called a CR or Conservation Easement) is one of several methods of protecting land. It's a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust (or other agency) designed to permanently protect the conservation values of a property by defining allowed uses. 

Caring for Our Conservation Restrictions

Conservation Restrictions need to be monitored on a yearly basis. Thorough and timely CR monitoring is perhaps the single most important activity of responsible CR stewardship. It helps maintain an accurate record of any changes in the land over time, and it also provides an opportunity to strengthen landowner relations.

The Trustees’ CR Stewardship Program staff conduct and coordinate the annual monitoring of CR protected properties, create baseline documentation reports for new CRs and update them periodically, enforce the terms and conditions of the CRs, and respond to landowner requests for project approvals.

Volunteers are also a big part of this process, donating countless hours of their time and talent. Their enthusiasm for our mission is inspiring, and the on-the-ground work they do for us is invaluable.

Protect Your Land

Want to know more about how you can protect your land as a CR?
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CR Landowner Handbook >>