Land Management Functions
In addition to helping landowners establish conservation easements, and continuing our land preservation advocacy, the Clear Creek Land Conservancy has a major land and resource management responsibility. The Conservancy owns acres in fee simple and oversees acres of conservation easements. CCLC must meet or exceed the management guidelines required by its Colorado certification and those set by the National Coalition of Land Trusts. Much of our Board of Directors’ volunteer time and that of our part-time paid Staff is spent on these land management functions.
Our Easement Monitoring Committee
CCLC volunteers or staff, or both, in conjunction with landowners, formally inspect each of the conservation easements we hold once each year to insure that the restrictions imposed in the easement are being met. While on the site, inspectors note the general condition of the land, monitoring long term changes. We look for problems, such as increases in invasive weeds, encroachment by neighboring landowners or their livestock, changes in use, improvements, etc. A report is prepared and filed and any recommendations are passed to the landowner for implementation. The inspections are organized and carried out by our Easement Monitoring Committee, currently chaired by Director Jim Meuer, who coordinates volunteers and oversees records. If you would like to volunteer, here’s how to Get Involved.
Property Taxes and the Unexpected Expense
The land CCLC owns in fee generates significant management responsibilities for the Board of Directors as well. CCLC maintains liability insurance for its lands and partially supports a caretaker, who lives in a CCLC-owned cabin in the midst of its holdings. Board members visit the CCLC-owned parcels several time each year to monitor their condition and to take any management actions necessary. Although most CCLC-owned lands are not subject to property tax, CCLC does pay property taxes on some parcels that are surrounded by private property and do not have public access. In addition, as every landowner knows, special problems and unexpected expenses associated with the land are always cropping up.
The Responsibilities of a Non-Profit Corporation
CCLC is a non-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) charity and must meet all the paperwork requirements of that status with the State of Colorado. CCLC has an accounting consultant who keeps track of its income and expenditures and who prepares its annual tax documents. CCLC submits an annual report and pays an annual fee to the State of Colorado to maintain its certification as an official land trust. In the past these activities have been the responsibility of the President of the Board of Directors, but CCLC has recently hired a part-time executive director, Maggie Korey, who will take on most of these routine duties. As CCLC gains more conservation easements over the years, its management responsibilities will grow accordingly.