Yarmouth Conservation Trust
YCT 54 acre CR protects Hospital Bog's autumn color.. YCT 54 acre CR protects Hospital Bog's autumn color..
Mission: Yarmouth Conservation Trust (YCT) preserves open space to protect woodlands, water, wildlife habitats, and scenic views throughout Yarmouth.
About Land Trusts

Land trusts are local, state, or regional nonprofit organizations directly involved in protecting land for its natural, recreational, scenic, historical, or productive value. Most land trusts are private, nonprofit corporations. Land trusts are not "trusts" in the legal sense, and may also be called "conservancies," "foundations," or any number of other names descriptive of their purpose.

Land trusts, like Yarmouth Conservation Trust, are distinguished by their first-hand involvement in land transactions or management. This involvement can take many forms. Some land trusts purchase or accept donations of land or of conservation restrictions (permanent, binding agreements that restrict the uses of a piece of land to protect its conservation resources). Some manage land owned by others or advise landowners on how to preserve their land. Some land trusts help negotiate conservation transactions in which they play no other role.

Land trusts often work cooperatively with government agencies by acquiring or managing land, researching open space needs and priorities, and assisting in the development of open space plans. They also may work with other nonprofit organizations and sometimes with developers. A land trust may do one, several, or all of these things.

Some land trusts are organized to protect a single piece of property, but the more active trusts have a larger land protection agenda. They may focus their efforts in a community, in a region, on a particular type of resource, or on a protection project. Some operate statewide and work cooperatively with local land trusts in addition to conducting their own land conservation projects. Resources protected by land trusts include forests, prairie grasslands, islands, urban gardens, river corridors, farmland, watersheds, parklands, marshes, ranchland, scenic vistas, cultural landscapes, Civil War battlefields, and hiking trails.

Most land trusts depend on volunteer leadership and support even if they also have a professional staff. They have the potential to bring together a wide range of people in a community, such as naturalists, planners, farmers, hunters, landowners, community leaders, sometimes developers, and others who care about special lands in their communities.

Land trusts have many advantages as a vehicle for protecting land. They can hold and manage land and other assets as a corporation, rather than through individuals. As private organizations, land trusts can be more flexible and creative and can generally act more quickly than government agencies, since they are not as restrained by politics and procedures. They are able to negotiate with landowners discreetly, confidentially, and quickly.

Their nonprofit status brings them a variety of tax benefits. Donations to land trusts may qualify donors of land, conservation easements [also called conservation restrictions], or money for income, estate, or gift tax savings. Properly structured land trusts are exempt from federal and state income taxes, and sometimes from local property and real estate transfer taxes as well. Nonprofit status is also an advantage in raising funds from a variety of sources.

As community-based organizations, land trusts draw on community resources, including volunteer time and skills. Their community orientation is also helpful in selecting and negotiating transactions. They are familiar with the land in the area and often have the trust and confidence of local landowners who may not want to work with government agencies or entities from outside the community.

(Source: The Land Trust Alliance. Starting a Land Trust: A Guide to Forming a Land Conservation Organization. Virginia: The Land Trust Alliance, 1990.)

YCT Contact Information

Mailing Address
Yarmouth Conservation Trust
P.O. Box 376
Yarmouth Port, MA 02675

Don Henderson: dfh@capecod.net

Don Henderson: (508) 776-0629