Permitted Uses of a Conservation Easement


Thank you for protecting your private property in perpetuity with a Conservation Easement.  We are here to help answer any questions you may have or help guide you when and if you have questions about your property or Conservation Easement Document.

Permitted Uses

There are various permitted uses allowed on your conservation easement property depending on the type of property you own and the ‘rights’ you as a landowner chose to keep. Many of these permitted uses include harvesting dead or down trees for personal firewood, maintaining roads and trails, forest management, etc. Some of these uses do not require direct permission from the Conservancy. BUT many do require a request for approval, or a phone call to check in about what you plan to do, especially when it comes to any soil disturbance, such as buildings/structures, road or trail building, wildlife pond construction, forest management, etc.

Please read your conservation easement document carefully before you do any significant management activities to ensure you gain the proper approvals from both the Conservancy and any permitting agency such as the Department of Environmental Quality or your local unit of government.

Below is some information that may pertain to some of the permitted uses you retained on your property. Please also follow the links at the bottom of the page for forestry, invasive species, ecological and pest/disease information.

Pond Construction

From the Michigan DNR website

Pond Construction

DEQ pond construction BMP

USDA Pond Construction pdf

The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has various cost share programs and information available to landowners for projects such as wildlife habitat improvement, timber stand improvement, etc. You need to qualify for the program (such as EQIP or WHIP), so call the office for more information and to learn about sign up deadlines.

There is a regional office in Traverse City (see contact information below). They can also help with writing Conservation Plans for your property.

Link to NRCS

Jason Kimbrough
Traverse City (Grand Traverse & Leelanau counties)
1501 Cass Street, Ste. A
Traverse City, MI 49684
Phone: 231/941-0951
FAX: 231/929-7890

Trail Building

The Conservancy believes in designing and building trails on our natural areas and preserves that follow both the Leave no Trace ethic and are in similar design to the Interntional Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) trail building guidelines. While not required, we do recommend these resources if you are planning to exercise your reserved right to build a new trail or update an existing trail.  See the links below.

Leave No Trace– 7 principles

International Mountain Bike Association Trail Building and Design


Click here for information about Forestry, Forest Management Plans, etc.


Click here for information on other resources such as Invasive Species, Ecological Restoration, Forest Pests and Diseases, etc.