Our culture, community, and sense of place are all inextricably tied to the land. Upstate Forever's Land Conservation program partners with landowners to protect the special places they and their communities cherish. If you own land with important natural resources, a voluntary conservation agreement can protect the land you love while you continue to own and manage it for traditional uses. You may also realize significant tax benefits.
Upstate Forever was the first land trust organization in South Carolina to receive national accreditation. The accreditation seal recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. Our land trust now protects more than 21,000 acres on 114 properties.
A conservation agreement (also called a "conservation easement") is a voluntary contract between a landowner and a qualified land trust, which allows the landowner to legally restrict certain undesirable land uses from occurring on their property.
This agreement is permanent and remains with the land even after it has been sold or willed to heirs. Conservation agreements typically prevent land uses such as residential subdivisions, commercial or industrial operations, and mining, while allowing traditional rural land uses, such as farming, grazing, hunting, and timbering to continue. The terms of a conservation agreement are negotiated around the kitchen table, and vary greatly depending on the landowner’s plans for their property. A conservation agreement never allows public access, unless it is the express desire of the landowner for it to do so.
We would love to help you honor your vision for conserving your property. To learn more, contact our land trust staff.
Download this booklet to learn more about Upstate Forever's conservation agreement process.
Find more information about what happens once you've signed a conservation agreement with Upstate Forever. Topics include baseline reports, monitoring reports, reserved rights requests, and enforcement policies.
Our landowners share why they chose to protect their property with our land trust.
An offshoot of Upstate Forever, this grassroots citizens' group is committed to promoting land conservation and resource protection in Oconee County.
Learn more about what it means for a land trust to earn national accreditation.
The state Conservation Bank is an essential tool to incentivize land protection.