What is the Cragsmoor Conservancy?

The Cragsmoor Conservancy is Cragsmoor’s local land trust, a volunteer not-for-profit organization.It works creatively with the community to preserve the distinctive natural and cultural resources of Cragsmoor.


How does it do that?


In several ways.First, the Conservancy acquires “conservation easements” on properties, which allow landowners to protect some or all of their property from future development withoutgiving up ownership.  They can continue to live on and use their land, and they retain the right to sell it, or to pass it on to their heirs.Easements can be structured to meet the specific wishes of the landowners, designating what uses the land can and cannot be put to in perpetuity, since future owners will be bound by the terms of the easement.  Possible designations include wildlife habitats, camping or recreational space, fishing, hunting or hiking preserves, farming use, maintaining the architectural integrity of existing and future structures, or whatever terms fit the individual owner’s needs and desires.Second, landowners can give or sell properties to the Conservancy on the understanding that they will be forever preserved in a natural state, an architecturally appropriate condition, or according to whatever the owner’s wishes may be.


Why should a landowner transfer property or a give a conservation easement to the Cragsmoor Conservancy?

First and foremost, to protect the qualities of the land that the landowner loves.  By transferring property or granting an easement to the Conservancy, the landowner can rest assured that those qualities will be maintained forever.Second, because the Cragsmoor Conservancy is registered as a Section 501(c)(3) organization, the landowner may receive significant financial benefits in the form of Income Tax Deductions, and/or a lowering of his or her property taxes.Third, the entire Cragsmoor community benefits, because Cragsmoor is being preserved and protected.  Even those who don’t live in Cragsmoor benefit, as our work helps preserve the beautiful scenic views of Cragsmoor visible from other areas


What is at risk if Cragsmoor property is not protected? 

There are currently several hundred acres of land in Cragsmoor considered to be “in play,” i.e., at risk of being developed, including XX parcels of at least XX acres each.  Under current zoning laws, development of these parcels could add hundreds of houses to Cragsmoor, irrevocably changing the nature of our community.  Increased development would also mean an increase in noise and traffic, and a drain on Cragsmoor’s limited water supply.


What is the difference between the Cragsmoor Conservancy and the Cragsmoor Association? 

The Conservancy began as an off-shoot of the Association and shares its overall goals, but the Conservancy is the only Cragsmoor organization that has as its sole purpose holding  and managing property and conservation easements.  For this reason, the Conservancy is qualified to receive tax-deductible donations of conservation easements or title to land, something the Association cannot do.


How can I support the Conservancy? 

You can become a a member of the Conservancy by paying the annual tax-deductible dues  at a basic level of $20, and you can make additional tax-deducible donations to support the Conservancy’s work.  You can consider donating land or a conservation easement to protect your property forever. And you can talk to your neighbors about our community and how to protect it.


What are my dues and charitable donations used for? 

When the Conservancy receives property and/or conservation easements, it takes on the responsibility of maintaining them.  This requires annual monitoring (including surveillance, photographic documentation and mapping) to make sure that each property is being preserved and maintained according to the terms laid down by the owner.  It also requires erecting signs to inform the public of the designated uses of the property.  And when the Conservancy owns a piece of land outright, it must pay the property taxes.Also, the Conservancy maintains a program of public education and outreach, including publications, mailings and Internet communications.  The Conservancy can only protect Cragsmoor if the community and individual property owners know about the organization and how it operates.Dues and donations go toward supporting this work.



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