Conserve Or Gift Your Land

Whatcom Land Trust works with willing landowners who want to conserve their property’s special conservation features and preserve Whatcom County’s diverse natural heritage including wildlife habitat, wetlands and streams, shorelines, parks, and working farms and forests. Discover the landowner resources you can use to protect and conserve your land.

Whatcom Land Trust uses two main methods to secure interest in land: Conservation Easements and Land Ownership.

Conservation Easement

A conservation easement is a legal agreement with landowners that protect conservation values unique to each property forever. Each conservation easement is specifically tailored to address the needs and desires of the landowner, and to protect the identified conservation values of the land. The easement is recorded with the title to the property, ensuring protection forever since all future owners will be subject to the easement’s restrictions. The land trust does not own the land under a conservation easement; however, the long-term role of the Trust is to assume the responsibility and legal right to enforce the terms of the agreement forever. The land trust usually asks for a tax-deductible contribution from the easement donor to its stewardship fund to offset the cost of future expenses.

Donate your land

Whatcom Land Trust sometimes conserves land by owning it outright and becoming the perpetual steward of the land. Landowners may donate the property, or in special cases, sell the title and all rights and interests to the land trust for fair market value. The land trust retains the land for conservation purposes and is responsible for managing it into the future. Generally, the land trust acquires fee title ownership of properties with significant wildlife habitat and creates nature preserves, while conservation easements are used to protect working landscapes, owner occupied lands, or recreation lands. Before the land trust acquires a property, the project must meet the trust’s evaluation criteria and be approved by its board of directors.


There may be income and property tax benefits for donating land, donating a conservation easement, or selling the property as a “bargain sale” at below market value. The amount and type of tax benefits depends on a variety of factors, including the legal tool you’ve used to protect your land, the value of the donation, your income level and the total amount of your estate. We recommend that you consult with a financial advisor and/or an attorney to fully understand the tax implications.

Conservation Easement Properties for Sale

Find listings of privately owned properties for sale with Conservation Easements held by Whatcom Land Trust. Conservation-minded buyers support the ongoing stewardship of our protected properties!