What's New

Return on Investment in Parks & Open Space - Get report!
January 18, 2014

Yesterday, the MA conservation community held an event at the State House to announce the release of a report: “The Return on Investment in Parks and Open Space in Massachusetts” authored by the Trust for Public Land and funded by over 25 conservation NGOs.

Highlights from the report:

  • For every $1 invested in land conservation, $4 in natural goods and services is returned to the Massachusetts economy.
  • Visitors to Massachusetts spend an estimated $16.9 billion each year and generate $1.1 billion in state and local taxes. The total economic impact of this travel is $26.9 billion. Tourism supports nearly 125,000 jobs, which provides $3.63 billion in wages per year.
  • Outdoor recreation generates $10 billion in consumer spending, $739 million in state and local tax revenue, 90,000 jobs, and $3.5 billion in wages and salaries each year in the state.
  • Agriculture, forestry, commercial fishing, and related processing activity are responsible for $13 billion in output, and 147,000 jobs in Massachusetts.

Over 100 attendees -- ranging from state elected officials to agency leaders to conservation organizations -- heard statewide leaders from business, environmental agencies, municipalities and land conservation organizations, including:

    Representative Anne Gobi, Chair, Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture
    Secretary Rick Sullivan, Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs
    Mayor Lisa Wong, City of  Fitchburg
    Will Manzer, Board Member, Outdoor Industry Association
    Bob Perschel, Executive Director, New England Forestry Foundation


        Report Summary here
        Complete Report: here
        Photos of the event here

Also see:
        Sample Outreach Letter
        Press Release
        State House News Service article

The Commonwealth Conservation Council will be using this data and other compelling information to make a strong case for the Environmental Bond – a $911M piece of legislation that will provide capital funds for the next four years for land acquisition, aquatic restoration and air and water quality testing (among a myriad of programs).     

12th Annual Land Trust - Agency Retreat, Feb 2014
January 17, 2014


The 12th Annual Land Trust - State Agency Retreat was held:

    When:   Thursday, Feb 6, 2014   9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
                  Friday, Feb 7, 2014  8:30 AM - 12 noon
     Where: Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA
     Cost:    Free

Over 50 representatives from land trusts and state agencies attended this two-day event.
Final agenda available here.  

How to Communicate Effectively to Build Support for Conservation
March 18, 2013

This report contains recommendations for communicating effectively to build support for conservation, based on a representative national survey of American voters commissioned by The Nature Conservancy in 2012 and conducted by a bipartisan research team: Democratic polling firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates and Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.

Download report here.

Also of interest is the paper, "What Public Opinion Research Tells Us About Conservation Communications" by the Steve Alexander Group, available here.

2013 Mass Land Conservation Conference Materials
March 17, 2013

Plenary Keynote Speaker 

Catherine Tumber, author of Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World (MIT Press, 2012).
Catherine Tumber presentation 

Biographies of Conference Presenters

Workshop Materials

1C. Effective Effective Legislative Advocacy for Conservation
Karen Heyman, Mass Audubon; Steve Long, The Nature Conservancy
       Advocacy and Influence Presentation (pdf)

1D. Speed Visioning II: Updating the Conservation Vision from 2010
Bob O’Connor, MA EOEEA; Kurt Gaertner, MA EOEEA; Bob Wilber, Mass Audubon
       2010 Conservation  Vision Write-up (pdf)
       2013 Conservation Vision Write-up (pdf) 

1E. Baseline Documentation Reports for Effective CR Stewardship
       Andrew Bentley, Sally Naser, The Trustees of Reservations
       Baseline Documentation Presentation (pdf)     
       Report Contents Outline (pdf)
       Property Conditions Report (pdf)
       Property Conditions Update Report (pdf)

1F.  Integrated Management for Invasive Plants & Identification with Go Botany
Elizabeth Farnsworth, NE Wildflower Society; Lincoln Fish, Bay State Forestry Service
       Integrated Management Presentation (pdf)
       Go Botany Presentation (pdf)
       Go Botany Brochure (pdf)
       Invasive Plant Exercise

1H. Basics of Planning & Funding Land Protection Projects
Christa Collins, Sudbury Valley Trustees; David Santomenna, Essex County Greenbelt
      Basics of Planning & Funding Presentation (pdf)

1I.  Amending Conservation Restrictions: Can Something Perpetual Change? 
      Jonathan Bockian, Robert Levite
      Amending Conservation Restrictions Presentation (pdf)
      Amending Conservation Restrictions Paper (pdf)

1J. Property Tax Exemptions for Land Held by Land Trusts
      Ray Lyons, Attorney; Robert Perschel, New England Forestry Foundation
      Property Tax Exemption Presentation (pdf)
      Tax Calendar for Land Trusts (pdf)

1K. Small Land Trusts: Building the Tolls for Success
Charles Knox, Mass Land Trust Coalition; Rob Cardeiro, Land Trust Alliance;
       Erin Heskett, Land Trust Alliance
       Small Land Trusts Presentation (pdf)
       Observations on Small Land Trust Report (pdf)
       Building and Governing a Land Trust (pdf)
       Funding a Land Trust Handout (pdf)
       Newsletter Handout (pdf)

1L. A New Generation of Smart Growth
      Andre Leroux, MA Smart Growth Alliance; Ina Anderson, MA Smart Growth Alliance;
      Heather McMann, Groundwork Lawrence; Buzz Constable, The Trustees of Reservations
      New Generation of Smart Growth Presentation (pdf)

2A. Property Tax Benefits & Fiscal Impacts of Conservation
Sarah LaValley, City of Northampton; Jay Closser, LandVest
      Property Tax Benefits & Fiscal Impacts Presentation (pdf)
      Property Tax Benefits & Fiscal Impacts Handout (pdf)

2B. Raising Your Voice on Community
      Cormac Collier, Emily MacKinnon, Nantucket Land Council
      Raising Your Voice Presentation (pdf)

2D. Effective Enforcement of Conservation Restriction Violations
Chris Rodstrum & Sally Naser, The Trustees of Reservations
       CR Enforcement Presentation (pdf)

2F. Funding Opportunities at MA EOEEA
Celia Riechel, Melissa Cryan, MA EOEEA
      2013 EEA Grants (pdf)

2H. The Ever-Changing World of Donation & Valuation Substantiation Rules
Stefan Nagel, Law Office of Stephen J. Small, PC; Jonathan Avery, Avery & Associates
       Agenda and Contact Information (pdf)
       Donation and Valuation Substantion Samples (pdf)

2I. The Massachusetts Conservation Land Tax Credit (CLTC)
Irene Del-Bono, MA EOEEA, Paula Pariseau, The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts
      MA Conservation Land Tax Credit Application Process Chart (pdf)
      MA Conservation Land Tax Credit Application (pdf)
      MA Conservation Land Tax Credit Regulations (pdf)
      Compact Information Handout (pdf)

2J. DIY Strategic Planning for Small Land Trusts      
      Henrietta Jordan, Trailmarker Associates
      Do It Yourself Strategic Planning Outline (pdf)
      Strategic Planning Process (pdf)
      Strategic Planning Spreadsheet (Excel)

2K. And Now, Please Put on Your Advancement Hat
      Molly Fannon Williams, Philanthropy Consultant; Gabriela Silva, Wildlands Trust
      Audit Outline (pdf)
      Development Coordinator Job Description (pdf)
      Questions When Creating Development Plan (pdf)
      Sample Gift Tables (pdf)
      Wildlands Trust Development Committee Charter (pdf)

2M. Building Vibrancy: Creative Placemaking & Gateway City Green Spaces
       Ben Forman, Gateway City Innovation Inst; Liz Nunn, Loeb Fellow
       Building Vibrancy Presentation (pdf)

3B. Great Outdoors & Gateway City Parks  
       Stephanie Cooper, Kurt Gaertner, Melissa Cryan, MA EOEEA, Div of Conservation Services;
        Brad Buschur, Groundwork Lawrence
        Great Outdoors & Gateway City Parks Presentation (pdf)

3E. Administering a Deer Hunting Program on Land Trust Properties
Dave Rimmer, Essex County Greenbelt; Russ Hopping, The Trustees of Reservations
       Deer Presentation (pdf)
       Grafton Land Trust Hunting Policy (pdf)
       Greenbelt Hunting Fact Sheet 2013 (pdf)
       Greenbelt Sample Hunting Permission Letter 2013 (pdf)
       Medfield MA Deer Hunting FAQ (pdf)
       TTOR Hunting Policy (pdf)

3F. Organizing Successful Landscape-Scale Conservation Projects
Jay Rasku, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust; Janet Morrison, North County Land Trust
      Landowners Guide (pdf)
      Landowner Update Letter (pdf)
      Winchendon Springs Implementation Plan Summary (pdf)

3G. Legal Roundtable
      Moderator: Buzz Constable, Lincoln Land Conservation Trust
      Donation of Property 2012 vs 2013 (pdf)
      Common Law of Merger (pdf)


All Volunteer Land Trust Survey Results
February 16, 2013

Earlier this year, the Mass Land Trust Coalition asked all-volunteer land trusts to respond to a survey created in collaboration with the Land Trust Alliance. The Coalition wishes to thank the 73 Massachusetts land trusts who participated in the survey. Read what those land trusts had to say about their work, their successes and their challenges here.

Land Trust Retreat
February 15, 2013

Hello Fellow Land Conservationists,

The 11th annual Land Trust - State Agency Retreat was held:

When:  Thursday, Feb 7th, 2013, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (dinner afterwards)

            Where: Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA

Who:    MLTC Land Trusts & State Land Agency Staff

Cost:     FREE


Agenda available here.

Over 70 land conservation practitioners gathered in Petersham for this exciting event. We thank all who took the time to attend. And special thanks to all of the speakers who made this such a memorable day.

New Small Land Trust Assistance Program
February 14, 2013

The Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition is offering a new assistance program to small land trusts.

Thanks to a partnership agreement with the Land Trust Alliance (LTA), MLTC is initiating a "circuit rider" program designed to help small land trusts, focusing on trusts that have no staff or only a part-time staff person. Experienced MLTC staff and consultants will come to your land trust, free-of-charge, to help your Board and your staff, if any, assess your organization. We'll help you identify your trust's needs and create an action plan, tailored specifically to your organization and designed to assist it in taking a leap forward toward long-term effectiveness and sustainability.
More information here.
Southeastern Mass Land Trust Convocation Feb 2nd
January 3, 2013

You are invited to attend the

Southeastern Massachusetts Land Trust Convocation
Saturday, February 2, 2013 - 8:30 am to Noon
Canal Club Facility, 100 Trowbridge Rd off Bourne Bridge Rotary,
Quality Inn Hotel, Bourne, 02532

Co-sponsored by The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts,
Buzzards Bay Coalition, and the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition

If you wish to attend, please rsvp to Mark Robinson at: mark@thecompact.net

Agenda here

Mass Easement Defense Subcommittee Meeting
December 6, 2012

The first meeting of the re-formed Massachusetts Easement Defense Subcommittee (MEDS) will be January 31st from 1-4pm at Mass Audubon's Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary in Worcester, MA.

Agenda available here.

The goal of MEDS is to provide a forum for substantive discussions on topics of interest to the land trust community and for knowledgeable practitioners to share their experience to benefit all. The meeting is open to all Members and Friends of MLTC, and should be of special interest to senior land conservation practitioners and attorneys.

A detailed agenda will be available soon. Topics for this first meeting will be:
(1) discussion of the purpose of MEDS and how it will function
(2) discussion of the Model CR

If you wish to attend, please rsvp to Kathy McGrath at: kmcgrath@massland.org

Contribute to the Mass Land Trust Coalition's Annual Appeal
December 5, 2012

As 2012 draws to a close, the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition looks back upon a very productive year.  And now, with your support of our annual fund drive, we look ahead to further expanding our efforts to serve our state’s land trust community – from the Atlantic coastal headlands to Connecticut Valley farmlands to the forested uplands of the Berkshires.

During two decades as our state’s land trust service center, and with over 130 land conservation members across Massachusetts, the Coalition has served as our state’s key forum for educational outreach, legislative awareness, and networking, all to benefit the important mission of Mass land trusts – protecting farms, forests, wildlife habitat, and community parklands.  This year, with its newly-achieved 501 (c) (3) status now in hand, MLTC hired its first executive director, established a permanent home office, and carried out a host of outreach activities.

In the coming year we plan to expand upon these successes, with even more outreach activities designed to help our state’s land trusts carry out their important conservation missions.  But that of course requires financial assistance.  Please know that we would very much appreciate a year-end gift that will allow us to continue down a pathway of conservation progress.  Protecting land for present and future generations is not always easy.  It requires an abundance of know-how and a host of informational tools and services, services that our Coalition’s statewide center provides.  We hope you’ll support our efforts and contribute to our important conservation role.  Thank you.

                             Charles Knox, Executive Director                  Ed Becker, Board President

                                                                        Get Appeal Form here

2013 Mass Conservation Land Tax Credit Application Available
November 3, 2012

The new 2013 Conservation Land Tax Credit (CLCT)  Application is now available.  Please use this version for all CLTC applications from November 21, 2012 forward.  You can find it at http://www.mass.gov/eea/state-parks-beaches/land-use-and-management/land-conservation/massachusetts-conservation-tax-credit-program.html

The web page also has a link to Frequently Asked Questions which we will regularly update for you.

2012 has been a great success so far with 56 new applications. Some have had to move to 2013 for various reasons but we are on track to see 2, 523 acres protected with the $2 million in tax credits.  Thank you to everyone who works so hard to guide donors through the entire process.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the program.

Tom Anderson, Program Coordinator

Conservation Land Tax Credit Program
EOEEA, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114-2524
(617) 626-1013

Exhibit at the 2013 Mass Land Conservation Conference
November 3, 2012

There are 30 exhibitor spots open for the Conference on March 23, 2013. The conference theme, “What is a Green Future Worth: From Rural Landscapes to City Parks” provides an exciting backdrop for exhibitors concerned with the sustainability of our communities today and for future generations. At the 2013 conference, exhibitors will benefit from a raffle driven “exhibitor passport” to increase exhibit area traffic.To donate a raffle item to the Mass Land Conservation Conference or if you have any questions, please email kmcgrath@massland.org.

The 2012 Mass Land Conservation Conference (MLCC) offered 36 workshops attracting close to 500 members of the land conservation community and featured 32 exhibitors.

Download the form to register to exhibit at the 2013 Mass Land Conservation Conference
Form instructions: Please download the form, fill in fields and save. You may then email the completed form as an attachment to kmcgrath@massland.org or print and send form along with payment.

Mass Land Trust Coalition's 2013 Exhibitor Policy is available here

Mass Conservation Land Tax Credit Update - Sept 2012
September 19, 2012

This will serve as an update to all interested parties about the availability of the Conservation Land Tax Credit (CLTC) for calendar 2012.

As of today, August 10, 2012 we have received 46 new applications in calendar 2012, of which some have been denied, cancelled or withdrawn. There were also 3 applications that were carried over from 2011 to 2012. Together, these applications add up to over 2,223 acres of great conservation land.  

The 2012 ?cap? for the CLTC program is $2 million, and we have reached that cap at this time. This means that if all the current applications are carried through to a $50,000 tax credit, or to their appraised tax credit amount, $2,000,000 will be expended. Please note that some current applications may still appraise lower than expected and others may yet be cancelled, which would therefore free up small dollar amounts for reallocation to the next application in line. (We may be able to fund one or two more applications)

All applications that have been submitted up to #0079 have funding reserved for them and will be funded if they successfully complete the entire gift/bargain sale, tax credit process.

Applications that come in from this point through the end of 2012 will be fully evaluated for CLTC eligibility and the applicants will be notified of that eligibility determination. They will also then be notified that they are on the 2012 waiting list and will be contacted if funds become available. If no funding becomes available by November 16, 2012, they will be asked to move their application and the closing on their donation to calendar 2013. Their place in ?line? will be preserved and they will receive funding for the tax credit in 2013.

Please also note that you must apply to the tax credit program before you actually donate the land or sign a conservation restriction. If you are submitting a new application please be sure to use the latest version located at http://www.mass.gov/eea/land-use-habitats/land-conservation/massachusetts-conservation-tax-credit-program..html

Thank you.

Tom Anderson
Program Coordinator II
(617) 626-1013

100,000 Acre Celebration
August 20, 2012


Massachusetts Protected Open Space Now Exceeds Developed Land

Governor Deval Patrick today announced that the Patrick-Murray Administration's ambitious land conservation efforts have protected more than 100,000 acres of open space in just five and a half years. The amount of protected open space now stands at 1.25 million acres, for the first time exceeding the amount of developed land in Massachusetts.

“I am extremely proud to announce that the Commonwealth, partnering with local municipalities, land trusts, conservation organizations, businesses and private landowners, has protected over 100,000 acres of land since 2007,” said Governor Patrick. “We have conserved open space and developed parks in over 310 communities, leaving a lasting legacy that touches every corner of the state.”

Governor Patrick announced the land protection milestone at Halfway Pond, where the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and its Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) recently acquired 94 acres of wildlife habitat for $2.5 million and received a gift conservation restriction on another 28.4 acres from A.D. Makepeace Company.

Read more of this press release here.
Check out informal photos of the event here, courtesy of Russ Cohen, and a rare sighting at the event here.

100,000 Acres Invitaiton
2012 Conference Materials
March 20, 2012

Plenary Keynote Speaker
Inventing the Future of Food (28 MB) or PDF Version (8 MB) - Gary Hirshberg, Chairman Stonyfield Farm

1D   Deer Populations on Land Trust Lands - Ellie Horwitz, Whit Beals, Russ Hopping, Jim Lentowski,
        Tom O'Shea, Thomas Rawinski
       Audubon Magazine Deer Article
       Bow Hunting Form & Hunting Form
       Deer History I
       Deer History II
       Deer Info Sources
       Losing Hunter Access
       Nantucket Hunting Association Model
       Nantucket Deer Hunter Guidelines
       Rhode Island 2011
       Newtown CT Final Report
       Weston Deer Issue

1F   Effective Enforcement of Conservation Restriction Violations - Chris Rodstrom, Sally Naser, Andrew

       Bentley & Laura Mattei
        CR Stewardship Policies
       Staff CR Enforcement Procedures

1G  Enhancing the Edibility of Conserved Landscapes
Edible Native Plants Handout
       Consultants on Edible Native Species

1J  The New Mass Conservation Land Tax Credit - Mark Robinson, Irene Del Bono 
       & Jonathan Avery 
       CLTC Info Sheet
       Mass Tax Credit Flow Chart
       Mass Conservation Land Tax Credit Presentation

1K  CRs Granted in Connection with Conservation Developments - Robert Levite
       & Joel Russell 
       Conservation Restrictions in Conservation Subdivisions Presentation

1L  Board Development Boot Camp - Henrietta Jordan
       Model Recordkeeping Policy
       Board Self Evaluation
       Land Trust Board Member Self Evaluation
       Model Conflict of Interest Policy
       Model Conservation Easement Enforcement Policy
       Model CE Amendment Policy
       An Intentional Approach to Land Trust Board Development
       Financial Records and Reporting

2A  Making More Land Available for Farming
       New Entry Sustainable Farming Project - Rebecca Weaver

2E  Avoiding Homelessness for Conservation Restrictions - Stephen Johnson,
      Buzz Constable & Susan Crane
       SVT's Model MOU for Co-held CRs

2G  Managing Trail Conflicts - John Kowaleski
        Managing Trail Conflicts Presentation

2i    Integrating GIS Resource Analysis Into Landowner Outreach - David Santomenna
        & Vanessa Johnson
       Integrating GIS Resource Analysis  Presentation

2J   Amending Conservation Restrictions: A Last Resort - Jonathan Bockian
        & Robert Levite
       Amending Conservation Restrictions Presentation
      Amending Conservation Restrictions Legal Perspective 

2L  Mergers and Other Collaborations of Land Trusts in Massachusetts 
- Mark Robinson & Kristen DeBoer
       Mergers and other Collaborations of Land Trusts in Massachusetts

3E  How All Land Trusts Can Respond to Climate Change - Bob Wilber, Bob O'Connor & Andy Finton
       Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report

3F  Low Cost GIS for Land Trusts: Discounted and Open Source Software & Mapping Tools - Matthew

      Mayo, Jeff Collins & Vin Antil
       Low Cost GIS for Land Trusts

3H  The Basics of Planning & Funding Land Conservation - Christa Collins, 
       Susan Crane & Narain Schroeder
       Sample Due Diligence Policy

3I    Legal Roundtable - Buzz Constable, Irene Del Bono, Robert Levite, Kathleen
       O'Donnell, & Greg Peterson
       Voluntary Dissolution of a Public Charity

3K   Strategic Conservation Planning for Land Trusts in Hard Times - Ole Amundsen
       Strategic Conservation Planning for Land Trusts in Hard Times