1. What is a land trust?
A nonprofit organization that actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting in land or easement acquisitions, or by engaging in the stewardship of such land or easements.
2. What is a conservation easement?
A legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified organization, such as a land trust, that restricts future activities on the land to protect its conservation values while also allowing the landowner to continue owning the land.
3. Can a landowner who conserves their land realize tax benefits?
Yes, a landowner who donates a conservation easement or land to a land trust, and meets certain criteria, may realize income tax benefits, property tax benefits and/or estate tax benefits – but a landowner should check with their legal and tax advisors.
4. What is the Aquidneck Land Trust going to do with all that land it owns?
The Aquidneck Land Trust has conserved the vast majority of its lands with conservation easements and therefore these lands are owned by other landowners subject to the terms of the conservation easements and are not fully owned by ALT. However, the Land Trust does own some land such as the Oakland Forest and Meadow Preserve in Portsmouth where it maintains a nature trail for the public.
5. How does the Aquidneck Land Trust steward its conserved properties?
The Aquidneck Land Trust stewards the lands conserved with its conservation easements by doing its best to work in a cooperative and helpful manner with the landowners of these conserved lands thereby forming a stewardship partnership. In addition, the Land Trust monitors all of its conserved lands annually and in some cases more frequently depending on the circumstances.
6. What kind of land does the Aquidneck Land Trust conserve?
The Aquidneck Land Trust works to conserve lands on Aquidneck Island which have conservation values (agricultural values, water resources, wildlife habitat values, scenic vistas and/or outdoor public recreation values) that benefit the community.
7. What activities are allowed on land protected by an Aquidneck Land Trust Conservation Easement?
Every property is unique so therefore every Aquidneck Land Trust Conservation Easement is custom fit to the particular property it protects. One Conservation Easement may allow public access, another may permit the construction of a building in a designated building envelope, while another may allow for agricultural activities.
8. What volunteer opportunities are available?
Volunteers, from our Board of Trustees to our property monitors and special event crews, provide enthusiasm, support and elbow grease to help the Aquidneck Land Trust accomplish its mission. Annual Land Trustfundraisers, such as our summer gala, Fiesta Verde, and our Golf Tournament, rely on large committees and dozens of volunteers who help organize, set up, host and clean up afterwards. Additionally, a large and varied group of volunteers help mail our appeals and invitations to supporters. Others clip and file newspaper articles for the Land Trust archives, and still others host important Land Trust Cultivation Parties at their homes. A number of trained volunteers also help maintain our trails and steward our protected properties.
9. How much of my donation is deductible?
In accordance with IRS regulations, your donation is fully tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law which includes any offsets for goods, services, products or other reciprocal payments provided by the Aquidneck Land Trust. Furthermore, the IRS may require more than a cancelled check, credit card receipt or stock transfer report as evidence that a gift has been made.
10. What happens to the conservation easements that the Aquidneck Land Trust holds if the Land Trust ceases to exist?
The Aquidneck Land Trust has taken a number of steps to help ensure that it will be around in perpetuity to oversee the conservation easements that it has been entrusted with such as building a substantial stewardship endowment fund and legal defense fund, funds which the Land Trust continues to grow through fundraising initiatives. In addition, the Land Trust includes back-up grantee provisions in its conservation easements so that if the Land Trust ceases to exist there is a clear method by which the conservation easements will be transferred to other qualified entities. Furthermore, under Rhode Island law the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has the responsibility to oversee and uphold conservation easements in the event a land trust fails, etc.
11. Where do I park to use the Aquidneck Land Trust’s Sakonnet Greenway Trail?
There are currently two public parking areas for the Sakonnet Greenway Trail. One is on the east side of Mitchell’s Lane, roughly a hundred yards or less south of the entrance to Newport National Golf Course. The second is at The Glen, across from the main trail kiosk, on Linden Lane in Portsmouth. Other public parking areas will be made available in the future.
12. Can I bring my dog with me on the Sakonnet Greenway Trail?
Yes, provided they are leashed.
13. Is the Sakonnet Greenway Trail open to horses?
It is open to horses in places, please see the map at here to determine where it is permitted.
14. Where do I park to use the Aquidneck Land Trust’s nature trail at the Oakland Forest and Meadow Preserve?
A public parking area for the preserve is near the end of Carriage Drive, located off Union Street in Portsmouth.
15. Can I bring my dog with me on the nature trail at the Oakland Forest and Meadow Preserve?
No, the Oakland Forest and Meadow Preserve is not open to dogs.
16. Is the Oakland Forest and Meadow Preserve open to horses?
No, the Oakland Forest and Meadow Preserve is not open to horses.
17. Which endangered species find refuge on land protected by ALT?
ALT protects important wildlife habitats that support species such as the Northern Harrier (State Endangered), Piping Plover (Federally Threatened), Northern Leopard Frog (State Species of Conservation Concern), and Barn Owl (State Endangered).