The community has said that it wants to preserve the Carp Hills. People want to continue to engage in the recreational activities that they have historically enjoyed in this large, natural area such as skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, and hiking. They also want its ecologically significant environment protected to provide a healthy, integrated habitat for its animals and plants.
We want to offer landowners and people in the community some options that allow them to support and contribute to preserving the Carp Hills. These options are for those who are interested. They do not affect or change municipal zoning or existing ANSI designations.
Options for Landowners
Preserving the wilderness experience and environment of the Carp Hills requires keeping a large and connected area in a natural state. Since most of the land in the Carp Hills is privately owned, landowners need to play a role in the preservation initiative.
For those landowners who want to preserve and protect their land for the future, the Friends of the Carp Hills have partnered with both Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) to offer several conservation options.
DUC is national organization dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and other natural spaces for waterfowl, wildlife, and people. MMLT is a local, non-profit, private, registered charity organization that currently administers over 2600 acres of land in their mandate area, which includes the western part of Ottawa (primarily West Carleton), the Lower Madawaska watershed, and the Mississippi River watershed.
MMLT has created a brochure to outline landowner options: Thinking of Conserving Your Land in the Carp Hills?(PDF). It describes how the MMLT selects properties to administer and specifies different mechanisms for conservation.
There are two main options for landowners:
- Conservation Easement – This is a legal document that places landowner-specified restrictions on title that bind all future owners in perpetuity. The landowner can continue to live on and/or enjoy the land, and can sell it or bequeath it as with any other owned land. MMLT is required to monitor the use of the land to ensure that the restrictions are followed by current and future owners.
- Land Donation – The landowner donates or bequeaths the property to the MMLT and can stipulate how the land must be managed. The MMLT takes on all costs associated with the land and administers its use in accordance with the donor’s wishes.
If the land qualifies as ecologically significant, then under Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, the landowner will be eligible for tax advantages related to the value “donated” for both conservation easements and land donations, which can include elimination of capital gains taxes and charitable donation tax credits. Two documents worth reviewing are:
MMLT’s Carp Hills Opportunity Fund
For those who want to contribute to preservation in the Carp Hills, but don’t own land or have land that does not qualify, you can make a donation in cash. securities, bequests, or “trader land” to the Carp Hills Opportunity Fund (CHOF), which is administered by MMLT. This is a charitable fund used for any costs directly linked to the acquisition or donation of land or to the establishment of conservation easements in the Carp Hills.
A landowner can also offer “trader land”, which is donated to MMLT and then sold to provide funds for Carp Hills properties.
Donations to the CHOF qualify for a charitable tax receipt.