What is the Great Land Trust?
Great Land Trust is a local, non-profit organization that works in partnership with landowners to conserve ecologically and culturally significant lands in Southcentral Alaska. Founded by and for Alaskans in 1995, GLT serves communities north of the Kenai Peninsula and south of Denali National Park. GLT’s service area includes more than half of the state’s population and totals more than 33,444 square miles, exceeding the combined size of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
Great Land Trust has been responsible for protecting over 9,800 acres of land through conservation easements within the Anchorage Bowl and surrounding area. GLT uses only voluntary means to conserve land including land donation, land purchases and conservation easements.
GLT aims to benefit all residents and visitors of the great state of Alaska by conserving special landscapes that are enjoyed by all. Through land acquisition and conservation easements we are able to provide open spaces and public parks for our community and protect necessary habitat for wildlife.
What does it mean to “conserve your land”?
When you conserve your land, you sign a legal document called a conservation easement and dedicate your property, forever, to being a part of Alaska’s natural landscape.
Sometimes the act of conservation is also referred to as “conveying development rights,” as conservation easements restrict the future subdivision or residential development of land.
When you conserve your property, you continue to own and manage your land, and pay property taxes to the MOA/Mat-Su Borough. You are free to sell or pass on your conserved land, though the easement will stay with the land. As the holder of the conservation easement, our role is to ensure the terms of the conservation easement are honored by all future owners of your property.
What are my options if I want to conserve my land?
There are a variety of options for individuals and families who want to conserve their land. These options include the sale or donation of a conservation easement, a gift of land, or a future bequest of land or a conservation easement.
We also work with municipalities and communities to conserve land that has significance to the public. Often we help communities acquire land for conservation and community uses, such as a public park or new trailhead.
What kind of land does the Great Land Trust conserve?
We conserve salmon streams, wildlife corridors and habitat, wetlands, and recreational lands.
We accept donations of conservation easements on properties that are at least 10 acres in size. Smaller parcels are considered for conservation where there are high quality resources or features especially worthy of perpetual protection.
We also conserve smaller parcels of land that are important gathering places for a community.
Does the Great Land Trust buy conservation easements?
Yes. Over half of our conservation projects are the result of purchasing a conservation easement at full market value.
What are the benefits of conserving my land?
The families and individuals who have worked with us to conserve their land tell us that their greatest reward is the personal satisfaction and peace of mind that comes from knowing their land will remain forever a part of our state’s unique landscape.
Landowners who donate conservation easements or give their land to GLT also benefit from income and estate tax deductions. Conservation easement donations can offset capital gains taxes, reduce estate taxes, and help landowners achieve their philanthropic goals.
What can I do with my land once it is conserved?
You can continue to own and use the land for a variety of purposes, including subsistence hunting and fishing, berry picking, farming, recreation, and education. Conserved land can be sold or passed on to family members. The conservation easement will “run with the land,” requiring future owners of the land to abide by the terms of the conservation easement.
Conservation easements are monitored by our Land Stewardship team. These staff members visit conserved land once a year to answer questions and ensure that the terms of the conservation easement are understood and upheld. Our staff is also available to provide information if you have questions or ideas pertaining to the use of your land.
Are all conserved lands open to public recreation?
Each conserved property is different. While some conserved land is publicly owned and open to everyone, other conserved properties are family farms or forestland that are not suitable for public recreation or access.
Can I sell or donate my property to Great Land Trust?
Yes, Great Land Trust is pleased to accept two types of land/real estate: natural areas that are forever conserved, and trade lands (lands not meeting our conservation criteria, that are given to us with permission from the donors to sell them to acquire other conservation properties). Both types of land gifts are critically important to Great Land Trust’s mission.
For more information please call Phil Shephard at (907) 278-4998.