Case Studies: Areas Including Jackson Hole, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket Island, and the Cheasapeake Bay Region Have Protected Land — And We Can, Too

Barrington is to Chicago what Jackson Hole is to the West and Martha’s Vineyard/Nantucket is to the East Coast. And yet, our community has been slow to embrace the private land protection tools that other similar areas have put into place to permanently protect their land.

To date, land conservancies in Jackson Hole have protected over 20,500 acres with permanent conservation easements. More than 3,200 acres of Martha’s Vineyard and 8,000 acres of Nantucket Island have been protected. Over 16,000 acres of the Chesapeake Bay region are under easement. By contrast, the vitally important Barrington area has only permanently protected less than 1,000 acres of private land.

How have these other areas been so successful at accomplishing their goals? Below are two examples that illustrate the importance of the work we are doing here.

Jackson Hole Land Trust

The Jackson Hole Land Trust was established in 1980 to preserve open space and the scenic, ranching, and wildlife values of Jackson Hole by assisting landowners who wish to protect their land in perpetuity.

Since its founding in 1980, the trust has protected more than 20,500 acres of land on almost 140 private properties. The protected land accounts for some of the most important spawning habitat for trout, winter range for elk, deer and moose, character-defining scenic views and remaining agricultural vestiges in the valley.

Just like BACTrust, the Jackson Hole Land Trust uses
the conservation easement as its primary tool and also has a Conservation Buyer Program that works to match conservation-minded buyers with properties for sale in the area that are worthy of protection.
Like BACTrust, the Jackson Hole Land Trust uses the following strategies to protect private land:

  • • Creates a well-documented baseline assessment of the
    property’s initial condition
    • Contributes to clearly written easements that are enforceable
    by stewardship staff
    • Maintains a constructive relationship with protected
    property owners and the community
    • Monitors the property on an annual basis
    • Serves as a resource for protected-property landowners

 

Nantucket Islands Land Bank and Nantucket
Conservation Foundation

The Nantucket Islands Land Bank, a land conservation program created to protect Nantucket Island, was the first of its kind in the nation. The program was conceived by Nantucket’s Planning Commission, adopted by the voters of Nantucket, and established by a special act of the Massachusetts Legislature in 1983. Approximately 40 percent of Nantucket, a 50-square mile island located 22 miles south of Cape Cod, is protected by private conservation groups, the Town of Nantucket, and the Nantucket Islands Land Bank.

The Land Bank actively competes in the open market to acquire land. Land Bank holdings currently include beaches, wetlands, aquifer recharge areas, moorlands, heathlands, rare species habitat, ocean, pond and harbor frontage, and properties for passive and active recreation. To date the Land Bank has committed more than $154 million to land protection, acquiring over 2,455 acres, with an additional 105 acres permanently protected by conservation restrictions. Land Bank revenue is derived from a 2 percent real estate transfer fee, which is levied against most real estate transfers on the island.

In addition, since 1963 the Nantucket Conservation Foundation has strived to permanently protect many important and beautiful areas of the island through conservation easements. The foundation has protected beaches, hardwood forests, dunes, shrublands, bogs, heathlands, marshes, grasslands, meadows, and ponds that represent over 29 percent of the Island’s total land area — more than 8,700 acres.

These programs are similar to BACTrust’s easement
programs as well as our Saving Our Countryside program, which allows BACTrust to temporarily or permanently acquire property that might otherwise fall into the hands of developers.

BACTrust has worked diligently to bring the private land protection tools and programs to our community that other similar areas have used to protect their areas. As these case studies show, we can be successful in our efforts with your help!

Information for this article provided by the following web sites:
www.jhlandtrust.org, www.nantucketconservation.org,
www.nantucketlandbank.org.

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