Gifts & Purchases of Land

Donating Land to TRLC

Donating undeveloped property to Tar River Land Conservancy (TRLC) can be the most straightforward way to permanently protect land for conservation. The TRLC Board of Directors must evaluate any proposed gift of land to ensure that the donation would help achieve one or more conservation objectives, including the protection of water quality, farmland, wildlife habitat, or open space. TRLC accepts gifts of property for conservation only if we can ensure the land’s important natural features will be protected from future development or anticipated land uses changes in the local area.

Gifts of land can result in significant income tax benefits and estate tax savings for the donor. Transfer of ownership of the land to TRLC would relieve the donor of annual property taxes. The charitable donation value of the gift must be determined by a licensed real estate appraiser hired by the donor.

A detailed conservation management plan is prepared for each property donated to TRLC. Depending on the resources found on the property, TRLC may make the property available for scientific study. TRLC may undertake projects on the property to improve its habitat. TRLC may open the property for public access on hiking trails or lead guided tours of the land to educate visitors about land conservation and the goals for preserving the property.

Leaving Land to TRLC in Your Will

A gift of land to Tar River Land Conservancy made through a will allows the donor to retain full and unrestricted use of the land during his or her lifetime while assuring that it will be conserved in the future. While the donor is responsible for real estate and income taxes for income gained from the property during his or her lifetime, removing the land from an estate may reduce the potential estate tax for the heirs.

If you are considering leaving your land to Tar River Land Conservancy in your will, please contact Derek Halberg, Executive Director, at or (919) 496-5902. He would be happy to meet with you to learn more about your planned gift. Tar River Land Conservancy will gladly provide language for your attorney to include in your will to enable this future gift. It is particularly important to meet and discuss your plans with Tar River Land Conservancy if you have specific wishes for the future care of the land.

Selling Land to TRLC

If a landowner is not able to donate a property outright, TRLC may purchase the land under certain circumstances. The TRLC Board of Directors must evaluate any proposed purchase of land to ensure that the transaction will help achieve one or more conservation objectives, including the protection of water quality, farmland, wildlife habitat, or open space.

When TRLC purchases a property outright, an independent real estate appraiser must be hired to determine the current market value of the land. TRLC must purchase a tract of land at or below its current appraised value to fully comply with the Internal Revenue Service’s rules for charitable non-profit organizations. TRLC encourages landowners to agree to sales prices below the current appraised value – a transaction known as a “bargain sale”. In these instances, the landowner may be able to claim the “bargain” amount – the difference between the appraised value and the sales price – as a charitable gift, which can yield income tax benefits for the landowner. All agreements to purchase land are contingent upon TRLC raising adequate funds to cover all costs associated with acquiring and managing the land. In some instances, TRLC may purchase a property that will eventually be transferred to public ownership to be added to local parkland or preserved open space.

Learn about the Steps to Donate Land to TRLC  [PDF]

Learn about the Financial Benefits of Protecting Your Land

Learn about TRLC’s Stewardship of Protected Lands

Contact TRLC to Discuss Conservation of Your Land