Protecting Our Promise…
We take our promise to protect Tennessee’s natural and historic landscapes and sites very seriously. Our real work begins when we close on each new conservation easement as our stewardship team works with landowners to help them fully understand the ways in which the conservation easement protects their land.
Through our stewardship program, we:
- Help landowners understand how their conservation easement applies to their property
- Visit every protected property annually (typically between January and April)
- Review and approve major activity requests, such as requests to build structures, cut timber, etc.
- Take steps, when necessary, to remedy and defend any violation of a conservation easement
Our goal is to be a resource to landowners and to ensure that the conservation easement’s conditions are upheld—not to tell people how to use or manage their land. Scroll to the bottom for downloadable resources and forms.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
When should I contact The Land Trust for Tennessee?
We encourage you to contact us any time you have questions about your conservation easement. There are multiple activities that may require our input or approval. As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to contact us before making any substantial changes.
For example, you should always contact our Stewardship team before:
- Selling or transferring your conserved land
- Building any new structure
- Starting any new timber management activity
- Making any other substantial change on your land
Who should I contact with questions about the conservation easement on my land?
Please contact a member of our stewardship team at (615)244-5263 or email us.
What are reserved rights and how do I use them?
When you own land, you also own many rights associated with it. These might include rights to harvest timber, build structures, subdivide the property, mine resources, grow crops and so on (subject to zoning and other restrictions).
When you grant a conservation easement to a land trust, you permanently limit or extinguish some of these rights. Each conservation easement is unique, tailored to meet the landowner’s wishes for their land and protect the conservation values of the property. Certain rights can be “reserved” within the conservation easement but may require permission from The Land Trust for Tennessee in order to exercise, such as construction of new structures or roads or the establishment of building envelopes.
We work to make this process as seamless as possible through our Reserved Right Request Form. Once we receive all pertinent information, we will respond to the request within 30 days, and we are typically able to respond within one week.
Ready to do something new on your land?
- Step 1 – Review your conservation easement and reference a detailed list of activities that may require our input (PDF). Call us with any questions at (615) 244-LAND.
- Step 2 – Download and submit a Request Form(PDF)
- Step 3 – Our team will review the request and contact you for further details.
When will The Land Trust for Tennessee visit my property?
We visit properties protected with a conservation easement every year. Our “monitoring season” is typically January through April, so you can expect a staff member or a trained stewardship volunteer to contact you during that time.
What happens during the annual monitoring visit?
Members of The Land Trust staff or trained volunteers will walk the property, take photos and notes for our records and visit with you if you are available. The focus of the visit will be to document any changes since the last monitoring visit. It is also a great time to share any questions or concerns you may have and discuss future plans.
Do I need to be present for my annual visit from The Land Trust for Tennessee?
We encourage you to be present if possible. We always enjoy visiting with landowners, but we understand if you are not available at the time we are able to visit. We may also conduct additional visits during times of construction, to gather information in regards to a reserved right request, out of concern of a potential issue or for other reasons.
What happens if there is a violation of my easement?
Our goal is to stay in close contact with landowners so violations are avoided. In the event an accidental or unintended violation does occur, we are legally obligated to enforce the easement. However, we always aim to maintain a positive, collaborative relationship with landowners to work towards a resolution.
Who can I call if I need assistance with managing my land?
We have partners across the state who may be able to help you meet your land management goals and requirements. Click here for a list of resources.
- Landowner Resource Guide (PDF) – This guide provides a brief overview of how The Land Trust partners with owners of protected land. Click here.
- When to Contact the Trust for Tennessee? (PDF) – This detailed list will help you know if and when you need to contact us for changes to your property. Click here.
- Resources for Managing Your Land – View a list of organizations who may be able to help you you achieve your land management goals and requirements. Click here.
- Reserved Right Request Form (PDF) – Download and submit a Reserved Right Request Form to begin the process. Click here.