North Branch Land Trust (NBLT) has recently completed a conservation project in Huntington Mills, Luzerne County. The 210-acre Grajewski farm is a generational family farm dating back to 1917. The farm encompasses active agricultural fields, mixed deciduous forests, ponds, wetlands, and streams which feed a nationally registered wetland. Owned by Bob and Susan Grajewski, the property hosts a high number of native hickory trees and contains known bat habitat. This farm, with its high conservation value, is now protected forever with a Grant of Conservation Easement which is a private, voluntary agreement with a local land trust which permanently limits the uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. Lands placed into conservation easements can continue to be farmed, hunted or used for other specified purposes. The lands also remain on county tax rolls, strengthening local economies.
The Grajewski Conservation Easement comes at an exciting time when major conservation legislation was just passed in Washington which will benefit local land conservation. A bipartisan congressional vote made permanent a federal tax incentive supporting land conservation. Farmers, ranchers, and the public will directly benefit from the incentive which encourages landowners to place a conservation easement on their land to protect important natural, scenic and historic resources.
First enacted as a temporary provision in 2006, the federal tax incentive is directly responsible for conserving more than 2 million acres of America’s natural outdoor heritage. The incentive gives certain tax benefits to landowners who sign a conservation easement. North Branch Land Trust was among the 1,100 land trusts nationwide to support the incentive. NBLT is a member of the Land Trust Alliance, the national land conservation organization that led the campaign for permanence.
“The importance of this vote – and this incentive – cannot be overstated,” said Rand Wentworth, the Land Trust Alliance’s president. “This is the single greatest legislative action in decades to support land conservation. It states, unequivocally, that we as a nation treasure our lands and must conserve their many benefits for all future generations.”
North Branch Land Trust is honored to have worked with Bob and Susan Grajewski to conserve their land in perpetuity. Other landowners interested in conserving their properties and taking advantage of the enhanced easement tax incentive are encouraged to contact North Branch Land Trust at 570-696-5545.
About NORTH BRANCH LAND TRUST
North Branch Land Trust (NBLT) is a non-profit land conservation organization operating since 1993 within Northeastern Pennsylvania and the watershed of the North Branch of the Susquehanna River. The Trust works with private landowners, corporations, local and state governments, and the federal government to permanently protect important natural areas. The Trust prioritizes its conservation efforts utilizing the latest environmental survey data available. Priority areas include critical watershed lands, natural lands that harbor rare and endangered plant and animal species, scenic ridgetops and slopes, and riparian buffer lands that protect streams and rivers from manmade runoff. NBLT has protected over 17,000 acres in the region and carries out its mission strictly with private donations from the community for operational expenses and private and public funding for land acquisition and conservation. More information is available at www.nblt.org