The Acquisition Committee identifies large, undeveloped parcels
or areas that are of high environmental value, and targets those
properties for protection. Land types with the highest priorities
for acquisition have unusual diversity and/or abundance of wildlife:
forests, watercourses, inland wetlands and tidal marshes. Property
adjacent to land already protected is also given a high priority.
We welcome any inquiry or suggestions of possible acquisitions.
There are several
ways for the Trust to protect undeveloped land. It can acquire the
property by donation or by purchase. The Trust may also receive
easements on properties. With such a conservation easement, the
property owner continues to own the property and may sell it or
leave it to heirs, but the ownership and transfer of the land is
subject to certain restrictions on the development, and the Trust
has the legal right and responsibility to enforce those restrictions.
available to give landowners a comprehensive guide to these various
options as well as a generalized overview of tax advantages. If
an owner is interested in protecting undeveloped property, a committee
member will walk land with him or her and discuss the Trust's criteria
and procedures of land transfer. The Acquisition Committee works
with owners to help them choose the option for permanently protecting
the open space that works best for them. The owners are urged to
seek advice from their attorneys and accountants prior to donating,
selling or transferring certain rights of development to the Trust.
The Trust has
received the bulk of its holdings from donations of open space,
ranging in size from the 100 acres off of Red Hill Road donated
by the Van Wie family, to parcels less than one acre in size, and
even several tiny islands (or rocks) in Long Island Sound. Some
properties have been given to the Trust from subdivision developments
as part of the local zoning regulations' requirement of designated
The Trust also
purchases property when an important parcel becomes available at
a price that it can afford. Some recent purchases have involved
partnerships with the town, the state, and the Guilford Land Conservation
Trust Funding for these acquisitions comes from government and private
grants and, most importantly, contributions from our members and
the general public. The Trust maintains an acquisition fund, which
enables it to move quickly to take advantage of new opportunities
as they arise. Contributions to this fund are always welcome, and
will be put to good use protecting Branford's remaining open space.