Driven by our mission “land today, for life tomorrow”, the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy (UPLC) has worked with community partners to conserve ecologically valuable land across Michigan's Upper Peninsula since 1999.
We aim to promote healthy natural ecosystems – including clean water, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities – for generations to come. With the help of volunteers, partnering organizations, and donors like you, we have protected more than 6,500 acres in the Upper Peninsula! Our properties include 9 dedicated Preserves, 25 experimental working forest Reserves, and 26 Conservation Easements with private land owners and partnering organizations. Read through our website to discover more about who we are, what we protect, and opportunities to get involved.
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What is a Land Conservancy?
Land Conservancies, also known as Land Trusts, are nonprofit organizations that actively promote land conservation through direct land transactions such as the purchase of land, acceptance of land donations, or establishment of conservation easements.
What is a Conservation Easement?
A conservation easement (or “conservation restriction”) is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust (or government entity) that permanently restricts certain aspects of land use in order to protect the conservation values of the property. Landowners may either donate or sell a conservation easement. When a landowner places a conservation easement on his or her land, he or she maintains ownership and use of the property and can sell it or pass it on to heirs. The land is subject to certain restrictions agreed upon by the landowner and the land trust. For example, a landowner might agree to limit development on his or her property to one residence of a particular size. Future landowners are bound by these restrictions as well, and the land trust is responsible for monitoring the property and upholding the terms of the easement. Conservation easements have become one of the most commonly used land conservation tools in the country.
Why Protect Land Through a Conservancy?
As private organizations, land trusts can generally act more quickly than government agencies and work more closely with donors and land owners. They are able to negotiate with landowners who may have smaller or unique parcels of critical conservation lands. Additionally, their nonprofit status brings them a variety of tax benefits. Donations to land trusts may qualify donors of land, conservation easements, or money for income, estate, or gift tax savings. As community-based organizations, land trusts draw on community resources, including volunteer time and skills. Their community orientation is also helpful in selecting and negotiating transactions. They are familiar with the land in the area and often have the trust and confidence of local landowners who may not want to work with government agencies or entities from outside the community.
(Source: The Land Trust Alliance. Starting a Land Trust: A Guide to Forming a Land Conservation Organization. Virginia: The Land Trust Alliance, 1990.)
What Does It Mean to Be Nationally Accredited?
The accreditation seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation. It is awarded to eligible land
trusts meeting the highest national standards for excellence and conservation permanence. Through a rigorous review third-party review process, the Land Trust Accreditation Commission verifies a land trust’s compliance with Land Trust Standards and Practices (Standards) by evaluating each organization's policies and activities related to Governance, Finance, Transactions, and Stewardship.