Conservation Values of Montana Conservation Ranches

Large special properties in the West that have conservation easements on them are a great value. Not only are you buying a rare property that protects wildlife, riparian values, and the landscape from development, but you are also paying less than the current price of the land that does not have an easement on it.

As time goes on and our lives change sometimes these very special Montana conservation ranches are offered for sale. View our properties with conservation easements here.

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About Conservation Easements

A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows landowners to continue to own and use their land, while protecting the property’s scenic, wildlife, agricultural or recreational values. The property owner can still sell the land or pass it on to heirs. The conservation easement is either voluntarily donated or sold by the landowner to the land trust and "runs with the land," meaning that even if the land is inherited or sold the restrictions stay in place.

A conservation easement is negotiated between the landowner and a land trust based in part on the landowner’s vision and priorities, so easements vary in intent and purpose. Easements typically restrict subdivision for residential or commercial activities, dumping of toxic waste, and surface mining. By state law, conservation easements must accomplish at least one of these three conservation purposes: Preservation of open space (including farmland, ranchland and forestland), preservation of a relatively natural habitat for fish, wildlife or plants, or preservation of lands for education or outdoor recreation of the general public.

The landowner who grants a conservation easement continues to privately own and manage the land and may receive significant state and federal tax advantages for having donated and/or sold the conservation easement. Perhaps more importantly, the landowner has contributed to the public good by preserving the conservation values associated with their land for future generations. By removing the land’s development potential, the easement lowers its market value, which in turn lowers estate tax. Whether the easement is donated during life or by will, it can make a critical difference in the heirs’ ability to keep the land intact.

Visit our Preserving Montana page for additional information about land conservation.

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