Landowner Resources


Giving your land to the Southeast Alaska Land Trust is among the most generous legacies you can leave to future generations. It can provide you with many benefits as well. Donating land can:

  • Ensure permanent protection of your property through the use of a conservation easement;
  • Provide you with a charitable income tax deduction for the full fair market value of the land;
  • Eliminate capital gains tax on appreciated value, otherwise payable if you sold the land;
  • Remove the property from your taxable estate;
  • Release you from the expense and responsibility of managing the property; and
  • Provide long-term financial support for SEAL Trust.
Jim and Mary-Lou King sold both a conservation easement and a fee-simple property to SEAL Trust.

Jim and Mary-Lou King sold both a conservation easement and a fee-simple property to SEAL Trust.

Each decision to conserve a property is a personal one. The landowner’s vision for the land and its conservation values are at the heart of the matter. The owner’s financial and tax circumstances also influence the conservation method selected. Because every situation is unique, the Southeast Alaska Land Trust offers many different means of conserving the vital natural areas that give Southeast Alaska and its communities their unique character.

Several options allow you, as the private landowner, to protect the conservation values of your land. Use conditions or restrictions agreed to within a conservation easement are permanent – remaining in effect even if the title changes hands. Mutual covenants can offer protections, but no long-term assurance.

  • Conservation Easement – A voluntary, legal agreement between a property owner and a land trust that restricts the uses of that property to ensure that its natural values remain in place. The conservation easement is the most widely used land protection tool available to landowners. Each conservation easement is tailored to a specific property and designed to meet the specific needs and conservation purposes of the landowner.
  • Outright Donation – With the donation of a conservation easement, the landowner commits to use provisions ensuring conservation of the property. The owner may realize income and property tax benefits.
  • Mutual Covenants – An agreement between neighboring landowners wishing to collectively protect natural features (open space, view, etc.) of land in a self-enforcing and non-perpetual manner.

Any number of scenarios can make land ownership unappealing: you own highly appreciated property, the sale of which would result in large capital gains taxes; you own property you no longer use; you own land containing significant conservation values, but don’t have heirs who will protect it; you wish to reduce tax burdens; or you would like to be relieved of the responsibilities of managing and caring for land you cherish.

  • Donating Land – Gifts of real estate can frequently save you thousands of dollars in income, estate, and capital-gain taxes, while providing a substantial benefit to SEAL Trust. We will gladly accept gifts of real estate.
    • Outright Donation – This is a relatively simple transaction transferring land ownership to the Trust. You will receive tax benefits.
    • Donation with Reserved Life Estate – Agreement allowing a landowner to donate property during their lifetime, while reserving the right to continue to live on and use the property during their lifetime. You will receive tax benefits.
  • Selling Land – The land trust might be willing, though often not able, to buy conservation land. There are several methods that increase the trusts land acquisition potential.
    • Fair Market Value Sale – Reserved for highly specialized parcels under an imminent threat.
    • Bargain Sale – Sale of land to a land trust at below fair market value. The difference between market and sale price is a tax-deductible, charitable donation.
    • Installment Sale – Agreement in which the seller accepts a series of payments over time, rather than a lump sum.
    • Option to Purchase – Contractual agreement between a landowner and land trust on a sale price, and a specified amount of time to raise funds.
    • Right of 1st Refusal – Gives the land trust an opportunity to match any bona fide offer on a piece of land.
  • Selling or Donating Land With Conditions Attached: Several methods allow land to be sold or donated with restrictions attached. Unlike a conservation easement, these conditions may be terminated at any time by mutual agreement of the parties.
    • Deed Restrictions – Restrictions on certain actions recorded with the deed when property is sold or donated.
    • Conditional Transfer – Deed restrictions placed on land when sold or donated with the underlying condition that if the restrictions are violated, then title returns back to the original owner or other person named in the deed.

Whether you need help preserving land that you cherish beyond your lifetime, desire to realize tax benefits through charitable giving, or simply wish to make a contribution to support our work, we can help you achieve your specific plans while protecting important natural and cultural lands. If you would like to know more about these options, please contact us at or (907) 586-3100.

Note: This information is intended as a general guide to planned giving and voluntary protection of private lands in Southeast Alaska. It is not meant as a substitute for legal or tax advice and should not be relied on as a sole source of information. Individuals wishing to make a donation should consult advisers such as their attorneys, tax accountant, or other professionals. Local and state government officials may also be able to provide useful advice.