What is a Land Easement?
Land easements are used extensively in the land acquisition process, thus allowing some rights of ownership to remain with the individual land owner while at the same time protecting the land from commercial development. In 1993, Public Law 101-377 directed the government to “…acquire the minimum Federal interests necessary to achieve the objectives identified for specific areas and the park.” An easement becomes part of a deed and transfers with the deed when property ownership changes. An easement acquired by the United States is a recorded and legally enforceable interest in real estate property.
Gettysburg Foundation, as the principal preservation partner of the National Park Service at Gettysburg, may serve as a land acquisition agent when privately owned land becomes available within the congressionally defined boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park, the Eisenhower National Historic Site and the Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District.
Land Easement Benefits
Benefits of land easement may include any or all of the following:
- Natural resource protection
- Cultural resource protection
- Habitat protection
- Archaeological resource protection
- Scenic values preservation
- Historic integrity preservation
- Enhanced and new interpretive opportunities
- Public access to historic property
- Local tax base impact reduction
What is Involved with Negotiating a Land Easement?
Easement language for property within the defined federal boundaries is negotiated between the land owner and the National Park Service or its agent. An easement is intended to place development and use restrictions on historic land and to assure that private activities will be compatible with preservation and education objectives of the park. Appropriate easement terms and conditions are individually developed for each tract of land in order to assure the desired level of protection. The terms in an easement reflect the type of land, specific resources associated with the land and the long-term goals for the land.
Property ownership may involve many different rights, for example, including the right to farm, build, exclude others from the property, extract minerals and perhaps others — all of which can be bought and sold. The National Park Service acquires some of these rights through the easement process and specific language, allowing the park to use the land for specific preservation objectives. An easement is nearly always in perpetuity, but there may be a temporary easement for a specified time period to allow for construction or other required access.
More Information on Land Easements
Owners of land within the federal boundaries of the park or the historic district may contact the Gettysburg Foundation or the park to discuss their property and to learn more about placing an easement on their land. Interested parties may contact the National Park Service’s land specialist by e-mail or telephone 717-334-7633, or the Gettysburg Foundation at 717-338-1243.