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Permanent Land Protection

Deciding how to manage your property into the future requires forethought. An estate planner can help effectively manage your property from the beginning, and ensure that your taxes, contracts and plans for the future are complete and comprehensive. Involving your family in activities on the land and the decision making process can ensure they are as invested in the future of the property as you are. There are several options to consider when planning your legacy. Working with your estate planner or attorney and your forester can ensure you make the best decision for you, your family and your land. Click the following to learn more about what they are: 

  1. Conservation Easements

  2. Fee-title Acquisitions

Below are several options to consider when legacy planning, including a NEW partnership with the Minnesota Land Trust and The Trust for Public Land to help you permanently protect your land. Funding is provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund.


Is your land already protected with a scenic easement?

If you live along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, chances are you may already have an easement on your property, specifically a scenic easement. A scenic easement according to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act means the “right to control the use of land (including air space above land) within authorized boundaries of a component of the wild and scenic river system, for the purpose of protecting the natural qualities of a designated wild, scenic, or recreational river area, but such control shall not affect, without the owner's consent, any regular use exercised prior to the acquisition of the easement.”

St. Croix Watershed Protection Program

Minnesota Land Trust

The Minnesota Land Trust and Wild Rivers Conservancy are looking for willing landowners to participate in the St. Croix Watershed Protection Program, a conservation initiative to permanently protect high quality habitat in Minnesota.

Why Apply?

  • Protect Minnesota’s important wildlife habitat, water quality, and beautiful open spaces

  • Receive tax incentives or other compensation for a permanent conservation easement on your property.

  • Preserve your family’s legacy on the land.

  • Join a community of more than 550 dedicated landowners who steward over 60,000 acres of important Minnesota places.

  • Receive a free habitat management plan, with the potential for financial and technical land management assistance.

Application Requirements 

  • Be located within the St. Croix Watershed Protection Program area (see map). 

  • Be at least 40 acres in size

  • Contain less than 10% cultivation


Easements will be funded in order of assigned priority, considering ecological value and payment per acre. If you are interested, apply online on clicking below, this will take you Minnesota Land Trust's application page. If you have questions, please contact us by filling out your information at the bottom of the page or by emailing


The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land is looking for willing landowners who are interested in fee-title acquisition. Lands with high ecological value, adjacent to public lands and of larger acreage will be prioritized. Lands donated or sold to The Trust for Public Lands will be turned over to the county for public access for the community to enjoy in perpetuity. Contact us for more information!


Conservation Easements

A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement between you and a local land trust or government agency that restricts development on your land in order to protect its natural features. The party who owns the easement will visit periodically, generally on an annual basis, to monitor the land. Conservation easement can be tailored to your specifications depending on who you sell or donate your easement to. Donating can be beneficial since you could potentially claim a tax deduction. With an easement on your property, you will still have ownership over the land and retain the right to use and manage the land in line with the terms of the easement. Some easements can last several decades but most are permanent and will protect the land for future generations, even when sold to a different party. Below are a few examples of conservation easement programs. 

  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)

  • Forest Legacy Program (FLP)

  • Minnesota Forests for the Future

  • Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM)

  • Healthy Forests Reserve Program

  • Nonprofits such as land trusts

Conservation Easement

Fee-Title Acquisitions

Another option is to sell your land to a land trust or government agency. You will no longer retain any rights to your land but will receive up to 100% of the appraised land value with knowledge that your land will be protected for future generations to enjoy. See our St. Croix Watershed Protection Program if you are interested!

Fee Title
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