Conserve Your Land

The conservation of lands in the 1000 Islands begins with willing landowners who are interested in preserving the natural beauty, diverse wildlife habitats, water quality and outdoor recreation opportunities of the 1000 Islands region. TILT offers various conservation options to meet the goals of the landowner and to provide the right conservation option for you.

You can:

  • Conserve your land while maintaining private ownership
  • Conserve your land by donating it to the Land Trust
  • Conserve your land before selling it
  • Conserve your land through a Bargain Sale

Take a look at the FAQs below for more information. And contact the TILT office if you have questions.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the scope of TILT's service area and conservation lands?

    TILT’s focus area extends from Cape Vincent to the northeastern extent of Morristown. 1.45% of this acreage is TILT fee-owned lands and 1.13% is TILT conservation easements.
    Of the 228,346 acres of land in our River communities, TILT conserves over 9,662 acres or 4.23% (1.85% through conservation easements, which remain on the tax rolls, and 2.38% fee-owned land).

  • What is a Conservation Easement?

    Landowners can conserve their land while maintaining ownership of the land through a Conservation Easement. A Conservation Easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified organization, such as a land trust, that restricts specific activities on the land to protect its conservation values.

    Conservation Easements allow the landowner to maintain ownership of the land while limiting future development. The property can also be sold or passed onto heirs, with the Conservation Easement forever restricting the land as the original landowner planned, ensuring their wishes for conservation in perpetuity.

    Landowners can choose to restrict areas of their land from development, while also setting aside development zones for the future, ensuring a balance between the built environment and the protection of natural resources on the property. Conservation Easements can also ensure future uses on the land as long as they are in agreement with the goals of the Conservation Easement. For example, the cutting of a limited percentage of trees for firewood , as long as it is within the standards for ensuring a healthy forest, can be specified; hunting on the property to continue to manage healthy wildlife populations can also be permitted.

    Each easement is unique to the land it governs. The land trust works with the landowner to develop the easement so that the it conforms to the wishes of the donor and protects the conservation values of the land. Contact the office for more information.

  • Can I Donate my Land to TILT?

    Landowners can also donate lands with conservation value to the land trust. This means they are transferring the whole, unconditional ownership of the land over to a land trust, which will then hold the ownership and care of that land in perpetuity.

    Donations of conservation land have many benefits to the landowner such as beginning a legacy of conservation in the region as well as potential charitable tax implications for such a donation.

    Land trusts will hold this land "in-fee if that is the wish of the donor. The land trust can also resell the property with a Conservation Easement on it to ensure its future protection. Again, this option depends on the donor’s intent for the donation of the property and would be outlined at the time of the donation.

  • Can I conserve my land and still sell it?

    Landowners who want to sell their property and don’t want to see it over-developed can work with TILT staff to also place a Conservation Easement on their land prior to its sale. By placing a Conservation Easement on the property, the landowner is ensuring protection in perpetuity, no matter who owns the land.

  • What is a Bargain Sale?

    A bargain sale occurs when the landowner's property is purchased by the land trust for less than fair market value. This bargain sale provides benefits for both the landowner and the land trust. The landowner can recognize the difference between the fair market value of the property and the purchase price as a charitable donation. The purchase of the land at a bargain price sale makes land acquisition less expensive for the land trust, saving money for additional conservation projects.

  • What are examples of TILT successes?

    TILT’s Signature Preserves are among its most cherished successes. Signature Preserves include the Grindstone Island Preserves & Nature Trail, Crooked Creek Preserve & Macsherry Trail, Zenda Farms Preserve & MacFarlane Trail, Sissy Danforth Rivergate Trail and Otter Creek Preserve & Nature Trail. Signature Preserves are open to the public and offer exceptional hiking, biking and cross country-skiing opportunities that are free of charge. Hunting and trapping are offered through a permit system.

  • Does TILT sell land donated to the organization?

    When a landowner donates land to TILT, the landowner may choose to discuss the possibility of TILT selling the property in the future to raise funds for stewardship, outreach, educational, or other conservation projects. This would be conducted in full accordance with landowner intent and the provisions for the land created by the landowner. All conservation properties sold are protected with a permanent conservation easement.

  • Tell me about TILT's conservation easements.

    Under conservation easements, ownership of the property remains with the landowner, but activities such as development, commercial timber harvesting, and mining can be limited—by the landowner’s voluntary choice—in an effort to protect the character of the landscape. Lands protected by conservation easement remain on the tax rolls. TILT holds 4,000 acres of land in conservation easements.