What is a land trust?
A land trust is a nonprofit organization that, as all
or part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by undertaking
direct land transactions—primarily the purchase or acceptance
of donations of land or conservation easements. Most serve a community,
region, or state, although a few work nationally. Saratoga PLAN primarily
serves Saratoga County and neighboring communities.
What is a conservation easement?
A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and
a conservation organization or government agency that limits a property’s uses in
order to protect its conservation values. A conservation easement offers
It leaves the property in the ownership of the landowner,
who may continue to live on it, sell it, or pass it on to heirs.
Private land subject to a conservation easement contributes to the local
property tax rolls.
It can significantly lower estate taxes for the landowner’s
It is flexible, and can be written to meet the particular needs
of the landowner while protecting the property’s resources.
It is permanent, remaining in force when the land changes hands. A land
trust or government agency ensures the terms of the easement are followed.
Why the name Saratoga PLAN?
PLAN stands for “preserving land and nature”. The name of
the new organization represents our overall mission. We are a land trust,
which employs a variety of tools to protect lands, such as acquiring
land for nature preserves or holding conservation easements on land to
limit development. We are also committed to education and outreach on
land use planning and financing methods for conservation. Our area of
interest is the “ Saratoga Region”. We seek to partner with
communities, organizations and individuals throughout our county to find
innovative and traditional ways to guide development, reduce sprawl,
and protect the inherent natural qualities of the region. To us that
means helping to keep agriculture strong, building vibrant main streets
and downtowns, protecting “special places” and view sheds
as well as linking recreational resources across municipal boundaries.
That means PLANNING along with PRESERVING LAND AND NATURE.
is Saratoga PLAN funded?
Saratoga PLAN is funded through private donations from individual
supporters (48%), foundation grants (16%), and public grants and
We currently have over 900 members who contribute time, make donations,
and attend our fundraising events in support of our programs each
year. In 2004, substantial government funding was provided by the Saratoga
County Industrial Development Authority to hire a staff person to
the Old Saratoga on the Hudson Program. We also received funding
in support of our community planning program from the New York State
the Arts, a state agency. In addition, Saratoga PLAN was awarded
a staffing grant in 2004 from the New York State Conservation Partnership,
by the Land Trust Alliance with funding from the State of New York.
A copy of the latest Financial Report and Registration filed by
PLAN may be obtained from our offices, or by contacting the following
Office of the Attorney General
Department of Law, Charities Bureau
120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.
How is Saratoga PLAN governed?
Saratoga PLAN is governed by a Board of Directors. Board members represent
a variety of professions and serve as liaisons to numerous communities
throughout the region. The Board of Directors meets bimonthly and is
guided by formally adopted by-laws. All board members serve on committees
which guide particular programs and areas of operations. The committees
may also include community members who are not serving on the board.
Committees include: land protection, stewardship, planning, outreach
When did Saratoga PLAN get started?
Saratoga PLAN was formed as a merger of the Saratoga Springs Open Space
Project and the Land Trust of the Saratoga Region in July 2003. Both
of the founding organizations started as grassroots volunteer operations
in the late 1980’s. By 2003, both former organizations were
ready to combine operations to create one strong, efficient, and
land conservation organization and community planning advocate for
the Saratoga region.
How does Saratoga PLAN work with communities?
Saratoga PLAN provides a continuum of land planning and conservation
services to organizations and municipal governments working to
improve local communities.
For those communities without comprehensive or open space
plans, we can offer assistance in developing them. For instance, our
on the Hudson program involves the coordination of six municipalities
in the Schuylerville region to develop and implement a Local Waterfront
Revitalization Plan. The Plan will include substantial economic development
potential for the downtown while developing a waterfront park and
trail network and preserving farmland in the surrounding countryside
the potential of sprawl development.
For those communities with comprehensive and open space plans
in place, we can help implement them. For instance, we are currently
assisting the Town of Halfmoon to protect Reilly Ridge Farm in
an area of town identified for conservation values in the town’s
plans. We are also working closely with the Town of Saratoga to implement
farmland protection projects, and with the Town of Clifton Park
protection and management.
We can help communities develop local funding mechanisms,
and seek outside sources of funding for farmland, open space, parks
trail development. Saratoga PLAN has a 15-year track record in securing
substantial public and private grants for local open space initiatives
identified in community plans. And in 2002, we lead the development
and passage of a $5 million bonding referendum for open space in the
of Saratoga Springs.
How can I get involved with Saratoga PLAN?
We need volunteer help in every aspect of our work. Volunteer jobs
range from posting boundaries, to clearing trails, to stuffing
envelopes, to event planning, to research on the internet. We need pro-bono
help in the areas of communications, photography, law, accounting,
information systems, and the natural sciences. If you would like
to volunteer, please let us know by filling out the join/volunteer
I am interested in protecting my land, what should I do next?
Call us! We have staff and advisors experienced in the full range of
land protection methods. As an introduction, the Land Trust Alliance’s
soft-cover book, Conservation Options:
A Landowners Guide is an excellent
resource for those who are thinking about protecting their land.
It offers an introduction to land protection as well as information
the various options for land protection. This book will get you acquainted
with the basics of land protection so that you can protect your land
in the best possible way. Conservation
Options: A Landowner’s
Guide is available for $10.