Southeast Alaska Land Trust
Stewarding Lands You Cherish

12 Steps to a Conservation Easement

1. Initial Contact
A landowner, or the Southeast Alaska Land Trust, may initiate discussions about a property, its values, the owner’s interests, how land trusts work, conservation easements, fee simple gifts, etc.

2. Site Visit
A representative of the Trust visits the property to identify the site values and explore landowner’s objectives. (See our Criteria for Property Evaluation) .

3. Review conservation options and easement requirements
On-site and during the follow-up, the parties discuss conservation options for property, likely effects of each, and related costs or fees.

  • Review model easement
  • Tailoring easement terms to the land values and landowner interests
  • Legal and tax counsel (recommended)
  • Baseline documentation report preparation
  • Determine Stewardship Fund contribution and how to raise the money
  • Limited liability title report
  • Recording fee
  • Land Trust service fee
  • Appraisal and sub-surface mineral survey fees
  • (if charitable donation exemption by IRS is sought)

4. Letter of Intent
The landowner presents a letter describing their intent to pursue options for maintaining conservation values of the property. Though non-binding, the landowner’s letter of intent is the basis for the Trust’s commitment to the project. You can download a detailed page of guidelines for composing a letter of intent here. (PDF 68kb)

5. Lands Committee Recommendation
The Southeast Alaska Land Trust lands committee reviews the landowners’ intent letter and discusses the pros and cons of an easement on the property. The Committee makes its recommendation to the full Board.

6. Board of Directors decides by consensus to commit to the project.  

7. The Trust investigates the legal status of the property.
A title and mortgage check is conducted and applicable planning & zoning regulations are identified.

8. The Trust develops a Baseline Documentation Report
This is a resource report that documents the condition of the property at the time the conservation easement is signed. It includes items such as a legal description, documentation of outstanding features and any development on the property such as roads, buildings, fences, gardens, etc. Aerial and ground point photos are established.

9. Draft Easement
A draft is prepared by landowner (& counsel) in consultation with the Trust. The Southeast Alaska Land Trust’s model easement serves as a starting point. Southeast Alaska Land Trust’s legal committee reviews and makes its final recommendation to the Board.

10. With Stewardship Funds in place, the approved Easement is signed and recorded.

11. Appraisal
Easement and subsurface mineral survey appraisals are required if donor wishes to claim a charitable gift deduction from the IRS.

12. IRS Paperwork
The IRS paperwork for the charitable donation is submitted by landowner.

Mail: Southeast Alaska Land Trust, 119 Seward Street, Suite 15, Juneau, AK 99801, USA
Office Location: Downtown Juneau on the 2nd Floor of the Valentine Building at 119 Seward Street in Suite 15
Email: — Phone: (907) 586-3100 — Fax: (907) 586-3125