Ways to Protect your Land: Donate a Nature Reserve

John Osland lived on his island property for 62 years.  He loved walking among his big firs and cared deeply for the nature that surrounded him.  But he worried about what would happen to his land when he was gone.  That's why John gave his property to the Islands Trust Conservancy in his will, to be protected as a nature reserve after he was gone.  John's legacy today is a permanently protected place where the forest can continue to grow and visitors can immerse themselves in nature. 

If you have land with important ecological values, gifting your land to the Islands Trust Conservancy protects those values forever.  Your donation would provide a sanctuary for native species, and be a legacy for generations to come. 

As your regional land trust, the Islands Trust Conservancy is able to accept gifts of land.  We work closely with our land donors to create a plan for the nature reserve that meets their vision for the future.  We permanently protect land gifted to us as nature reserves or sanctuaries.

Benefits to you

Donating your land for conservation first and foremost gives you the peace of mind knowing the land you've cared for and the plants and animals you've provided a home to are safe forever.  Islands Trust Conservancy nature reserves are protected forever.  The land you love will never be lost to development.

A donation of land may provide tax benefits to you or your estate.  The Islands Trust Conservancy is a qualified donee able to issue tax receipts for the appraised value of your donation for income tax purposes.  If you donate a property with significant ecological value, you may be eligible for additional capital gains tax exemptions through the Ecological Gifts Program.  We recommend you seek independent financial advice to explore the ways a donation of land will benefit your particular circumstances.

How we care for your land

The Islands Trust Conservancy is respected in the conservation community as a leader in property management.  Our promise to protect your property in perpetuity includes ensuring the ecological integrity of your protected area is never lost.  We regularly monitor our properties and carry out management planning, species at-risk protection, and invasive species removal when needed.  We work to ensure your legacy remains as vibrant and healthy as the day you entrusted it to us.  Read more about how we care for our protected places.

Ways to create a nature reserve

These are some of the ways a gift of land might fit your particular circumstances:

Fee-simple donation
An outright donation of ecologically-significant land is the simplest way you can leave a legacy of a nature reserve.  A fee-simple donation is a straight transfer of title to the Islands Trust Conservancy board.  In most cases, you will be eligible for a tax receipt for the appraised value of the land.

Donation of a subdivided lot
By using Section 99 of the Land Title Act, we can help you subdivide the natural portion of your property from the remainder of the property you live on, to be donated as a nature reserve, without going through the usual subdivision approval process and associated costs.  Using Section 99, you can decide exactly what part of the land you want to donate, regardless of the minimum lot size set out by zoning.  Subdividing for nature allows you to reduce your property taxes while ensuring the newly created lot is never developed.

Life Estate
By donating a life estate, you can give your property to the Islands Trust Conservancy while retaining the right to live there for the rest of your life.  Once you no longer live on the property, the land will transfer to the Islands Trust Conservancy and it will be protected as a nature reserve.  The tax benefits of a life estate are immediate, but the value of that benefit will be affected by the length of time you will remain on the property.

A bequest is an outright donation of land, but delayed until the end of your life.  You can make a bequest of land by specifying in your will that your land be transferred to the Islands Trust Conservancy board upon your death.  In most cases, your estate will be eligible for a tax receipt for the appraised value of the land.  Before designating the Islands Trust Conservancy board as the beneficiary of your will, we recommend you speak to staff to make sure the Islands Trust Conservancy is able to protect your land as you envision.

Bargain Sale
You may wish to see your land protected as a nature reserve, but can't necessarily afford to donate your property outright.  If your property meets our target biodiversity values and if the Islands Trust Conservancy has the capacity to fundraise to cover the cost, we may be able to purchase your property at a price that is lower than the full market value.  A bargain sale helps you realize your dream of creating a legacy while giving you cash to meet your needs.  If your sale price is less than 80% of the appraised value, you may receive a tax receipt for the difference through the Ecological Gifts Program.

Talk to us

We'd love to talk to you about your vision for your land and to discuss options that meet that vision and your financial goals.

Kate Emmings
Manager, Islands Trust Conservancy

We recommend anyone contemplating donating land also talk with independent financial and legal advisors.  If your advisor is not familiar with an option we describe here, we would be happy to provide additional information.

Page last updated: 22/01/21
Copyright © The Island Trust Conservancy.     The Islands Trust Conservancy is a qualified donee under the Income Tax Act. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.