Acquiring land or easements is only the first step of a long journey to protect the natural beauty of Lyme. Each conservation success brings permanent responsibilities: the Land Trust has a legal obligation to steward and protect the conservation restrictions placed on the land– forever. That requires both people and funds to make sure the work is done correctly.
Land Trust Properties
The Land Trust cares for two types of property: fee and easement.
Fee properties are owned by the Lyme Land Conservation Trust (LLCT) and the Land Trust is responsible for the management and care of that property. The fee properties are often open to the public and provide trails to access the property. A management plan is developed for each fee property to guide the Land Trust as it cares for the property.
An easement property is one where a private landowner has placed a conservation restriction on their property to protect specific conservation values. In exchange the landowner often receives tax breaks or other deductions and the knowledge that the land will remain open with important conservation goals protected. The landowner continues to own the land and may sell it or pass it on their heirs, but the conservation restrictions remain with the property permanently. The property remains private and public access is not usually allowed. However, the landowner does agree to allow the LLCT to conduct annual visits.
The Land Trust depends on a cadre of trained volunteers to visit each and every property, fee and easement, at least once a year. Easement properties are monitored to ensure that the provisions of the original conservation easements are honored. Stewards work with landowners and neighbors, building relationships, helping to uphold the terms of the conservation restriction, serving as a resource for information about the property, and acting as a liaison between a landowner and the Land Trust. Fee properties are also monitored by volunteers to keep boundaries marked, to maintain trails, and to implement the activities identified in the individual management plans. For information, click becoming a property steward.
The Stewardship Committee of the Lyme Land Conservation Trust is focused on our core stewardship responsibilities: monitoring easements, responding to landowner inquiries, investigating violations, and upholding the terms of our more than 65 conservation easements and the care of the 33 properties owned by LLCT.