WYOMING, LIKE NO PLACE ON EARTH
A GUIDE BOOK
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This guidebook was made possible by the many dedicated volunteers who contributed to its design, writing, and review. The guidebook was proposed by members of Governor Geringer's Natural Resources Subcabinet in response to the Governor's natural resources partnership meeting. Each of them contributed text and information to this guidebook. Thanks to Gene Bryan, John Baughman, Jeff Fassett, Ron Micheli, Dennis Hemmer, Mike Besson, Jim Magagna, Margaret Spearman, Paul Kruse, Don Christianson, Walt Gasson, Mike Purcell, Larry Kruckenberg, Art Reese, Steve Facciani, Sue Lowry, and especially Grant Stumbough, who supervised the early work.
The University of Wyoming, through both faculty involvement and the Institute for Environment and Natural Resources, contributed hundreds of hours of volunteer time and selected two fine students from the School of Environment and Natural Resources, Matt Denning and James Shockett, to intern on this project and get it off the ground. The Wyoming Community Foundation provided financial support for one of the interns. Many thanks to Bill Gern and Kathy Cuomo for the Institute's involvement and the personal time they devoted, and for bringing the incredible talents of Ann Boelter to this project. This guidebook would still be incomplete (no matter what printing you are reading) without Ann Boelter's extraordinary commitment. No one contributed more. I also wish to acknowledge faculty members Harold Bergman, Gregg Cawley, Steve Gloss, Dennis Knight, Don McLeod and Bruce Richardson for their advice and contributions to the text.
Many Wyoming residents with experience and expertise contributed to the content and editing of this guidebook, including Carol Hamilton, Bob Budd, Dudley Gardner, Dennis Sun, Don Kendall, Nancy Geehan, Diane Harrop, Al Wiederspahn, John Jenkins, Terri Johnston, Liz Howell, Carol Kruse, Tony Malmberg, Stan Flitner, Priscilla Golden, Cindy Adamy and John Talbott. The Wyoming Stockgrower's Association Open Dialogue for Open Spaces Group, chaired by Carol Hamilton, served as the first editorial group. Many thanks to all its committee members, and to other editorial groups, including Wyoming Open Lands, the Wyoming Nature Conservancy, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Steve Thomas of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, John Covert with Colorado Cattlemen's Association and the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service. Matt Jones in the Governor''s Office prepared many early drafts, Patti McNew provided great organizational support and Melinda Brazzale did a fabulous job on the design and layout. Special thanks to Mike Corso, the State of Wyoming Webmaster, for converting this document for use on the Internet. Governor Geringer's commitment to this project made it happen.
By listing these many contributors I know I have omitted several - you know who you are and, though you shall remain unrecognized, hopefully you will find the knowledge you share with Wyoming residents through this guidebook to be personally satisfying. My sincere thanks to all of you on a job well done. May Wyoming reap the benefits for generations to come.
--Cynthia M. Lummis, editor
Jim Geringer, Governor of Wyoming
Photo credit: Rick Carpenter
What is it about Wyoming that draws us so deeply - why do we love this State?
The answers often go something like this: "I like being able to drop my fishing line in a quiet little pond twenty minutes from my house"... "I love to hunt, and this is hunter's paradise"... "It's a great place to raise a family, clean air, good schools"... "I don't even lock my door at night!"... "I feel free here"...
The West used to be wide open, but things have changed for our neighboring states and they are changing for us. The Rocky Mountain West is currently the fastest growing region in the United States. Historically, migration to our western states, including Wyoming, centered on development of the abundant natural resources. These resources enabled Wyoming citizens to develop strong communities and a high quality of life.
Today, the primary human impact on Western land has shifted from resource development to urban development and subdivisions that can reduce and fragment agricultural land and open spaces. Fragmented lands may cause progressive irreversible deterioration to the wildlife, natural resources, economic diversity and culture that define the West. Without the scenic views, agricultural land and wildlife habitat that open spaces provide, quality of life in Wyoming will decline. Rapid growth has created housing booms in the Rocky Mountain states, diminishing our neighbors' most fertile agricultural land, wildlife habitat and open lands. Strip malls destroy grain fields; housing subdivisions replace meadows. It's like paving the pastures of paradise, and Wyoming could be next.
In December of 1995, I hosted a statewide conference on The Wyoming Partnership: Natural Resources for Today and Tomorrow. Conserving Wyoming's open lands and the quality of life they represent were identified as priority issues. In response, this guidebook has been prepared for individuals and communities who wish to understand the importance of preserving open lands and to voluntarily implement various conservation methods.
This guidebook is a working document for landowners and local government officials. Tools are continually under development in legislatures, in the courts, and at the kitchen table. There are no easy answers, and this is not intended to be a comprehensive discussion of all possible solutions. Rather, the goal of this document is to increase awareness of the options available and to provide information about tools to help deal with these issues. You will also find a list of resources and organizations, both public and private, that can assist - often for free - with the implementation of the ideas contained in the guidebook.
Together, we can find solutions. It must be done rancher to rancher, neighbor to neighbor, and
it has to make economic sense. As one Powder River landowner put it, "We've got some decent choices about
our land future. But the trick is to get each of us to look at our options through the windshield, not the rear
view mirror. And to work with one another. That's just good business."
UNIVERSITY, STATE & FEDERAL OPEN LANDS ACTIVITIES
DEFINING OPEN SPACE
Open space means different things to different people. It is our personal relationship with open space that makes it important. Open space may have economic and market value, but it also has social, cultural, and spiritual values. Open space can be defined as follows:
"Open space means different things to different people. It is our personal relationship with open space that makes it important."
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About 49% of the land in Wyoming is federally owned. Approximately 5% of the land is state-owned, and the remaining 46% is privately owned; vast stretches of prairie, forest and mountains are part of our open spaces.
"Private lands may be the single most vulnerable element of open space."
Publicly owned lands generally are managed for prescribed purposes and are not typically sold on the open market. Thus private lands are the main focus for concerns about loss of open space. Private lands contain critical habitats for wintering big game, nesting birds, fish, small mammals, and for domestic livestock. Most of the state's water is found on private lands, and nearly every stream or watercourse traverses private land. Private lands are vital to water quality, riparian and wetland functions, wildlife habitat and migration corridors. Private lands contain the dominant roadside viewsheds, particularly among the large river valleys that characterize Wyoming. As such, the condition of private lands "defines" Wyoming as much as anything and ties directly to the market forces that are making Wyoming popular.
Today, the value of open space attracts many in the business sector to less populated western states like Wyoming. Private land adjacent to public land is especially highly valued for home sites. But without ranches, wildlife, big skies, and seemingly endless expanse of land, the very values which have attracted development will be irretrievably lost.
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FORCES DRIVING RURAL SPRAWL
The trend toward increased rural living and out-migration from more populous states has produced a rate of growth in many western states which exceeds the national average.
Consider the bar graph comparing Wyoming's population growth to that of the United States as a whole and to our neighboring states.
From 1990-1995, the Mountain States exceeded the national rate of growth and grew much faster as a group than did the Plains States. Migration accounted for about two thirds of that increase in the three fastest growing states.
Economic well-being, including flexibility and choice of work locations in many professions, has allowed people to migrate to areas with a perceived higher quality of living. This willingness and ability to relocate has combined with other social and demographic changes to create a strong incentive for private landowners in Wyoming to subdivide their land and accommodate new people while improving their own economic well being. While population growth in Wyoming has been slower than in many surrounding states, rates are beginning to increase here as well. The population in Wyoming increased by 5.9% in 1990-1995 compared to a 3.4% population decline in 1980-1990.
Graph data from the U.S. Bureau of Census
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Several local factors have increased the potential for land sales, subdivision and rural development. These factors include declining revenues from oil and gas and other extractive industries, and cyclical agricultural markets. At the same time, land values are increasing due to the external factors discussed above. These conditions create a difficult situation for some landowners, who may be land rich and cash poor. Selling the land can become attractive when the real estate value exceeds the productive value and regulatory costs of the land.
Graph data from the U.S. Bureau of Census
Taken together, these external and internal forces create an atmosphere that is conducive to land subdivision and rural sprawl. Events which actually trigger the sale and development of open lands may be motivated by profit or economic survival, but are often stimulated by some type of individual or family hardship such as health problems, lack of a retirement income, divorce, or inter-generational tax burdens. Unfortunately, once these factors contribute to helter skelter land subdivision, there is often a domino effect as successive landowners cash in on their land assets. A nearby subdivision may compromise the appeal of maintaining a working ranch and cause other adjacent landowners to consider subdividing their lands when they otherwise may not have considered such actions.
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CONSEQUENCES OF THE LOSS OF OPEN SPACE
Private and Public Benefits of Open Space
Private land owners benefit from the agricultural income, from fees for recreational use such as hunting and fishing, from the privacy of living on a farm or ranch property, from viewing wildlife and undeveloped scenery, and from the real estate investment that may be the owner's retirement fund. The public benefits from and values the view of mountains, open agricultural land, cows and cowboys, sheep and sheepwagons, and wildlife; from free access to public lands, and from reduced congestion. The landowner, however, is seldom able to capture the economic benefit of these public values. This situation reduces the incentive for private landowners to provide open space for public benefit.
"Open spaces benefit both private landowners and the public."
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Costs of Development
Conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses reduces local agricultural output, employment, income and purchases. Housing developments may increase homeowner nuisance complaints against livestock, fertilizer use and other agricultural practices. Development also has indirect effects, such as the introduction of domestic dogs that may prey on or disturb livestock and wildlife. Exotic plants and noxious weeds may spread and replace commercial crops or native plants. Water quantity and quality may be adversely affected.
Public services and infrastructure are required to meet the needs of new arrivals. Local governments need information that allows them to project population changes, the number of public employees who must be hired, and the kind of public facilities needed to serve the changing populations.
For example, The Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the Local Government Center at Montana State University, along with county officials and local ranchers, studied the real economic impacts of different land uses in Gallatin County, Montana. Using simple fiscal analysis, the study showed that "for every dollar residential property pays into local government coffers, it demands $1.47 in direct services. Conversely, agricultural and open space only requires 25 cents in services for every dollar it contributes, commercial land 18 cents and industrial land 7 cents.
The study found that over half of the local government revenues come from property taxes. It might be expected that an increase in the number of residential properties would increase the tax base and therefore increase the revenues for expenditure on improved services and possibly lower taxes at the same time. Nevertheless, according to this study and others, as more farm and range land is subdivided, the tax rates rise and the infrastructure (such as roads, schools and law enforcement) is put under greater burdens. And, local governments may be stressed by the increased demand for direct government services such as public education, road maintenance, law enforcement, noxious weed control, and others.
"In times of rapid growth and consequent strain on local government budgets, elected officials and their staff need information on the public costs associated with private development and other land use changes."
Typical human activities in the West include oil and gas development, timber harvesting, mining, recreation and agriculture. For many of these activities, we have developed ways to either operate at a sustainable level or to follow up with reclamation, recovery and restoration procedures that, over time, result in minimal impact on landscapes. But housing developments are usually permanent. And even if they are abandoned, there are no legal requirements or financial incentives for removing the structures or roads associated with housing developments.
Important wildlife migration corridors, winter range and water provided by agricultural land are disrupted when development occurs. Opportunities to view or hunt wildlife are reduced, with adverse effects on local outfitters, outdoor equipment suppliers, and other businesses.
Development of private lands can reduce access to recreational sites on adjoining public lands, causing increased congestion and overuse at public entry points. Development can diminish the visual quality or aesthetic value associated with undeveloped land. This affects local residents and reduces the tourist appeal of Wyoming communities, which in turn reduces rural employment and income associated with tourism. In some areas, views of open spaces are valued so much that housing developments may have covenants that protect a homeowner's view.
"Fragmentation of landscapes due to housing developments and other forms of human habitation is permanent or almost permanent."
It is inevitable and desirable that growth and development occur in Wyoming. It is important to ensure that these changes represent both economic opportunity and the opportunity to maintain open spaces. This can occur through a combination of creative and thoughtful planning on the part of individual landowners, groups of landowners working together, landowners working with the public or with private organizations, or by public decision-making. The next two sections of this document describe tools available for these efforts, and needs for development of additional tools and information.
"These permanent alterations to open spaces result in the loss of the agricultural capacity and rural character of these lands, wildlife habitat, and scenic vistas."
Over the long term, Wyoming's open spaces and associated quality of life represent our single greatest renewable and sustainable financial resource. We need to work together to maintain this resource; almost every other state in this country wishes it had, and for many of them, it is too late. Please see Map
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"The first set of tools is for the use of private landowners primarily, with some opportunities for use by a combination of private parties and local government."
What follows is a short summary of some of the tools a landowner can use to either plan for development or to prevent development without financial sacrifice. For the landowner who is considering development or partial development of agricultural or other open land, an investment in planning frequently yields more profit than sending out a surveyor to stake unplatted 40 acre ranchettes. For the landowner who, except for some quick cash needs, would choose not to develop or sell land, good planning can eliminate or minimize the amount of land developed and its impact on adjacent undeveloped land.
Several Wyoming for-profit and not-for-profit organizations have developed expertise in using the tools described in this section. There are also professional land use advisors, tax advisors and legal advisors in Wyoming who can help landowners with planning. A large amount of printed and Internet reference material is available on these topics. Some of the sources and references used to compile the information contained in this guidebook are identified in the tools section which follows. You may access these sources directly or contact the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service for more information.
The information in this section is provided to give landowners more choices, not to tell landowners what and what not to do. Each landowner is in the best position to make decisions about his or her property.
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Conservation easements are voluntary restrictions placed by the landowner on the use of his or her property to protect resources such as wildlife habitat, agricultural lands, natural areas, historic structures, or open spaces. The landowner retains title to the property, and the easement is donated to a qualified conservation organization, such as a land trust, or a government agency.
The land trust or government agency holding the easement has the legal right and the responsibility to enforce the terms of the agreement. If the Grantor of an easement wants to take a federal income tax deduction, the easement must be perpetual and therefore has no end. Term easements, for a period of time, may also be placed on a property, but federal income tax deductions are only allowed with perpetual easements.
The advantages are that the landowner continues to own the property and may live on it, sell it, or pass it on to heirs. Estate taxes may be significantly lowered, which helps assure that the heirs can keep the property and not be forced to sell it to settle the estate. Income tax benefits may also result from a conservation easement. Flexibility is another advantage. Each agreement can be structured to meet the particular goals of each landowner, and need not include the entire property. Options may also be included for limited development of parts of the property. Finally, easements can offer permanent protection, with the land trust or government agency ensuring that restrictions are followed. Permanence may be considered a disadvantage of a conservation easement by some landowners, because it may limit the choices for using the land in the future.
Protecting your ranch's conservation values can offer significant financial benefits. Agricultural conservation easements, for instance, can yield substantial income tax deductions and can reduce property and estate taxes. Estate taxes alone can reach as high as 55 percent of a property's fair market value, enough to force heirs to sell all or part of the land just to pay taxes.
The flexibility of conservation easements has already been demonstrated in Wyoming. For example, a cooperative effort between a private Wyoming landowner, an energy company, a conservation group and a state agency sets aside crucial elk habitat in southwestern Wyoming while increasing total livestock animal units on public and private lands. This conservation easement protected the area from residential development and provided the landowner with working capital to purchase more favorable grazing areas.
Progress in preserving open lands has been demonstrated in Colorado and Montana with locally operated, landowner-driven efforts. One locally operated land trust organization in Wyoming, the Jackson Hole Land Trust, holds over 8,000 acres in trust, to date. The Nature Conservancy, a national organization which runs a local Wyoming program based out of Lander, also assists Wyoming landowners with the conservation easements process and accepts conservation easements in trust. Other Wyoming organizations are currently planning to add land trust services to provide landowners with a range of options. Photo
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What if each of several neighboring ranchers on a watershed wants to preserve the valley's ranching traditions by donating a conservation easement on his or her property, but none wants to be the only ranch to do so? If several neighbors begin to sell to developers, for example, remaining ranchers may want to sell, too, so they can buy another ranch elsewhere B where they are not the sole working ranch surrounded by 20 acre ranchettes. The Montana Land Reliance addressed this problem with an escrow arrangement that allowed ranchers to tentatively commit to conservation easements, but not to finalize the easement until neighboring ranchers committed as well. The arrangement worked by allowing ranchers to place conservation easements in escrow. If a predetermined percentage of nearby landowners agreed to similar easements, the entire package of easements would be transferred to the Montana Land Reliance. If not, the conservation easements would never take effect and ranchers would be free to do with their property as they pleased.
"This innovative approach insured each rancher that his conservation and tax-saving technique would be reciprocated by neighboring landowners"
In northeastern Wyoming, five landowners agreed to place portions of their properties in an easement escrow to preserve the natural integrity of the area while ensuring that all properties were not encumbered until all legal obligations had been met. Neighboring ranchers in the West Boulder Valley of Montana agreed on an arrangement allowing landowners to consent to conservation easements by placing each easement in escrow until a majority of their neighbors had committed. This innovative approach insured each rancher that his or her conservation and tax-saving technique would be reciprocated by neighboring landowners.
On the east slope of the Bighorns, The Nature Conservancy bought a ranch which was going to be sold for development and then agreed to sell it only to a conservation buyer. Four adjacent landowners voluntarily donated easements on their land to protect the entire area.
SOURCES & REFERENCES
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Donating Land; Life Estates
For landowners who wish to preserve their land but do not have heirs who are interested in preserving it, donation may be an option. Land donations offer income tax deductions and capital gains tax avoidance while accomplishing permanent land protection. To be eligible for a tax deduction, donations must be made to a qualified nonprofit organization such as a land trust or to a public entity. Some nonprofits lease the donated land to another rancher. Frequently, the landowners can provide instructions to the land trust on how to manage the land. Some land trusts ask donors to set aside an endowment to pay for property management. Easements can also be donated to a land trust while the remaining property interests are retained by the landowners or conveyed to someone else.
"Land donations offer income tax deductions and capital gains tax avoidance while accomplishing permanent land protection."
If landowners want to preserve their land in perpetuity yet use it during their lifetime, they should consider using a remainder interest. The remainder interest enables the landowners to donate property to a qualified organization, receive an income tax deduction, and reserve a life estate for themselves so they can live out their lives on the land. Donations can also be made by will, which preserves for the landowners the right to change their minds. It does not entitle the landowners to an income tax deduction during their lifetimes, but does reduce the size of the taxable estate. A landowner should make sure the recipient organization will accept the gift before donating by will.
An owner of very valuable land who wants to donate his or her land to a trust and retain an income source from it may consider charitable remainder unitrusts. The landowner places a conservation easement on the land, sells the land and invests the proceeds into a trust fund that provides the landowners with income for life. Upon the landowner's death, the remaining trust funds are donated to a nonprofit organization or charity. This method provides income, tax benefits, and charitable contributions.
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An increasing number of landowners are using limited development to protect their land while meeting their financialz needs. Under limited development, the portion of the property least important to agricultural operations or conservation goals is developed in order to assure protection of the rest of the parcel. Unlike conventional subdivision, this process allows landowners to realize the return from their property and at the same time safeguard its natural assets or its value as a working ranch.
"Limited development can permit land protection in situations where donation or acquisition is not feasible."
Limited development can permit land protection in situations where donation or acquisition is not feasible. Under a typical limited development, a landowner subdivides a portion of his or her property into one or more lots. The issue of scale should be carefully considered when structuring a limited development. Lots should be chosen so they do not interfere with ranching operations or detract from a valley's scenery or natural resources. The landowner can sell them all at once, or one by one when income is needed.
To assure a high value for the lots, the landowner typically places a conservation easement on the balance of the property. An increasing number of buyers are willing to pay more for property with unspoiled views, solitude and recreational access. This arrangement also allows conservation-minded buyers to live on a ranch without the hassle of management responsibilities.
Landowners interested in limited development should understand the state's subdivision laws, which mandate state and county oversight of all subdivisions over a certain size.
Land exchanges can be used in a variety of ways to protect and preserve open spaces. These exchanges can be conducted between two landowners or can involve multiple landowners, state and federal agencies, and a variety of public interests or conservation organizations. Land exchanges can be used to consolidate public and private holdings, to assemble logical mining units, to establish development areas, to protect crucial habitats, or to improve public access for recreational opportunities."Land exchanges can be used to consolidate public and private holdings, to assemble logical mining units, to establish development areas, to protect crucial habitats or to improve public access for recreational opportunities."
Typically, landowners may desire to exchange lands with little agricultural value but high aesthetic values for other lands better suited to meet their needs. The unsuitable agricultural lands may have very high recreational or wildlife values whose appraised values allow the landowners to gain considerably more acreage than they are giving up. Likewise, the landowners may choose to exchange their rights to develop lands for public lands or lands better suited for development. For example, irrigation interests in the Big Horn Basin are pursuing agreements with state and federal agencies to promote exchanges of private lands for state and federal lands to provide additional irrigated farm lands in Wyoming while providing increased publicly owned wildlife habitat and recreational access.
Much of the market demand for rural home sites and real estate, in general, strongly values surrounding open space. Careful planning can provide landowners who choose to develop some or all of their lands with competitive development revenue, while keeping large amounts of open space intact. But as a practical matter, it is difficult for a landowner to protect open space alone. Unless neighbors cooperate, the landowner who wants less (or more planned) development, and so restricts his or her own development options, may simply create a park or buffer against which neighbors can develop willy nilly in the future.
Private landowning neighbors can privately cooperate to swap or extinguish development rights, trade viewshed protection, trade agricultural access and use, or otherwise exchange opportunities or other assets among themselves. These private agreements can address the unique qualities of the lands and the needs of the landowners collaborating on such agreements.REFERENCES
For many Wyoming ranchers, their land is their most valuable asset. If they want to leave the ranch to the children when they die or if they want to protect their land from suburban sprawl, special estate tax planning is essential. The highest effective estate tax rate is currently 55%.
As land values escalate, the land-rich and cash-poor ranch family can find itself in this typical scenario:
Husband and wife have wills which provide that the first to die leaves everything to the survivor. Upon the death of the second spouse, the children inherit the estate. When the first spouse dies there is little or no federal estate tax liability. But when the second spouse dies, the estate tax is due nine months later. On a two million dollar estate, the tax may be $588,000; if the taxable value of an estate reaches or exceeds three million dollars, it may be taxed at the maximum rate of 55%. The children may have to sell the ranch quickly to pay the taxes, dashing the parents' dream of providing to their children a place to ranch."Federal tax laws contain a variety of incentives to those who want to protect family land from development."
Federal tax laws contain a variety of incentives to those who want to protect family land from development. There are income tax deductions for protecting property from development, which may also reduce the value of the property for estate tax purposes. These benefits may apply even if the rancher keeps ranching on the property, wills it to the children, or develops part of the property into housing. Gifts of easements or remainder interests, gifts by will, charitable trusts and limited development to name a few, when properly planned and timed, can save the land for future generations and can save literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and estate taxes.
Consult a tax planning professional for more information. Conservation organizations like the Jackson Hole Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy often sponsor estate planning seminars that are free to landowners. Please contact these organizations for more information. Always ensure that you are receiving the best possible advice.REFERENCES
The landowners who choose to selectively develop portions of their land while maintaining the rural character of the land may wish to consider placing restrictions on the deeds to the parcels for sale. A deed restriction is established by the landowners on a property's title, typically when the landowners are selling the land and wish to exert some influence over its use. For example, homesite purchasers may buy subject to deed restrictions that limit the number of buildings and their size, preserve views, or specify architectural guidelines that will blend homes into the landscape. By creating home sites that are secluded, scenic and pristine enough to demand top dollar, ranchers may be able to maximize their return while developing a small amount of land that will not interfere with their ranching operation."A deed restriction is established by the landowners on a property's title, typically when the landowners are selling the land and wish to exert some influence over its use."
The Wyoming Angler
Photo credit: Wyoming Division of Tourism
A covenant is, by definition, a promise. A mutual covenant is a type of deed restriction involving a legal agreement between two or more landowners in which the same set of restrictions govern the development and use of all properties. Covenants are contractually created. For example, in the context of conservation, a number of neighboring landowners might agree not to develop the land, or agree not to break the land into parcels of less than 35 acres, or agree not to build more than 3 homes on every hundred acres. A covenant can last indefinitely (perpetual) or it can be quite temporary (for a term of years). More commonly, they are inserted in the title to a parcel of land by a subdivision developer, who makes participation in the mutual covenant a condition of sale in order to protect attributes that promote high land values and marketability.SOURCE
"Some ranchers, in the absence of zoning or when faced with a county zoning process they hope to influence or pre-empt, may want to engage in landowner-driven private zoning."
Some ranchers, in the absence of zoning or when faced with a county zoning process they hope to influence or pre-empt, may want to engage in landowner-driven private zoning. An example of an agricultural zoning district created by ranchers is the 19,000 acre agricultural zoning district in Springhill, Montana near Bozeman. Among the district's provisions was a requirement that any parcel smaller than 160 acres must comply with county planning requirements, even though at the time Montana's subdivision law allowed landowners to split their property into 20 acre parcels without a plat. The district's objectives were to maintain its agricultural character at a time of spiraling land prices and to prevent subdivisions from straining the area's limited services.REFERENCE
Landowners can protect their land by selling it to an individual, land trust, or public agency which is willing to maintain the current use. The advantage of this approach is that it is completely voluntary for the landowner. A disadvantage is that selling may take longer because of the need for a buyer with both the resources and the conservation intent.
Sales may be based on the fair market value of the land, but often this price is beyond the reach of land trust organizations and can result in high capital gains taxes for the seller. An alternative is a bargain sale for conservation purposes, at less than appraised value. The landowner avoids high capital gains taxes and can achieve significant income tax deductions or estate tax reductions.
For example, the bargain sale of a ranch in the Bighorn mountains to the Wyoming Chapter of The Nature Conservancy allowed the Conservancy to then sell the entire ranch to a conservation-minded buyer who would keep the property intact as an agricultural unit, thereby preserving the agricultural legacy of the ranch.SOURCE
A right-of-first refusal is an agreement between a landowner and a potential buyer in which the landowner agrees that if he or she receives a legitimate offer from another party, the holder of the right of first refusal will have a specified period of time to match the offer and acquire the property. Rights-of-first refusal can be especially useful to landowners who want to guarantee a neighbor or land trust a chance to purchase their property in the event of a forced sale.
The holder of a right-of-first refusal does not necessarily have to buy the property. For example, a rancher could acquire a right-of-first refusal on a neighboring property to protect his or her ranch from a conflicting adjacent use. If the neighboring property is about to be acquired by someone whom the holder of the right believes will continue ranching, then the holder would be unlikely to exercise a right-of-first refusal. Nevertheless, if a developer makes an offer on the property, the holder has a specified period of time to raise the funds required to purchase the property and prevent the land use from changing.REFERENCE
A private individual, government agency or a private group can pay a landowner to enter into a contractual agreement that would either permanently or temporarily suspend that landowner's right to develop that property. The landowner can get cash without giving up full ownership of the family land, and simultaneously conserve it for posterity.
Sometimes a landowner may be willing to accept this type of purchase from his or her neighbor. It may only require that an outside agency come in to mediate negotiations or even come forward to suggest that such an arrangement is feasible. Wyoming Open Lands, for example, is involved in this type of work.SOURCE
The bundle of property rights included with any landholding includes the right to allow or deny access to the private lands and in some instances, where no legal public access exists, to allow or deny access to adjoining public or private lands. Access rights are a marketable commodity which can be purchased or leased by another party. Leases can be short term or in perpetuity dependent upon the desired use. Access such as recreational access can be leased or sold for seasonal use such as during established big game seasons. Perpetual easements which allow access to or across a property are commonly sold for a variety of purposes and can generate substantial income and incentives for maintenance of open space.REFERENCE
The sale or lease of recreational rights is the same approach as used for access rights. Hunting, fishing, or other recreational rights can be sold, leased, or included within a time limited or perpetual easement to an individual, organization, or in many cases a state or federal agency.
"A sale leaseback may be an option for the owners of a working ranch who have decided to sell the property yet want to continue to operate the ranch."
A sale leaseback may be an option for the owners of a working ranch who have decided to sell the property yet want to continue to operate the ranch. A buyer or group of buyers may be identified who will purchase agricultural land for its recreational and hunting uses but who lack the experience or interest in running the agricultural operation year-round. The buyers may purchase the land at its appreciated value, then lease the rights to operate the land for agriculture, at its agricultural market value, back to the original landowners. The sale leaseback will generate some revenue for the buyers in a manner consistent with their recreational rights and insure careful stewardship of the land by a knowledgeable tenant. Its agricultural use for Wyoming property tax purposes will remain unchanged. The sellers will receive the cash value for their ranch yet can continue to live on and operate the ranch for agriculture. There are capital gains tax consequences to the landowners which should be discussed with a tax advisor.REFERENCE
"The remaining tools are primarily regulatory in nature. Typically, city or county government has the authority to use these regulatory processes."
A recent Wyoming Supreme Court decision will influence the degree and manner in which local government officials may regulate land use in Wyoming counties. In Ford v. County Commissioners of Converse County, 924 P.2d 91 (Wyo. 1996), the Converse County Commissioners were attempting to regulate a commercial activity, the sale of fireworks, on land designated as rural residential. The county had adopted a land use plan, but not zoning resolutions. The Court held that a zoning designation must exist before county commissioners can regulate certain activities on private property.
As local government officials make decisions about the extent and nature of regulation they choose to apply, the Fifth Amendment 'takings' clause also plays a role. It establishes the fundamental unfairness of the uncompensated taking of private property for public use or benefit. The Fifth Amendment's just compensation provision is Adesigned to bar government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole." Local officials should take note of two key U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding the takings clause, Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, 483 U.S. 825 (1987), and Dolan v. City of Tigard, 114 S.Ct. 2309 (1994).
Following is a short summary of some of the tools that local government officials can use to conserve open space. Additional information on these topics may be obtained from the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, 409 West 24th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82001, telephone (307) 632-5409; and the Wyoming Association of Municipalities, 200 East 8th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82001, telephone (307) 632-0398."The Fifth Amendment's just compensation provision is 'designed to bar government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.'"
In recognition of the fact that certain types of development cost more in services than they provide in revenue, some communities now charge impact fees. Developers are required to pay for the impact their projects will have on community infrastructure. For example, an impact fee may be assessed in conjunction with a local government approving a zoning variance to allow a housing development in an area zoned for agriculture. The zoning variance may further mandate cluster housing, which will cost the local government less to service than typical, more sprawling residential development.
Impact fees are also known as exactions. In its simplest form, the developer is charged an easy to calculate fee. A formula may be created to decide the cost the particular development will impose on the community. The formula could take into account such factors as the area of land affected, the number of units built, the expected market value of those units, the distance from the fire and police stations, costs of building roads, and the expected population growth resulting from the construction.
The exaction can come in forms other than money. The developer can be required to provide streets, sewers, street lights, parks, or other infrastructure or amenities. The developer might also be required not to develop some portion of the land. In some cases, builders of expensive homes have been required to build some proportional number of low cost homes. The town or county can develop a comprehensive system or formula or exactions can be formulated on a case by case basis from more general criteria."Communities can influence the pattern of development through careful planning of public investments and improvements."
Almost invariably, growth follows facilities such as roads, utilities, and schools. Communities can influence
the pattern of development through careful planning of public investments and improvements. Capital improvements
programs (CIP) include a community or city-county design of when and where specific streets, facilities and infrastructure
will be built. They identify the order in which public money will be spent to meet the goals of the plan. A successful
CIP requires a good comprehensive planning and prioritization process. A local government's decisions about where
streets will be built can have a strong impact on growth because few developers have the funds to construct large
street systems. The location of fire stations is another example. Some communities have tried to increase the effectiveness
of CIPs by pairing them with high minimum quality standards that make it more expensive for developers to promote
growth inconsistent with the plan. Involving landowners and developers in the design of the CIP may discourage
them from moving development efforts to rural areas in reaction to a CIP in which they had no involvement.
There are many advantages to using individual voluntary agreements between the developer and the local government. The development agreement can be tailored to the site, and the voluntary nature of the discussions adds flexibility and eliminates "takings" concerns. The parties enter into a contract which may address types of development, density, siting, timing and infrastructure concerns and which may be made binding on the developer's successors in interest and on future elected officials. The local government may be able to provide certain public infrastructure to a development, which creates an incentive for the developer to negotiate. For Wyoming county commissioners who are beginning a zoning or other land use process, voluntary agreements with owners of large tracts of land, which become part of a zoning or capital improvements program, may help neutralize some of the hostility which can accompany land regulation.REFERENCES
In some cases, a city or county may want to steer development toward areas where it is more appropriate and easier to serve. Generally, the intent is to steer development away from rural areas, agricultural preservation zones, and environmentally sensitive areas and guide it towards existing cities and towns. Transferable Development Rights (TDR) programs are one way to do that.
In a voluntary TDR program, the city or county designates certain parts of its territory as "sending zones" and other areas as "receiving zones." " Landowners in the sending zones can sell their rights to develop houses or commercial uses to other landowners in the receiving zones, or to a third party who will eventually buy land in the receiving zone. Or, landowners in the receiving zone can buy additional development rights from someone in the selling zone."A TDR system allows communities to keep costs down by directing growth into the more accommodating or appropriate areas."
A TDR system allows communities to keep costs down by directing growth into the more accommodating or appropriate areas. Disadvantages to TDRs are that the complex technical details require careful planning and administration. The source and destination of all sold rights must be clearly documented. In some cases the local government may place a cap on how much the density can increase in the receiving zone. The Wyoming Legislature considered, but did not adopt, TDR authorizing legislation during the 1997 session.REFERENCES
Since the 1970s, all fifty states have enacted "Right to Farm" laws to help protect existing agricultural operations from suits brought by people who move nearby, then claim the neighboring farm or ranch is a nuisance. Common complaints revolve around odor, noise, dust, flies, application of agricultural chemicals and slow moving machinery. Most statutes have exemptions that do not protect farms and ranches that 1) begin operation after other neighboring land uses already exist; and/or 2) are out of compliance with local, state or federal regulations. Most statutes have not been challenged in court.
Wyoming's first Right to Farm law, enacted in 1977, was limited to feedlot operations. In 1991, Wyoming enacted a new brief statute that defines "farm and ranch." It also protects operations that conform to generally accepted agricultural management practices and that existed before adjacent land use changes and would not have been a nuisance before the change occurred. Both of these statutes specifically address protection from nuisance suits."State funding agencies are frequently asked to improve water supplies and water supply systems for subdivisions and special districts throughout the state."
Historically, weak subdivision laws have had an adverse impact on preserving and maintaining Wyoming's open spaces. State funding agencies are frequently asked to improve water supplies and water supply systems for subdivisions and special districts throughout the state. The sequence of activities is as follows:
Once funding has been secured, the water system deficiencies will be addressed according to both U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) rules and regulations. The recommended solutions often incorporate an extension of a nearby city's water utility to the subdivision in question. The extension of the utility may traverse several miles of vacant undeveloped land. Unfortunately, this land suddenly becomes ripe for development and the state, by addressing health and safety concerns in the area, may have unwillingly contributed to future suburban and rural sprawl. It is not inconceivable that opportunistic developers may take advantage of the state funded utilities to more economically subdivide their property.
During the 1997 legislative session, the legislature adopted amendments to existing real estate subdivision requirements. The measure goes into effect on July 1, 1997, for new subdivision permit applications. The new law requires the subdivider to submit water system and sewerage system studies to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. A professional engineer must certify that the proposed system of potable water service and sewerage service will meet state and federal rules and regulations and that the proposed water and sewerage systems are compatible with one another. Equally important is that the subdivider is to include a narrative summary of the geographical setting of the proposed water source and estimates of source water quantity and quality. The narrative must also contain a detailed discussion of all water supply sources for the proposed subdivision and a concise description of water availability in the area.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality will file written comments and recommendations with the Board of County Commissioners or the Planning and Zoning Commission, as appropriate. A favorable recommendation by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality will indicate that health and safety precautions associated with water and sewerage utilities have been taken into consideration by the developers. It will also provide assurances that the original subdivider will finance and install adequate water and sewerage systems up front without state financial assistance. It is anticipated that the new subdivision law will discourage potential developments that receive an unfavorable DEQ recommendation and thereby avoid the "ramshackle development" that may infringe upon Wyoming open spaces. The information generated by the newly required review process may also prove to be an invaluable tool for county commissioners to evaluate whether the proposed development meets existing land use and development schemes. Photo"The information generated by the newly required review process may also prove to be an invaluable tool for county commissioners to evaluate whether the proposed development meets existing land use and development schemes."
This type of system involves dividing the land in a county or municipality into a number of zones. Each zone is set aside for a certain use. One area may be set aside for agriculture, another for commercial growth, and another for residential housing. The zoning law or ordinance would clearly define what each of those terms means so that a local government can shape how a town will look and grow into the future."Zoning is typically flexible enough to be revised, which may or may not be consistent with a farmer's or ranchers objectives."
Zoning ordinances frequently allow certain uses, also known as "uses by right", and allow "conditional" or "special uses" for each zone. Conditional or special uses include uses which may or may not be consistent with the uses-by-right, depending on how they are designed and sized. Landowners who want to operate a conditional use generally must submit drawings and documents regarding their proposal for review and approval by the local government. Conditional use zoning allows a local government to consider on a case-by-case basis whether a proposed development serves a community need.
Custer County, Colorado, has used conditional use zoning to discourage residential development in ranching and agricultural areas by defining all residential uses as conditional, which then requires case-by-case evaluation before approval. The disadvantage of conditional use zoning is that it takes more time and effort to administer than a traditional "use-by-right." Further, if all uses are made conditional and the landowner is left with no meaningful uses by right, the ordinance may be vulnerable to a successful takings suit.Table of Contents
The purpose of this type of zoning is to specifically preserve and protect agricultural uses of land. A minimum lot size for subdivision is established and permissible uses are identified. The minimum lot size should be related to the minimum size of a viable agricultural operation in that area. Buffer zones could be required between agricultural and non-agricultural areas. These zones help protect farms from interference from non-farm uses and help reduce the potential for complaints about farm operations.
True agricultural zoning protects farmland from any development that could prevent, hinder or intrude upon its future uses for commercial agriculture. Zoning is typically flexible enough to be revised, which may or may not be consistent with a farmer's or rancher's objectives. Usually agricultural zoning regulates non-farm building density and incompatible uses and is designed to promote agriculture as the primary land use in the area. It may also be an option which can be used to separate incompatible agricultural uses from each other.
If the landowner is allowed housing plus agriculture usage of the land and outbuildings on each parcel, agricultural zoning ordinances will usually withstand a takings claim because the landowner is allowed a reasonable economic use of the land. If a non-agricultural area is re-zoned to an agricultural designation, a landowner may be able to claim a takings, in that rezoning has deprived him or her of the investment value of the property.
Agricultural zoning, when coupled with a Right to Farm and Ranch law, can assist neighboring farmers or ranchers who want to preserve the agricultural character of their "neighborhood" by making it easier to resist pressures to change their land uses.REFERENCE
Some counties use zoning or subdivision requirements to establish minimum sizes for all new lots. Areas adjacent to city boundaries are zoned for small lots. The farther from the city boundaries the property lies, the larger the lot size becomes. In rural areas, minimum requirements can be as low as 20 acres or as high as 160 acres. As long as agricultural and residential uses are allowed, large lot zoning will usually survive a takings claim. Possible disadvantages of large lot zoning include the exclusionary effect of large lots because of their high cost to low and middle income homebuyers and the risk of creating sprawl by spreading out development unnecessarily. Large lot zoning has been used to help preserve farmland in McHenry County, Illinois; Anne Arundel County, Maryland; and Madera County, California."As long as agricultural and residential uses are allowed, large lot zoning will usually survive a takings claim."
Typically, performance zoning ordinances do not use the concepts of "uses by right" and "conditional uses." Performance standards are established pursuant to which any use will be considered in most areas. Examples of performance standards are size, scale, height, hours of operation, traffic impacts, light and glare impacts, noise impacts, landscaping and compatibility with neighboring uses. A developer may be required to document his or her performance in the areas of traffic generation, visual appearance, buffering and others. Performance zoning allows a developer to design projects that will meet community standards. The city of Fort Collins, Colorado, uses performance zoning in some of its newer areas and standard residential zoning in its older residential neighborhoods. Performance zoning may be useful to the city or town which is concerned about the quality of development in an area rather than its type or specific location. Fremont County, Idaho, also uses performance zoning."Performance zoning allows a developer to design products that will meet community standards."
Transition zones are used to form a buffer between two zones that are incompatible as neighbors. Transition zoning may help prevent conflicts between medium density residential zones and agricultural zones, for example, because county commissioners can establish a low density residential, light commercial, or open space zone between the two.SOURCE
Most zoning ordinances establish minimum lot sizes or a maximum number of houses per acre. Cluster zoning allows these standards to be varied if more open space is retained or drainage or traffic problems are avoided. Cluster zoning usually allows houses or buildings to be placed closer together as long as the overall density of the parcel is not exceeded. Since it is usually less expensive for the developer to build houses closer together due to savings in road and utility construction, cluster zoning provisions are often popular with the construction industry.SOURCE
An overlay zone is a second layer of zoning restrictions that augments the standard zoning of the land. The landowner must meet the requirements of both zones, the boundaries of which are frequently different. The boundaries of the overlay zone may follow a stream corridor, a floodplain, a visible hillside, or some other natural feature. Development within an overlay zone may have to meet additional requirements that will address the unique natural resource characteristics the community wants to protect. Overlay zoning may allow some development to occur in a sensitive area where the local government would otherwise have prohibited development completely."Since it is usually less expensive for the developer to build houses closer together due to savings in road and utility construction, cluster zoning provisions are often popular with the construction industry."
UNIVERSITY, STATE & FEDERAL
OPEN LANDS ACTIVITIES
The use of computerized geographic information systems (GIS) by private landowners holds out considerable promise for those landowners who want to work together to maximize their respective real estate values while protecting their open lands character to the greatest possible extent. The University of Wyoming's Spatial Data and Visualization Center, in partnership with Wyoming Open Lands, is developing a unique application of GIS that is being used in private landowner collaborations. This practical and basic use of GIS allows landowners to map their various interests in protection of open space on their own land, as well as on neighbors' lands within their subdivision or watershed. Through this mapping process, private landowners are allowed to confidentially identify their interests and concerns. The landowners can then see, through layering all of the mapped landowner input, the potential for cooperative agreements with physical reference to their property.Table of Contents
In Sublette County, University of Wyoming researchers have focused on what residents like about their county, what kind of change they can live with and what tools they prefer to use to manage growth. The goal is to provide county officials and residents alike with information about citizen land use preferences and preferred management tools. The survey and GIS mapping methods, and the information on costs of development derived in this study, can be used to help other Wyoming communities develop their own visions for the future, and deal with population growth management issues.Table of Contents
The University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service is the designated lead agency to distribute and to update this guidebook, conduct workshops in conjunction with other public and private organizations in Wyoming, and serve as a point of contact for interested landowners and public officials. To request additional copies of this guidebook, contact the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service, Box 3354, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071. Telephone (307) 766-5124.Table of Contents
Coordinated Resource Management (CRM) is a collaborative decision making tool employed by a landowner or group of landowners, agency personnel, and members of non-governmental organizations to manage private and adjoining public lands. CRM is first and foremost a process that is landowner initiated and strictly voluntary. It is an effective use of process-oriented techniques that enable groups of people to work together productively. The process yields resolution of conflict as well as the development and implementation of plans which have broad support. Common goals are developed at the beginning of the CRM process followed by management objectives and an action plan. The objectives are measurable, attainable, and strive to accomplish the common goals. The action plan identifies who, when, where and what will be accomplished. Participants must have the authority to speak and make decisions for their entity, function as a team, and manage by consensus."CRM is first and foremost a process that is landowner initiated and strictly voluntary."
CRM can be a highly effective tool to develop a planning and implementation model to preserve open space through a more economically productive use of existing resources. CRM is often used to coordinate use of natural resources between and among landowners, often resulting in greater efficiency of resource use. The result can be greater economic productivity achieved through healthier landscapes. Often, the additional economic benefit can keep working landscapes in agriculture, reduce the incentive to subdivide, and play an important role in maintaining open space. The Wyoming Department of Agriculture is recognized as the national leader in successful implementation of the CRM process. The Department provides training for CRM committees and CRM facilitators nationwide, and would be pleased to assist Wyoming landowners in establishing CRM committees for open lands planning."Common goals are developed at the beginning of the CRM process followed by management objectives and an action plan."
SOURCE & REFERENCES
The Wyoming Game and Fish Com-mission's easement program is geared primarily toward providing habitat for wildlife and public access for sportsmen and sportswomen. Public access easements are purchased along various waterways to allow pedestrian access within a specified width of the river bank, usually fifty or one hundred feet, for either fishing alone or fishing and waterfowl hunting. Easements for vehicular travel and parking are also included in these types of agreements. The commission will also acquire vehicular right of way easements across private lands in order to provide access to larger inaccessible blocks of public lands. Conservation easements have been the main easement type used by the commission to assure adequate habitat in crucial areas for various wildlife species. Further information about the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission's easement program can be obtained by contacting the Lands Administration Branch at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.SOURCE
The Governor's Office prepared this guidebook, with assistance from the Institute for Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming and many dedicated Wyoming residents. The Governor's Office and directors of the natural resource cabinet-level departments of state government are helping to coordinate ongoing work and to distribute this guidebook and other information to interested parties statewide.
A western states open lands effort is also underway. At their June, 1996 Annual Meeting, the Western Governors passed a resolution sponsored by Governor Geringer, acknowledging the importance of open lands in the West and directing the Western Governors' Association (WGA) to take action to help landowners and local communities protect open lands and preserve the unique character of the West. The WGA is currently focusing on real estate development and land use to increase the capacity of citizens, communities and states in the West to address problems associated with rapid growth. The WGA will also convene a group of regional experts, develop baseline data, promote the use of recognized open lands models and best practices, sponsor workshops and forums, and develop a policy agenda for governors and other interest groups and stakeholders, leading to a more creative approach to problem solving. PhotoSOURCES
The 1996 Farm Bill includes a new program to supplement state and local efforts to protect important agricultural land from non-agricultural uses. The USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation accepts proposals for funding from states, tribes and local governments that have pending offers with landowners for the acquisition of conservation easements or other interests in land, for a minimum of thirty years, that contains "prime, unique, or other productive soil." The Natural Resources Conservation Service is the agency responsible for administering the Farmland Protection Program in the field. Allocation of the funds to state and local entities is made by weighing such factors as the number of pending offers, the total number of eligible acres, the capability of each entity to fund at least half of the acquisition costs, the value of such offers and the urgency of each offer. All lands enrolled must be encompassed by a conservation plan developed and implemented according to the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide.SOURCE
The Wetlands Reserve Program is a voluntary program to restore and protect wetlands on private property. Landowners who choose to participate may sell a conservation easement or enter into a cost-share restoration agreement with USDA to restore and protect wetlands. The program offers landowners three options: permanent easements, 30-year easements, and restoration cost-share agreements of a minimum 10-year duration. The landowner continues to control access to the land, and may lease the land, for hunting, fishing and undeveloped recreational activities. A landowner may request that additional activities be evaluated to determine if they are compatible uses for the site, such as haying, grazing livestock and harvesting wood. States were authorized to begin a continuous sign-up as of October 1, 1996. Check with the local conservation district office for the sign-up schedule in Wyoming.SOURCE
There is a long held belief that undeveloped land, though beautiful, is not economically productive. Yet more and more studies are showing that conserving open land and choosing carefully those areas that should be developed is not contrary to the economic value of land, but is essential to it. This guidebook is presented to provide ideas and to provoke thoughtful dialogue among landowners and neighboring landowners, local government officials and developers about ways to maximize the current economic value of land and its value to future generations. The land's owners and local citizenry are always in a better position to make these decisions than distant government officials. Nevertheless, expertise and advice from the private for-profit and not-for-profit sectors can prove invaluable to good decision making. The sources and references in this guidebook can augment the local resources available in many Wyoming communities.
The population of the United States is expected to jump fifty percent by the middle of the 21st century and high quality farmland is expected to shrink 13 percent. At those levels, the United States could become a net food importer instead of a net food exporter within 60 years. Wyoming landowners have a role in saving significant agricultural land for future generations. Conserving Wyoming's wonderful open lands will truly keep our beloved Wyoming "Like No Place On Earth." PhotoTable of Contents
American Farmland Trust, 1920 N Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 659-5170
Berryman & Henigar, 1478 4th Street, Minden, NV 89423, (702) 782-2382.
Clarion Associates LLC., 1700 Broadway, Suite 400, Denver, CO 80290, (303) 830-2890
Colorado Cattleman's Land Trust, 8833 Ralston Road, Arvada, CO 80002. Telephone (307) 431-6422; fax (303) 431-6446
Colorado Open Lands, 5555 DTC Parkway, C-2050, Englewood, CO 80111 (303) 694-4994
The Conservation Fund, 1800 N. Kent St., Suite 1120, Arlington, VA 22209, (703) 525-6300
Corporation for the Northern Rockies, P.O. Box 1448, Livingston, MT 59047 (406) 222-0730
The Governor's Office, State Capitol, 200 W. 24th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82002, (307) 777-7434
Greater Yellowstone Coalition, P.O. Box 1874, Bozeman, MT 59715, (406) 586-1593
Jackson Hole Land Trust, P.O. Box 2897, Jackson, WY 83001, (307) 733-4707
Land Exchange Assistance Program, Land Use Resource Center, 1443 Market Street, Suite 380, Denver, SO 80202, (303) 820-5640
Land Trust Alliance, 1319 F Street NW, Suite 501, Washington, DC 20004-1106, (202) 638-4725
Montana Land Reliance, P.O. Box 355, Helena, MT 59624, (406) 443-7027
Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250, (202) 720-2847
Lee Nellis, 222 Ravine Drive, Pocatello, ID 83204, (208) 232-1277
Rancher's Management Company, P.O. Box 348, Lander, WY 82520, (307) 332-6568
Sand Creek Ranch Preservation Company, LLC., P.O. Box 905, Buffalo, WY 82834, (307) 684-5159
Sonoran Institute, 7920 East Broadway Blvd., Suite M, Tucson, AZ 85710, (520) 290-0828
Southeast Wyoming Estate Planning Council, P.O. Box 1935, Cheyenne, WY 82003
The Talbott Group, 6926 Valley View Place, Cheyenne, WY 82009, (307) 638-8274
University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service, Box 3354, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, (307) 766-5124
Western Governors' Association, 600 17th Street, Suite 1705, South Tower, Denver CO 80202-5482, (307) 623-9378
Western Planning Resources, Inc., 200 Pronghorn Street, Casper, WY (307) 266-2524
Western Rural Development Center, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-3607, (541) 737-3621
Worthington Lenhart & Carpenter, Inc., P.O. Box 1056, Gillette, WY 82717, (307) 682-6554
Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, 2505 E. Fox Farm Road, Cheyenne, WY 82007, (307) 632-5716
Wyoming Association of Municipalities, 200 East 8th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82001, (307) 632-0398
Wyoming Bar Association, P.O. Box 109, Cheyenne, WY 82003-0109, (307) 632-9061
Wyoming Certified Public Accountants, 2020 Carey Avenue, Suite 100, Cheyenne, WY 82002, (307) 777-7551
Wyoming Community Foundation, P.O. Box 4008, Laramie, WY 82071, (307) 766-2477
Wyoming County Commissioners Association, 409 West 24th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82001, (307) 632-5409
Wyoming Department of Agriculture, 2219 Carey Avenue, Cheyenne, WY 82002, (307) 777-7323
Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, 406 S. 21st Street, Laramie, WY 82070, (307) 745-4835
Wyoming Game & Fish Department, 5400 Bishop Blvd., Cheyenne, WY 82006, (307) 777-4600
Wyoming Nature Conservancy, 258 Main Street, Suite 200, Lander, WY 82520, (307) 332-2971
Wyoming Open Lands, 340 Fort Street, Buffalo, WY 82834, (307) 684-2133
Wyoming Planning Association, 120 West 1st Street, Suite 200, Casper, WY 82601
Wyoming Rural Development Council, 2219 Carey Avenue, Cheyenne, WY 82002, (307) 777-6430
Wyoming Stock Growers Association, 113 E. 20th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82001, (307) 638-3942
Wyoming Water Development Commission, Herschler Building, 4th floor West, 122 W. 25th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82002, (307) 777-7626Table of Contents
http://www.farmland.org: The American Farmland Trust's home page. Includes information on conservation easements, private and public options for preserving open lands and ways that local governments can help.
http://www.consrv.ca.gov/olc/alspnet.html: The California Agricultural Land Stewardship Program. Describes incentives to promote long-term protection of agricultural land.
http://elbert.state.co.us/GIS/index.htm: As part of the Colorado Natural Resource Information System, this site describes a demonstration project for the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a planning tool. Includes examples of work with the Yampa Valley Land Trust.
http://www.uwyo.edu/enr/toolbox.htm: A Community Toolbox prepared by the Institute for Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming, to provide communities with knowledge and resources to support the development of strategic plans for managing sustainable growth and development.
http://vcn.bc.ca/wcel/ppl/interact/info.html: Interactive guide for selecting tools for protecting private lands in British Columbia.
http://www.olympus.net/community/saveland/saveland.htm: The Jefferson Land Trust in Port Townsend, Washington. Includes explanations of numerous options for preserving open lands.
http://www.unl.edu/kellogg/index.html: The W.K. Kellogg Collection of Rural Community Development Resources. Includes lists of publications related to preserving open spaces.
http://www.lta.org: Land Trust Alliance home page. Includes information on protecting open spaces and links to other related organizations.
http://ag.arizona.edu/partners: Contains the Partnership Handbook, a resource for community-based groups addressing natural resource, land use, or environmental issues. University of Arizona College of Agriculture, Water Resources Research Center.
http://www.epa.gov/GPIDN/: The Great Plains Partnership is an effort by government agencies and local interests to solve conservation problems at the local level. Includes the entire Great Plains region in North America.
http://www.rmef.org/index.htm: The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation home page. Includes examples of conservation easements in western states.
http://www.state.wy.us: The State of Wyoming home page. This guidebook will appear on Governor Geringer's page.
http://www.epa.gov/ecosystems/storefront/welcome.htm: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Storefront of Community Environmental Tools. Includes community planning and management guides, tools to evaluate environmental quality, and information on the protection and restoration of ecological resources.
http://ext.usu.edu/crd: Utah State University Extension Community Resource Development. Includes links to the text of ACoping with Change," a publication of the Western Rural Development Center in Corvallis, Oregon.
http://www.westgov.org: The Western Governors' Association home page. Includes the Western Governors' Resolution on protecting open spaces, and the activities of the Great Plains Partnership.Table of Contents
Altshuler, Alan A. and Gomez-Ibanez. 1993. Regulation for Revenue: The Political Economy of Land Use Exactions. The Brookings Institute, Washington, DC.
American Farmland Trust. 1996. Private and Public Options for Protecting Agricultural Land. American Farmland Trust, Washington, DC.
Barton, K. and J. Hijikata (eds.). 1993. The Standards and Practices Guidebook: an Operating Manual for Land Trusts. Land Trust Alliance, Washington, DC.
Berryman & Henigar. 1995. White Paper on Growth Management Strategies: Prepared for Douglas County, Nevada. Berryman & Henigar, Minden, NV.
Deans, K. (ed.). 1993. Conservation Options. Land Trust Alliance, Washington, DC.
Diehl, J. and T.S. Barrett. 1988. The Conservation Easement Handbook. Land Trust Alliance, Washington, DC.
Haggerty, M. 1996. Costs of County and Education Services in Gallatin County, Montana. Local Government Center, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.
Haggerty, M. 1996. Fiscal Impact of Different Land Uses on County Government and School Districts in Gallatin County, Montana. Local Government Center, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.
Hamilton, N.D. 1992. A Livestock Producer's Legal Guide to: Nuisance, Land Use Control, and Environmental Law.
A Landowner's Guide to Agricultural Conservation Easements, The Colorado Cattleman's Land Trust, Arvada, CO.
Land Protection Options: A Handbook for Minnesota Landowners. 1996. The Nature Conservancy, Minneapolis, MN.
Land Trust Alliance. 1993. Conservation Options: A Landowner's Guide. Land Trust Alliance, Washington, DC.
Land Trust Alliance. 1994. Economic Benefits of Land Protection. Land Trust Alliance Infopak Series. Land Trust Alliance, Washington, DC.
Montana Consensus Council. 1995. Solving Community Problems by Consensus. Montana Consensus Council, Office of the Governor, Helena, MT. Prepared by R.J. Buzzas, CIVIC Consulting, Bozeman, MT.
Nellis, L. and D. Glick. 1997. Tools for Managing Growth in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Bozeman, MT.
Rasker, R., J. Johnson and V. York. Measuring Change in Rural Communities: a Workbook for Determining Demographic, Economic, and Fiscal Trends. The Wilderness Society Bolle Center for Ecosystem Management, Bozeman, MT.
Small, S.J. 1992. Preserving Family Lands: Essential Tax Strategies for the Landowner. Landowner Planning Center, Boston, MA.
The Sonoran Institute. 1997. Preserving Working Ranches in the West. The Sonoran Institute, Tucson, AZ.
Western Planning Resources, Inc. 1997. The Western Planner. Western Planning Resources, Inc., Casper, WY.
Woirhaye, Jody L., 1996. The Open Lands Issue in Wyoming: A Exploratory Study. University of Wyoming, Department of Agricultural Economics, Laramie, WY.
The Wyoming Nature Conservancy. A Landowner's Guide to Conservation Options. Wyoming Nature Conservancy, Lander, WY.Table of Contents
Editor's Note: For the sake of simplicity and readability, we did not identify which of the referenced organizations are for-profit and which are not-for-profit.
This guidebook is not an exhaustive source of open lands tools or service providers. There are many other providers in Wyoming and throughout the West. We have listed only those resources which we accessed for information in preparing this guidebook.