We in Warren are fortunate because there is still a lot of open land that can be protected for wildlife habitat or made available for public trails. These properties are primarily in the Touisset area and in the Palmer River watershed. In addition to the WLCT, the Town of Warren owns open space. Town voters have routinely approved open space bonds, which allow Warren to negotiate a purchase when there’s a critical need. Also, a considerable amount of land is protected by conservation easements held by the RI Department of Environmental Management. The map at right shows the unprotected open spaces that currently exist in Warren.
Unlike some other land trusts in Rhode Island, the WLCT lacks sufficient funds to purchase land outright or pay for conservation easements. To increase our holdings, we rely on donations of lands that meet criteria that have been established by our Board. (This is in addition to transfers of “tax title” properties from the Town. The first one – now the Haile Farm Preserve – took place last year, and another transfer is currently under discussion.)
Our second strategy is to facilitate discussion between land owners and the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, a federal agency that has easement programs to protect both farm lands and wetlands. One application was awarded early in 2018 in town under these programs, and two more are under consideration. The end result is that the landowner recoups some financial value and the land is protected in perpetuity.
We invite any interested land owner to contact us to discuss the various options available to them.
And of course, land for lands’ sake does not show the full picture. We are committed to promoting public access to our open spaces, through the development of trails, public outings and special events. Our highest priority currently is trails development at the Haile Farm Preserve in the northern part of town. We will keep everyone informed of our progress on this web site and through our Facebook page. Stay tuned.
Why protect your land?
Typically there are two major reasons to protect your land. The first is knowing that your land will be preserved forever, never to be turned into house lots, commercial buildings, or other development. The land will continue to be the woodland, farm, wetland, or meadow it has always been. The second major reason is financial. There can be significant tax benefits for donated conservation easements in terms of income tax deductions as well as in estate planning.