What is a Land Trust?
UALT is a land trust. Land trusts are not government agencies. A land trust is a private, nonprofit corporation that works with landowners to help them conserve and maintain their family lands with voluntary conservation easements. Utah Agricultural Land Trust is a Utah-based organization that is guided by an all-volunteer board of northern Utah residents. Our efforts are driven by the desire to preserve private agricultural lands in Utah and free them from development pressures. We understand the concerns of local ag property owners. In addition, our nonprofit status offers a variety of tax benefits. Donations of land, conservation easements or financial contributions may qualify you for income or gift tax savings. Additionally, since UALT is a private organization, we offer more flexibility and can be more creative in our conservation options than public agencies.
What does a Land Trust do?
We are here as a service organization to agricultural landowners. The Land Trust will assist the landowner with all phases of the conservation easement process and make sure that the easement is effective. After the conservation easement is completed and recorded, UALT is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the development restrictions that the landowner chooses to place on the land. This is accomplished through annual monitoring visits to the easement property. These regular visits with landowners provide an opportunity to discuss the land, the conservation easement, and any needs, concerns or difficulties that the landowner may have. This two-way communication helps avoid misunderstandings and keeps landowners with new conservation easements on their properties informed. If a visit reveals that the easement has been violated, UALT works initially to find a cooperative solution with the landowner to address the violation. However, UALT is ultimately responsible to stop the violation and require that the property be restored to its original condition.
How does the Land Trust oversee the lands under its protection?
Properties are monitored annually by UALT. Typically, staff and board members visit properties and compare conditions to the baseline documentation report prepared in coordination with the conservation easement documents. In the event that the property changes ownership, UALT will establish a relationship with the new owners, and will continue annual monitoring in perpetuity regardless of who owns the land.