Why Conserve?

The Franklin Land Trust is a non-profit organization in western Massachusetts that assists farmers and other landowners who want to protect their land from unwanted development. FLT has helped hundreds of families in western Massachusetts to craft conservation plans that address their financial goals, family needs, and conservation vision.

There are several ways to accomplish your conservation goals that provide benefits to your family, your community, and the environment. Most of FLT’s work, however, is realized through either Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) or Conservation Restriction (CR).

FLT helps farmers and other landowners:

  • Identify different options available to them,
  • Decide which strategy is best for their situation,
  • Navigate the process of conserving their land.
  • In many cases, we also assist with financing acquisition and stewardship of conserved properties.

FLT's experienced Land Conservation staff can familiarize you, your family, and your advisors with the conservation options available to help you meet your goals.The Franklin Land Trust has helped hundreds of families realize their dream of leaving a legacy for their families; dozens of farmers reach their potential and grow their family farms; and conserved thousands of acres of scenic and productive land, water resources and critical wildlife habitat.

Forever Farmland Initiative • Larry Shearer from Reelife Productions on Vimeo.
See more Faces of Forever Farmland and learn more about the Forever Farmland Initiative.

Why Conserve Land?

The quality of life we enjoy through our deep connection with the land is not a given. The hills and valleys of our region—with their rivers, forests, farms, sugar bush, rambling old New England roads, and small towns steeped in history—are a unique and precious resource. These assets benefit our health, our economy, and our community.

  • Conserving land around rivers, lakes, and streams ensures we have clean drinking water supplies and helps prevent pollution.
  • Conserving our region’s working farms and woodlands helps preserve Franklin County’s history and rural character, and provides a local source for fresh food and wood products.
  • Permanently conserving farmland ensures that it will be affordable and available for future generations of farmers.
  • Outdoor recreation is part of our way of life. Protecting our natural areas will ensure that we still have places to hike, boat, fish, hunt, see wildlife, or just enjoy the quiet and peace of nature.
  • Preserving natural areas provides a safe place for children to run and play outdoors, and experience nature.
  • Conservation boosts our prosperity by preserving the dirt roads, stone walls, open fields, scenic vistas, and lush forests that attract touristsand contribute to our positive quality of life.

The vast majority of the land that the Franklin Land Trust conserves remains privately owned and managed, but our work ensures that the land will remain in its natural state, providing all these benefits, forever.

Franklin Land Trust has been a leading conservation organization in our community for over 30 years. Let us help you realize your vision for the future of your land.

Getting Started

If you’re interested in learning more about conserving your land, contact FLT today. We will be happy to sit down with you, make a map of your property to assess its conservation value, and discuss your options with you. These conversations are always free, and there is absolutely no obligation to move ahead with conservation. We know this is a weighty decision and we can help walk you through the process. If you decide to move ahead, FLT will help you to draft the CR based upon your needs and concerns for your land, seek the necessary state and local approvals, obtain the required appraisal documenting your gift, and process all necessary legal documents. Although there is no charge for this service, FLT encourages landowners to make a voluntary, tax deductible donation in support of their CR. These funds contribute to our stewardship efforts of monitoring and enforcing your CR in the future.

We also regularly offer educational workshops on estate planning, land conservation, and land management. Check our events page here.

To read more about conserving your land, you can download Your Land, Your Legacy published by UMass Extension.