County, Legacy Land Trust Society Reach Conservation Easement Agreement

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Mountain View County Council is pleased to announce the Conservation Easement Agreement with Legacy Land Trust Society for 644 acres of County owned lands located South East of Sundre, referred to as Jackson Lake.

Legacy Land Trust Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating voluntary private land conservation in Mountain View County. The Legacy Land Trust Society is the result of extensive community consultation and research, including a County-supported Master’s Thesis Project.

Council approved the Conservation Easement Agreement at the September 13, 2017 Regular Council Meeting.

County Reeve Bruce Beattie said the agreement fulfills several of the mandates of Council including preservation of the Environment and Agricultural lands.

“Council wanted to set the standard that its Strategic Goals can have actual impact and meaning,” he said. “We believe this sets an example that preservation of agricultural land and environmental stewardship are high on our list of priorities.”

The Legacy Land Trust Society offers private land owners in Mountain View County:

  • resources to conserve agricultural land, ecologically sensitive land, wildlife habitat and corridors, recreational areas and significant historical and archeological sites;
  • the opportunity through voluntary agreements to place all or a portion of their land under sustainable conservation stewardship in perpetuity for the benefit of future generations, while continuing to own and operate it

A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between a private land owner and a land trust. A landowner wishing to preserve/conserve all or a portion of his/her land can enter into an agreement with a land trust with the purpose maintaining the specified land in its current state, for its current use in perpetuity.

The intent of the Conservation Easement is to protect the environment, preserve Agriculture and possibly provide a community recreational asset in the future. Currently the Bergen Area Structure Plan discourages residential use on the lands.

Mountain View County first acquired the lands through tax recovery and land trade. The Legacy Land Trust Society will provide $248,000 to Mountain View County for the Conservation Easement. Council’s intention is to utilize these funds to enhance the County’s environmental and conservation programs.

The lands will continue to have a grazing lease. A grazing management plan will be developed in consultation with the leaseholder, being mindful to preserve the current agricultural and recreational use of the lands. The Conservation Easement does not restrict access, however, those that will want to hunt on the lands will still have to attain the leaseholder’s and County’s permission to access the area.

It is important to note that the County retains ownership of the properties, and the easement is registered against title. The Legacy Land Trust Society is the steward of the agreement and will manage the easement in partnership with Mountain View County.