The mission of the Kittery Land Trust is to work creatively with landowners, citizens, the Town and neighboring conservation organizations to conserve and steward important natural areas that improve the quality of life in Kittery now and into the future.
The Kittery Land Trust was founded in 1987 by a small group of volunteers who were concerned about the rapid loss of natural areas in town. This was a time when land trusts were being formed all around the country as a result of changes to the IRS tax code. These changes enabled landowners to donate the development rights (also called a conservation easement) on their property to a non-profit land trust, and take a charitable deduction for the diminished value of their property. The growth of the land trust movement has been truly spectacular – there are now over 1700 land trusts in the US that have collectively conserved 37 million acres of land, an area roughly the size of all the New England states combined.
For more than twenty-five years, Kittery Land Trust has provided landowners an economically viable alternative to selling land for development. KLT currently protects nearly 400 acres of land, some through outright ownership and some through conservation easements. This is land that will never be developed and will forever provide habitat for wildlife, protection for water supplies, and quiet places for people to get out and enjoy spectacular woodlands, wetlands and headlands that make our community such a beautiful place to live.
Kittery Land Trust is run almost entirely by the hard work and dedication of volunteers. The lean operating budget is raised through annual donations from roughly 250 members, the Rosamond Thaxter Foundation and Kennebunk Savings Bank and dontations from other individuals, businesses, and foundations. KLT works closely with the Town of Kittery, the Spruce Creek Association, and a coalition of local, state and federal conservation organizations through the regional Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea Conservation Initiative.