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Legacy Land Trust projects cover 3,300 acres

The first conservation easement in Mountain View County happened in Bergen in 2015, with the county’s Jackson Lake conservation easement taking place in 2016

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Legacy Land Trust Society (LLTS) officials have updated Mountain View County council on some of the organization’s recent activities and plans.

The review, the first for the recently elected council, came during a recent council meeting, held in person and on Zoom.

LLTS officials appeared before council as a delegation, including chairperson Kim Good and executive director Keri Sharpe.

Legacy Land Trust Society is involved with private land conservation and stewardship. In a formal or informal way, landowners and land managers maintain land health. It works mainly in Mountain View County.

The conservation and stewardship takes place through land management decisions or implementation of beneficial management practices, conservation programs with non-government organizations or governments.

A land trust is a non-profit, charitable organization that accepts gifts of land or acquires land or interest in land that is voluntarily given or sold for the purpose of conservation. 

“The main purpose or driver of that is that the land is held in trust for future generations,” said Good. “The main reason for land trust in Canada has been environmental, but within the legislation it can be for environmental purposes, scenic purposes and agriculture, and then there’s a sub-value which is recreational.”

Land Trust can use a number of tools, including conservation easements, land donations, land purchase, and secondary tools such as management agreements, lease agreements and land swaps.

A conservation easement (CE) is a contract between a landowner and a qualified organization, which can include a land trust, municipality or the province. They can be permanent or term and are registered on the land title.

The purpose of the CE is the protection, conservation, enhancement of environment, natural scenic or aesthetic values, agricultural land or land for agriculture land purposes.

LLTS started its work in the county in 2007, with an advisory committee set up in 2008. The first conservation easement happened in Bergen in 2015, with the county’s Jackson Lake conservation easement taking place in 2016. About 2,500 volunteer hours are recorded annually.

LLTS is funded through the Alberta Land Trust Grant Program, community initiatives program, foundations, individual donors, and the municipality.

To date, 14 conservation easements have been established, involving 11 landowners and covering about 3,300 acres. 

Future projects and projects in progress include three conservation easements involving three landowners and about 670 acres.

“Legacy Land Trust is something that is near and dear to this county’s hearts,” said deputy reeve Greg Harris, who chaired the recent council meeting. 

Council received the delegation report as information.

Dan Singleton

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