Conservation Easement – Landowner, Putnam Blodgett

Putnam Blodgett

OVERVIEW OF THE LAND

670 acres of woodlands in Bradford, VT.

 

TOOLS YOU CAN USE

Put Blodgett and
his family have a long-standing relationship
with their land. Put
bought the land that
he grew up on from
his parents in 1953.
After several years
operating it as dairy
farm, the meadowland
was sold and Put
started a summer
camp, spending long
hours canoeing and
hiking through the woods. Put enrolled his land in the Current Use Program in 1980, which enabled him to resist the fiscal pressure associated with owning land in Vermont and allowed him to hold on to it.

Put considered his land to be his lifetime’s work, and in the mid ‘90s he decided to donate a conservation easement to the Upper Valley Land Trust. He chose the Upper Valley Land Trust because of his close connections with the organization and because he agreed with its stated purpose. This easement ensures that Put could keep using his land for forestry, in compliance with his forest management plan, while restricting further subdivision of the land.

Put also started thinking about what would become of his land after he passed away. His priority was to be fair to his four children, while making sure that the land would be held by one of his children only. In order to share his assets equally among his children, Put placed all of his assets
into a living trust and drafted a will that specified how assets would be distributed. Put’s youngest son recently cleared a site and built his home on the Bradford Tree Farm. The property has been transferred from the Trust
to Blodgett Forests, LLC, a Limited Liability Company. Put is satisfied with his estate planning as he is confident that the structure he set up will prevent chaos and probate court hold-ups.

Lessons Learned

  • Establishing a Limited Liability Company is a good model to ensure ease of transfer of land to the next generation.
  • Utilizing the Use Value Assessment program (Current Use) has been an essential part of making it possible to keep land in forestry and farming.
  • Conservation would be further helped if land under a conservation easement, which is permanent, could be even lower than the assessment of land in Current Use.

Related Tools

Related Case Studies

Resources 

“Landowner Case Studies,” Community Strategies for Vermont’s Forests and Wildlife: A Guide for Local Action. Chapter 8, p. 28-30.    

“Conservation Easements,” Community Strategies for Vermont’s Forests and Wildlife: A Guide for Local Action. Chapter 8, p. 25.

List of Conservation Organizations. List includes land trusts and was compiled by the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.

Please Note: Language used in this summary was adapted from Community Strategies for Vermont’s Forests and Wildlife: A Guide for Local Action, Chapter 8, p. 28.