Scenic Hudson often partners with private landowners to preserve the region’s scenic beauty, working farms, woodlands, and wetlands.
If you have land you’d like to protect, please fill out the form below and we’ll help determine your best conservation options. Ordinarily, we work with parcels of 45 acres or greater. However, we sometimes make exceptions if smaller parcels possess significant natural or scenic resources.
Land Conservation Options with Scenic Hudson
Scenic Hudson has worked with landowners throughout the region to protect important landscapes and provide recreational access. We may be able to work with you to develop and implement a land protection strategy tailored to your particular personal and financial needs.
Will You Shape Your Land’s Future?
Real estate markets have their ups and downs, but over the long term, development pressures eventually find their way to rural landscapes. When they do, the natural features that make your property unique may well be erased—unless you take action to shape your land’s future while it’s still under your care.
Whether you own a working farm, a forest or a waterfront estate, by planning ahead, you can ensure the essential features of your property are forever protected.
Which Conservation Tools Are Right for You?
A Conservation Easement, which can be donated or sold to a land trust (when funding is available), is a perpetual restriction that lets you maintain ownership and private use of all your acreage, while ensuring that your land’s important natural features are permanently protected. Many conservation easements also allow for limited future development. As a legal instrument that attaches to your property’s deed and runs with your land forever, a conservation easement ensures that future owners of your property will honor your wishes to protect the land’s natural resources and limit its development. Donating a conservation easement may yield substantial income and property tax benefits*, while selling an easement can generate significant capital—without selling the land you love.
An agricultural conservation easement is specifically tailored to to preserve their farmland for future generations. To address long-term affordability and access for farmers to agricultural land in our region, Scenic Hudson continues developing new, innovative tools. These include a Preemptive Purchase Right (PPR), which requires any future sale of the farm to be at an agricultural value.
A Sale or Gift of Land for Conservation, where you sell (or donate) some or all of your property to Scenic Hudson ensures that your land’s natural resources will be forever protected. If you donate or sell land, you may continue to enjoy its natural beauty and use it for recreational purposes—such as hiking—while shedding the responsibility of owning, maintaining and paying property taxes on the transferred land. Donating land for conservation purposes may yield income tax benefits*. In some instances, selling land for conservation may be possible.
*Consult your professional tax advisor to learn more about the tax benefits that may be available to you.
Protecting Farms and Farming
Scenic Hudson’s unique “critical mass” approach to farmland conservation does more than conserve land. By focusing our efforts on carefully defined regional farm “clusters,” we work to make sure small-scale farming remains economically viable for farmers. By engaging with partners to conserve a cluster of farms in a community or region, we also support the larger agricultural community by sustaining the economic viability of vital farm support services—feed stores, tractor dealers, large-animal veterinarians, etc. In1998, Scenic Hudson became one of the first organizations in New York State to permanently protect farmland through the acquisition of conservation easements—a voluntary, legally binding agreement between a land owner and a qualified non-profit organization or public agency that restricts the use of land in perpetuity to protect its conservation values. Since then, we’ve partnered with farm families to preserve more than 15,000 acres of farmland on more than 100 farms in five counties. These easements, also known as Purchase of Development Rights (or PDRs), have placed more than $50 million directly into the hands of farmers, providing them with capital to grow their operations and ensuring that important farmland will be kept open and available for agricultural use for generations to come.
A Foodshed Approach
In 2013 Scenic Hudson released a report entitled “Securing Fresh, Local Food for New York City and the Hudson Valley: A Foodshed Conservation Plan for the Region.” In addition to providing reliable data on how much farmland must be conserved to ensure that growing populations in the region and New York City can continue to count on supplies of fresh, local food, it offers a blueprint for ramping up collaborative farmland protection efforts. To date it has received excellent buy-in from farmers, fellow environmental groups, New York State and local governments, and others. You can download a copy of the Foodshed Conservation Plan at www.scenichudson.org/foodshedplan.