WHO WE ARE
The Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust is a registered charity that protects ecologically important land on and near the Oak Ridges Moraine through donations, conservation easements and purchases.
If you have land you love on, or near, the Oak Ridges Moraine, we can help you protect it forever.
The Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust is your Land Trust.
One of Ontario’s most important landforms, the Moraine extends 160km from the Niagara Escarpment in the west, to the Trent River system in the east. It is so important to protect land on the Moraine before our cherished natural areas are lost forever. We work with landowners who know how important these spaces are, and why they need protecting. Working with landowners such as yourself, we have protected 5,269 acres of greenspace on or near the Oak Ridges Moraine, but we need to protect more.
What is a Land Trust?
Land Trusts are charitable organizations committed to protecting lands with ecological, scenic, historical, agricultural and recreational values. The Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust’s focus is to conserve the biological and cultural values of each property and sustain the ecological services that they provide. We work with willing landowners who own and steward their environmentally sensitive lands on the Oak Ridges Moraine and Greenbelt areas.
Land Protection and Stewardship
Our land trust’s mission is to ensure a healthy ecosystem and natural environment that thrives forever, on and near the Oak Ridges Moraine. Protecting properties is only the first step. After securing a property, the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust will undertake or assist landowners to achieve the most effective stewardship actions to improve the health and overall sustainability of their land, which can involve the control of invasive species, tree planting, or creating habitat for threatened species.
How do We Permanently Protect Land?
The Trust works with landowners to protect land in three main ways; Fee Simple donations, Fee Simple purchases, and Conservation Easement Agreements. Below are details on each.
Fee Simple Acquisition:
With this option, you can donate your land to the Land Trust and the Trust takes over ownership, providing permanent protection. In some cases, the Land Trust will consider land purchase, buying the land from the owner to protect it. In either case, our focus is to protect environmentally sensitive lands. There are various options that could include the landowner retaining the residential and/or agricultural areas on their land by allowable municipal severance of the environmental lands. The landowner has the option of donating the ecologically valuable portion of their land and selling or retaining the remaining portion.
Conservation Easement Agreements:
A Conservation Easement Agreement (CEA) is a donation of certain “rights” to the property while the resident maintains ownership. For example, one of the most common restrictions (rules) in every CEA is to not allow development on the environmentally sensitive lands of the property. The Trust works with landowners to determine the conditions and restrictions to be included into the CEA. Once everyone agrees, the CEA is finalized and registered in title. The land trust will annually monitor the lands to ensure the CEA conditions are being upheld and to assess the status of the land’s ecologically important features. Conservation Easements are an effective way to protect the natural features on your land forever.
WHEN REGISTERING A CONSERVATION AGREEMENT WITH THE LAND TRUST:
You retain ownership of your property while protecting the natural features.
You continue to use your property in the same manner (as a working farm, estate home, wetlands, forest).
You realize Capital Gains Tax Exemptions.
There may be considerable Estate Tax Benefits.
You may see reduced Property Tax
You don’t give up possible Future Severance for a Home (if allowable under the CEA and current zoning).
Your private lands are not accessible to the public.
Tax Benefits to the Donor
Our land trust is registered as a charity and is approved as a qualified, eligible recipient to receive eco-gifts under the Ecological Gifts Program with Environment Canada. Under this program, your donation of land, or a CEA means you can receive an income tax relief up to 10 years and a capital gains exemption on the disposition of the lands. We understand that each property is different, and each owner’s financial situation is different. We have the experience gained from many transactions with landowners just like you to guide you through a tailored process to meet your specific needs.
Fun fact: Did you know that over 40% of the land the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust protects is agricultural? We understand that the land from which we grow our food and graze our animals is important to protect too. When you protect your property, you keep the use of your agricultural lands while knowing that they will retain their important purposes in perpetuity.
To introduce our organization, we have enclosed a brief fact sheet/flyer showing how we have worked with landowners across the Moraine to protect land. We are not a government funded organization, but we do often work in conjunction with various partners to realize common goals to protect land
We acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples have had and continue to have presence and deep connection with the lands on and near the Oak Ridges Moraine, a part of what is known to the Indigenous Peoples of North America as Turtle Island.
These lands are the territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Chippewas of Georgina Island, Rama, and Beausoleil, and of the Mississaugas of Alderville, Curve Lake, Hiawatha, and Scugog Island – the First Nations of the Williams Treaties. We would like to thank them, and other Indigenous Peoples, for sharing this land with us.
Indigenous Peoples have been subjected to colonial oppression and injustice which continues to this day.
The Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust acknowledges that the first step to reconciliation is recognizing Indigenous Peoples and their inherent rights to the land, which will ensure that we are creating a better future by strengthening our relationship with them and the land.
Our Land Trust endeavours to honour the land and its treaties by ensuring healthy ecosystems that thrive forever.
We recognize that working together with Indigenous Peoples to include ecological traditional knowledge systems moves us towards an equitable and sustainable future.
Things you can do:
Read the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Speak up about racism and injustice, support Indigenous businesses