What is a Land Trust?

Many people are familiar with Conservation Land Trusts, which are established to protect resource lands and wilderness. Similarly, Community Land Trusts preserve affordable housing by removing land from the speculative market and creating long-term leases with homeowners. Evergreen Land Trust combines these functions as a Stewardship Trust, to preserve housing, protect the environment, and promote sustainable living patterns. While there are several land trust models, the basic goal is the same—to hold land in perpetuity for the common good.

How Can I Place a Property Into Trust?

First, consider the long-term goals for the land or housing you would like to preserve. What matters to you? What would you like to protect or promote for future generations? You can contact us with questions about how a land trust works, and the kind of project you are envisioning. If it looks like a good fit, we can help you develop a proposal for the ELT Board of Directors. Otherwise we can refer you to another land trust organization that may be better suited to your interests. For most people there are tax advantages to donating land and/or conservation easements to the Evergreen Land Trust.

How Can I Become an Associate Member?

Associate Members are part of a collaborative network of people who are interested in preserving land and housing for future generations, and contribute their time, money, wisdom, and creativity to support the work of ELT. To become an Associate Member, please contact us! Donations are eligible for tax deductions, and we appreciate the support!

How Can I Become a Resident Member?

Resident Members are those people living on any property held by the Trust, and abiding by that property’s residency agreements. To inquire about residency openings at one of the ELT properties, view the regularly updated postings on the Intentional Communities websitehttp://www.ic.org. You can then contact that community directly to learn how they operate and to arrange a visit. The application process for residency typically includes a written proposal and an interview.

What is an Intentional Community?

Intentional communities are groups of people who choose to share land, housing, or resources in alignment with common goals and values. There are many types of intentional communities all over the world, organized in many different ways. A co-housing development, a communal house, or a cooperative farm could all be considered types of intentional communities. There are also intentional communities where people do not live together, but are organized simply to create an extended family of mutual support.

How much does it cost to live in an Evergreen Land Trust community?

Each adult resident who is over the age of 18 is required to pay monthly dues, and in some communities, residents contribute labor hours to care for the property. The monthly dues collectively pay for insurance, taxes and maintenance of the property. In addition, residents pay for their own utilities and food/agricultural activities they want to share. Contact the community that you are interested in for details and current rates.

How are ELT communities governed?

Evergreen Land Trust holdings include cooperative houses, farms and forest lands in the Puget Sound region that are governed by a set of policies. The policies outline property acquisition, stewardship, membership, administration, finance, loans, taxes and insurance and donations/grants/fundraising.

Each community elects two representatives to serve on the ELT board of directors. The ELT Members then vote on the board of directors at their Annual Meeting in June. If elected representative steps down or is removed from the board, the community will elect a replacement. You can view the bylaws and policies related to membership and board representation on the Resources Page.

What are the people who live on ELT property’s responsible for?

People who live on trust property must abide by the policies of the Evergreen Land Trust and uphold the responsibilities which are outlined in the property’s use agreement, in cooperation with the other members and residents. Each year, each community submits an annual report of their activities and finances to the board of directors, including improvements or losses.

How do intentional communities resolve conflicts?

ELT communities are all different — small and large, rural and urban. Each of the communities is intentional, meaning they manage the property cooperatively toward the higher purposes defined in their use agreement. Each community also establishes its own agreements for how they will work together. In general, the ELT board does not get involved in the day-to-day decision making of the communities. When conflicts happen in a community, the members and residents are responsible for managing the conflict and seeking professional mediation and arbitration services as needed.

How does the board provide oversight?

The board has a responsibility to make sure that the community upholds its use agreement, and that the property is being maintained and improved for future generations. If the board determines that a community is faltering in its responsibility, they will inform the community that they are out of compliance with their use agreement. If the community is unable to address compliance issues, the board will intervene. One of the key responsibilities of the board is do everything in its power to ensure that the legal and financial risks associated with one property of the trust do not cause unacceptable legal or financial risk to the Evergreen Land Trust, the ELT board, or any other properties or members.