Land Protection

The Conservancy believes in working together with like-minded individuals and families to find conservation solutions.  We operate with the philosophy that a good conservation transaction must be good for both the land and the people involved.

“Whenever you can make permanent impact by protecting large swaths of natural land, and in doing so you can help guarantee someone’s legacy for their land, I feel like you’re providing them with what I call the ultimate property right. You are having a perpetual say in the condition of your land.” Matt Heiman, Director of Land Protection for the Leelanau Conservancy.

Working with private landowners, farmers, communities, businesses and all levels of government, the Conservancy preserves Leelanau’s environmentally sensitive areas in an economically sustainable fashion. In addition, we conduct a full schedule of educational programs and advance our mission by researching Leelanau County’s water quality and land-use trends. Our most common land-protection methods are listed below. The approach we take towards a property depends on the character of the land and individual donor’s wishes. Questions? Contact our Director of Land Programs Matt Heiman

Conservation Easements

The Conservancy works with private landowners to permanently protect the natural features of their land for future generations by creating individualized legal agreements that place certain development restrictions on the property. Often conservation easements may result in significant tax benefits for donors.  On occasion, the Conservancy is able to pay landowners up to half of the value for restricting their land. This is referred to as the purchase of development rights or PDR.  The Conservancy purchases the development rights to these ecologically or agriculturally significant lands, conserving them in perpetuity. PDR uses multiple funding sources including matching gifts from landowners.

Conservation Easement Landowner Guide-downloadable pdf

Land Acquisition

Generous landowners who agree with our mission may present land to the Conservancy as a gift.  The Conservancy alo partner with local units of goverments to buy lands with a particular ecological importance, usually with fundraising help from both grand resources and dedicated citizens.

Transfer and Assist

When a government agency wants to acquire and protect certain threatened property but can’t obtain immediate funding, the Conservancy pre-acquires the land. We hold the property until our project partner obtains funding from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund or other sources of acquisition dollars.