Preserving Land For Future Generations

An easement often grants a third party, mainly a utility company, limited rights to properties not belonging to them. In North Fork, Colorado, conservation easements do the opposite by preserving the "heaven here on earth," says Kathy Browning.
October 6, 2011, 12pm PDT | David Zeetser
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Many utility companies use eminent domain and easements to run power lines and cable lines in certain areas even if the landowners oppose them. In Colorado, "The word easement doesn't actually mean what we think it does. Most people think of an easement as a right of passage, and in fact it is a right of passage through time for land to stay intact," Susan Lohr said. Conservation easements provide communities with scenic open space by preserving the natural environment.

Even with a Conservation Assistance Program (CAP), there is still a chance your land may be taken away. "An easement doesn't eliminate the potential for eminent domain by the government, but they would have to compensate the family. This is rare and usually it's for a strip of land to widen a highway," says Kathy Browning. Conservation easements also keep land values steady because the land cannot be developed on.

"Over 70 easements have been placed in the North Fork Valley by CAP. That amounts to 8,300 acres that will be preserved," says Kathy Browning.

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Published on Thursday, October 6, 2011 in Delta County Independent
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