Athens Land Trust currently holds conservation easements protecting 11,528 acres in Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Bibb, Cobb, Crisp, Dooly, Effingham, Fannin, Franklin, Habersham, Henry, Jackson, Jones, Meriwether, Mitchell, Morgan, Oconee, Screven, Spalding,Stephens, Sumter, Towns, Walton, Wilcox and Wilkes Counties. This land consists of working family farmland and forest, wetlands, neighborhood open space, and scenic vistas.
Land Protected By ALT
ALT works with landowners to protect forests, river and stream corridors, wetlands and other ecologically rich areas, working farmland, and scenic areas in and surrounding Athens-Clarke County. Protecting natural areas sustains critical ecosystem products such as clean air and water, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, water supply and productive soils. These “natural commodities” provide a wide array of benefits to humans and wildlife and create the foundation for environmental and economic sustainability. ALT currently protects 13,015 acres of land through conservation easements – a common land protection tool.
A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a property owner and a land trust that restricts the type and amount of development allowed on the owner’s property. The restrictions outlined in the easement are negotiated between the property owner and the land trust and generally allow for the continued existing use of the property. Since the landowner continues to own the property, he/she maintains the rights of occupancy, privacy and transferability – the property owner can sell or transfer the property at any time. Once the restrictions in the easement are final, the easement becomes part of the property deed, permanently protecting the conservation values. To read more about conservation easements, see Frequently Asked Questions about Conservation Easements.
Land trusts have been extraordinarily successful and are playing a larger role in the field of land and natural resource protection. In fact, more than 47 million acres are protected by land trusts, according to the 2005 National Land Trust Census.
The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.