Join us in our mission to keep land for all to access and enjoy. Landkeeping takes effort: we’re out there clearing trails, building bridges and viewing platforms, and restoring native habitat. Join us in our efforts to keep land for all.
Your donations keep acres green, build trails, and give us time to focus on new lands and exciting initiatives like the Berkshire High Road. Every little bit counts when it comes to landkeeping. We think preserving land for all is important. We hope you do too.
Volunteers help keep us moving and shaking. Whether you want to get out on the trail or have a few hours to help us in the office, we welcome you! Check out our volunteer opportunities.
Make the Gift of a Lifetime
A bequest made through a will is the most important gift that most people will ever make. Bequests can be large or small. They’re not just for rich people. You can leave cash, securities, or even land and real estate by bequest. Bequests will help conserve land, build trails, and care for the Berkshires forever.
Interested in a land bequest? We look forward to speaking with you. We can be reached at 413-499-0596. Meantime, please see our handy Landkeeper FAQ’s below.
Do you or a family member own land that you love just the way it is? Does it make your stomach churn to think that the land your family’s owned for generations might turn into someone’s dream of a subdivision or gated community? The Council has worked with over 400 families who feel just like you do.
With the support of our donors, we’ve helped them find custom-tailored solutions that address their family’s financial goals AND their hope to give back to a community they love by leaving a legacy of nature.
How do I get started?
Give us a call at 413-499-0596. We are happy to hear from you. All queries are confidential. There’s no charge, and unless we mutually agree to enter a contract together, there’s no obligation to move ahead.
Will this cost me anything?
The Council does not charge any fees for working with landowners. Depending on the circumstances, you may incur some costs for outside professional services like appraisers, surveyors, lawyers, and tax counselors, but we’ll discuss these with you at the outset so you’re not blindsided. The Council may also ask you for an endowment in some situations to cover costs, but again, we will discuss this with you up front. You will not be pressured into any transaction that is not right for you and your family.
Do I need a lawyer?
Yes. And you may need a tax advisor too. Not right away, but eventually. The Council can do a tremendous amount of legwork at no charge to carry out your Landkeeping goals. But we aren’t lawyers and we don’t represent your interests. We urge every landowner we work with to review their decisions with their own advisers before taking final actions.
Do I have to give up my land to keep it conserved?
No. Conservation restrictions are a time-tested tool used by tens of thousands of landowners across the country to maintain ownership while guaranteeing it will remain conserved forever. These agreements, which are also known as “conservation easements,” run with the land in perpetuity, through every change in ownership. You can keep your land and pass it to your kids, or you can sell it or give it to anyone you please, but the restrictions remain in place.
Will you pay me for my land?
Maybe. The answer to this is very case-specific. It all depends on the nature of your property, its location, how it fits into the Council’s criteria and long-term goals, and availability of funding.
We have money for land purchases, but it’s not a bottomless account. We have worked with hundreds of families who want to conserve their land, but can’t afford to give it away. If you need money for your land, we’ll tell you whether we’ll be able to bring anything to the table. If we can’t, we’ll tell you that too. Either way, we won’t drag our feet.
How do I know the Council is the right group to work with?
It’s always your choice, but we can help you work through the question. We want you to find the fit that works best for you and your land. We often refer families to another one of the private land conservation groups or a state agency. And in many cases, we’ll stick with you as facilitators to help you through the process, even if the land will go to a different group or agency.
How long does this process take?
If you have time pressures, let us know right away. We’ll try to make it work – and we’ll tell you if we can’t. In general, a simple project that doesn’t involve money might take two or three months from start to finish. But it’s more likely that you’ll need some patience, especially if the deal needs state money or approvals. Estimating timelines upfront is part of the job we’ll do for you. Here’s a general rule of thumb: If you need to have something done by the end of year, call us before the Fourth of July. Don’t wait until the family gets together at Thanksgiving!
What else should I know?
We could go on forever. Bottom line: We do our best to help landowners meet their goals. Those goals might be financial, or strategic, or emotional. They might be your goals alone, or goals you share with many generations of your family. Your decisions about keeping land conserved mean a lot to the Berkshires, and even more to your family. We’re here to help.