Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Strange Place to Be In (6WS)

We are in the final stages of turning our property
into a land trust, one step at a time. it's incredibly
complicated, and expensive, and permanent.
The language is new, and slowly becoming familiar,
as are the rules, the boundaries, and our own sense
of what we want for the future of this place. The process
has forced us to think about what we see this place
becoming, and how we can best preserve that.

Without ever discussing it in so many words,
we have still both had the same sense of a mutual
goal. That in itself is fairly rare and kinda neat.

In the meantime we've met some good people who
have our interests and theirs at heart, since the land
is what keeps us here and the land is what connects
us to them. We have, in other words, a common
ground.  Literally.

And now that we're approaching the reality of
turning this land over to other people--even though we
will be living here (with any luck) for many years more,
we will be in a role I have always seen us in, as true caretakers
for the land, responsible for following the rules we've set
up for later users. In a way that's difficult. We've always
gone our own way;  now we have to share, and every step
will be toward a common and personal goal.

A strange place, indeed, to be in. On the inside looking
out at ourselves looking back. A kind of moebius mirror.


  1. Land trust, eh? Don't know anything about that, but it certainly does seem Judyish. You rock, JT.

  2. That's a noble endeavor.
    Are you beyond the point of no return?
    What will happen to it if funds dry up for it's support?
    Will it then revert to the STATE? (I would never want the government to end up with my property.)

  3. It's becoming a very large industry (if industry is the right word); the Nature Conservancy, Audubon, are national organizations, and I suspect Vermont has a bundle too. Older people who have a piece of land they've lived on for decades, they love it, but suddenly realize when they die the developers are going to be moving in with backhoes and tar. No.

    Small local Trust organizations will take or buy your land, hold it in trust until you die, and then pass it along to the next like-minded person. We have one, so for at least the next 40 or so years it will stay in the family. We both want this place to stay as it is, surrounded by trees, left alone to grow and change.
    All we have to do is follow our own rules. =)

  4. The support comes from the current landowner, who owns it totally. He pays the property taxes, he mows the fields and keeps the woods roads open, and the only true expense the Land Trust people incur is a fairly light monitoring system when someone from the Trust people come out to make sure the No Hunting Signs are being maintained and that the present owner hasnt decided clear-cutting 20 acres was a better idea.
    It would not revert to the state, perhaps to the town (or two towns, since this property has two connected parcels in two towns)

    In that regard, the next owner could pass this along to his son, and continue the family owned tradition, or sell it to someone with those same restrictions involved. Those are permanent, and the Land Trust people hold the papers on that.

    We've spent the last year learning about wills and trusts and a new language, and what one group will allow and what another rolls their eyes over. Id say we're about three quarters of the way there. By next winter, almost surely.

    New Hampshire is being gobbled up by developers at a terrifying rate--not just housing, but by huge malls, which in some places cover more land than we have.
    Something needs to be done, little pockets of green allowed to be itself. I call it giving back, in some way.

  5. What an interesting post. It makes me quite curious.

  6. curious in what way, ann?

  7. This sounds like a great adventure, I love the concept of becoming caretakers, as in reality that is all we will ever really be of the earth, we don't truly own it or even pieces of it. I'd enjoy hearing more about this as it unfolds!

  8. It is an adventure, Josie. Ive always felt caretaker-like anyway, not wanting to disrupt more than necessary to satisfy what we need to do.

    And the Indians have that same sense; you don't own it, you live on it and with it.

    I'll undoubtedly be commenting from time to time as things near the end stage. Right now we have a surveyor and trust organization working out the final details with us. At this stage it's what we finally can get as opposed to what their own regs and laws can accept. Compromise, compromise.