Westford Conservation Trust

Frequently Asked Questions

Why a Conservation Trust?
Who manages the Trust?
Why would someone make a gift to the Conservation Trust?
Where does the money come from to operate the Trust?
Do other towns have Trusts?
Are gifts to the Trust tax deductible?
Does the Trust have any official connection with the Town Conservation Commission?
Does the Trust interfere with building development in Westford?
Can restrictions be placed on land donated or sold to the Trust?



Why a Conservation Trust?
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The purpose of the Trust is to:

  • Preserve open land, water resources, wildlife and other natural resources.
  • Establish trails.
  • Preserve and protect historic sites.
  • Educate the public about use of natural resources.
Who manages the Trust?
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The Trust is managed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership. The Directors volunteer their services.

Why would someone make a gift to the Conservation Trust?
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  1. Some individuals prefer not to make gifts to political or governmental entities. Gifts can be made to a trust with assurance that land so given will not fall under government control, yet will benefit the town of Westford.
  2. A landowner, recognizing the advantages of a tax deductible gift to the Trust, might wish to donate a portion of his land to the Trust.
  3. A resident owning a substantial property might be willing to give or sell his land and buildings, provided he could continue to reside in his home for a specified period of time.
  4. An individual could donate land or securities directly to the Trust and realize maximum tax benefits based on current market values instead of selling, paying capital gains taxes, and then donating the proceeds. Both the individual and the Town would benefit.
  5. An individual might wish to donate land as a memorial to a deceased loved one.
Where does the money come from to operate the Trust?
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The Trust provides all residents an opportunity to contribute to the future of our community. The Trust will receive funds from the following sources:

  1. Membership dues,
  2. Borrowing for specific acquisitions
  3. Bequests
  4. Fund-raising activities
  5. Gifts of money or land.
The Trust is building a reserve of working capital through gifts and bequests to provide the resources needed to act swiftly and with flexibility.

Do other towns have Trusts?
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Yes! Nearby towns with trusts include Acton, Bolton, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dunstable, Groton, Harvard, Lincoln, Littleton, and Stow (links). Each serves its individual town by providing capabilities and performing functions not provided by the town or its departments.

Are gifts to the Trust tax deductible?
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Yes. The Trust is a tax exempt corporation. All gifts are tax deductible.

Does the Trust have any official connection with the Town Conservation Commission?
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No. The sole responsibility for the management of the Trust rests with the Directors elected by the membership. It is the intent of the Trust to work in close cooperation with all Town boards, the Conservation Commission and Planning Board in particular.

Does the Trust interfere with building development in Westford?
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No. Westford will continue to be developed, but every reasonable effort is made by the Trust to assist in town planning so as to retain an intelligent balance between development and open space preservation.

Can restrictions be placed on land donated or sold to the Trust?
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Yes. Reasonable restrictions may be accepted by the Trust. For example, an owner could stipulate that the land not be sold. Restrictions as to use of land can be made a part of the terms covering the transfer. For example, an owner could stipulate that the land not provide public access.



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