Start a Land Trust

Snake Island KFLA 1

Photo Credit: Land Conservancy of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington



Before you Start – First Things First

What kind of land trust you want to be? Which Land Trust activities do you want your land trust to do? Create a community process to draft a purpose/mission statement. That way, you will get the wider community buy-in for your goals.

Where will the resources needed (financial, human, community) for these activities come from? Become familiar with the Standards and Practices for Land Trusts (on the OLTA Website), and be aware that you should have the resources to meet these standards in the future.

OLTA has also created a Land Trust Starter Kit, a complete resource that helps guide interested groups through the process of initiating a new land trust in their community.

Incorporation – The Legal Stuff

Consider the statement of purpose in the context of CRA regulations for charitable organizations. These are available at the CRA Website

Make decisions about membership and management

  • Membership organization which elects the board
  • Size of Board of Directors

Next steps – You’re there!

  • Join the Ontario Land Trust Alliance
  • Make application to CRA for charitable status (Now you can issue tax receipts for donations).
  • Consider Incorporating
  • Build a strong organization with a shared vision, community support, a complete skill set, and lots of money.
  • Complete your first conservation project
  • Celebrate at your first AGM!


  • Fundraising for an operating budget, land acquisition, stewardship activities, and an endowment fund for continuing stewardship of lands in trust
  • Membership and community support with fundraising , volunteers and partnerships
  • Public education about issues related to conservation and land stewardship
  • Partnerships with other organizations including funders, government, and other community organizations
  • Land Acquisition through donation or purchase
  • Land protection through ownership, conservation covenants, or voluntary agreements with landowners
  • Negotiating, writing and holding conservation covenants
  • Management of land held in trust
  • Supervising, monitoring, and ensuring compliance forever
  • Record keeping – land trust activities create mounds of information