Tools and Techniques

East Over Reservation, Rochester

The Trustees of Reservations work to enhance and extend the system of protected lands in Massachusetts through:

Land Acquisition. Land that we acquire is managed in perpetuity for public use and enjoyment through our system of statewide reservations. Since 1891, we have acquired some 25,000 acres of land, creating more than 100 reservations for the public to use and enjoy. Typically, the Trustees acquires land through the gift of significant conservation land. The donor of the land often provides an endowment to defray the costs of managing the land. Less frequently, we purchase land, usually at a bargain sale price and almost always with the aid of a special fundraising campaign. No matter how we acquire it, land is used to either expand an existing reservation or create a new one.
 
Conservation Restriction (CR). The Trustees accept conservation restrictions (also called conservation easements) on land. This legal device allows landowners to retain ownership and management responsibilities for their land, but requires that they (and all future owners) observe certain prohibitions, restrictions, and limitations on development and use in order to protect the land's conservation values. Landowners may sell or convey the land, but the restrictions placed on the property remain. As holder of the conservation restriction, The Trustees is responsible for monitoring and legally enforcing the terms of the CR. Since 1971, when The Trustees began this program, conservation restrictions have helped us protect more than 18,000 acres of land—more than any other conservation organization in Massachusetts. Learn more about Conservation Restrictions.

Assistance Projects. Some properties may be more suitable for protection by partner organizations. Through our work with other groups over many years, we have assisted in the protection of more than 16,000 acres of land.

Gifts of land or conservation restrictions may qualify donors for income, estate, or property tax savings for themselves and their heirs. Together, these incentives can be substantial. You can learn more in Land Conservation Options: A Guide for Massachusetts Landowners (PDF), our guide to the various ways in which thousands of private landowners have extended a tradition of conservation and stewardship to the lands they love.