Conservation Programs

Foothills Land Conservancy is dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the lands and environments of the Southern Appalachian region and promoting the character of the land for the benefit of the general public, now and in the future. Since 1985, FLC has helped individuals and families protect farms, woodlands and open spaces – ranging from more than a 1000 acres of mountain land to a 5 acre donation for a city park. If you own property and are considering preserving it in perpetuity, Foothills can walk you through the options.

To date, FLC’s cumulative land preservation efforts now cover over 120,000 acres within the 7 states of Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.  Foothills now has land preservation partnerships in 44 Tennessee counties. The Foothills Land Conservancy office is located in Rockford, Tennessee. To learn about our most recent land preservation partnerships, click here.

Preservation Methods – Landowners have Options

Conservation easements are the most popular preservation method for landowners. FLC works with landowners who wish to preserve their property in its natural state ‘in perpetuity’  or forever. When a land owner and a land trust decide to move forward with this option, they create a legal contract, called a conservation easement that is valid now and in the future. Both parties work together to ensure the landowners wishes are included, covering allowable land uses as well as prohibited activities on the property. Please contact Bill Clabough, FLC’s Executive Director, at 865-681-8326 with any land preservation inquiries.

All conservation easements coordinated through Foothills are customized, voluntary, approved by a Board of Directors and monitored at least once a year to make sure the landowners wishes specified in the easement are being followed. When landowners donate a conservation easement they maintain ownership and management of their land and can sell or pass the land on to their heirs while foregoing future development rights. They can also decide to bequeath the land to private or public entities.


Additional Options:

Fee Simple Ownership (Land Donation) The landowner grants all property rights, title and interest to the land trust. The land trust owns and manages the land.

Undivided Partial Interests – The landowner grants a shared, percentage ownership in the property to the land trust over several years until the land trust has full ownership. Land trusts will eventually own land, but joint ownership in interim.

Devise  Land is conveyed to land trust at death of the landowner through the landowner’s will.

Remainder Interest/Reserved Life Estate  The landowner conveys the land to the land trust, but continues to live on or use the property until his or her death. “Remainder interest” in property then reverts to land trust.

Bargain Sale – Land or conservation easement is sold to land trust for less than fair market value.

Right of First Refusal – The landowner agrees to grant the land trust the right to meet any bona fide offer to purchase the property.

Lease – Land is leased to a land trust or an individual for a specified period of years. Restrictions are placed on its use during that time period, effectively postponing development.

Deed Restrictions – Terms are placed in the deed to the property that restrict certain uses of the real estate by subsequent owners.

Mutual Covenants – Several landowners mutually agree to restrict their land. May not involve a land trust. Not necessarily permanent or binding on future owners.

Management Agreement – The landowner and the land trust enter into a generally informal contract concerning how the property’s natural resources are to be managed.

Registry Programs – The landowner enters into a legally non-binding agreement to protect the conservation values of his or her land, and the land trust recognizes the arrangement with a certificate, plaque, etc.

Landowner Contact – The land trust notifies the landowner of the unique conservation values of his or her property.


Click here to read about our most recent land preservation projects.

Click here to read about Areas We Protect.

Click here to view our Resources Page.

Click here to make a donation to FLC.

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