By Marie-José Auclair, President of Appalachian Corridor’s Board of Directors

Although hiking is a low-impact activity for the environment, our behaviours while enjoying the trails can sometimes be devastating and lead to permanent impacts on surrounding flora and fauna. Garbage, fires in forbidden areas, improvised bathrooms in the bushes, and loud hikers; all of these disturbances can unfortunately be damaging to natural habitats and spoil our intimate contact with nature. The principles of the program Leave No Trace (www.leavenotrace. ca) offer an outdoor code of conduct adopted by more than 90 countries and suggest the adoption of key behaviours for the practice of our activities on foot, on bikes, on skis or in kayaks in order to leave natural habitats intact
Appalachian Corridor encourages the adoption of the following seven principles from Leave No Trace:
• Plan ahead and prepare for the unexpected in order to have a safe and pleasant experience.
• To avoid damaging the vegetation and reduce erosion, travel only on established and durable surfaces, and camp on designated sites.
• Dispose of waste properly and don’t leave any items behind.
• Leave what you discover intact so that others may enjoy it too in its most natural state.
• Minimize campfire impacts and preferably use a lightweight stove as a heat source.
• Respect wildlife and avoid disturbing animals, especially during the delicate periods of mating, nesting, or raising young.
• Be considerate of other visitors by limiting excessive noises, let nature’s sounds prevail so that all can enjoy their experience.

Reproduced with the permission of Appalachian Corridor, our partners in conservation.

You own land on the Massawippi Conservation Trust (MCT) territory of action? You are interested in learning more about ecological gifts and the tax benefits you could enjoy? You are curious whether there are prerequisites or fees to this program? What are the resources available to support your conservation project? What type of servitude would allow you to retain ownership of the land while still enjoying tax benefits?

The MCT is the only registered charity in our region certified by Revenue Canada and Environment Canada to acquire and assume stewardship responsibilities for conserved property.
There are four ways to conserve land in Quebec:
1. Fee simple donation – Property is protected in perpetuity and the landowner is no longer responsible for real estate taxes. Under the Ecological Gift Program, a charitable receipt is issued for the fair market value of the property, if eligible, which includes federal and provincial tax credits and no capital gains taxes on the donated property.
2. Real conservation servitude – The landowner retains ownership and chooses which parts of his property will be under servitude. Servitude is a legal agreement between a landowner and a conservation organization under which certain activities are restricted (e.g. subdivision, construction of roads, certain forestry activities). Servitudes may also be eligible for the Ecological Gift Program.
3. Nature reserve on private land – The landowner retains ownership and chooses which part of his property will be under reserve status. A nature reserve must have ecological value, and is a legal agreement between a landowner and the MDDEP (Ministère du Développement Durable, de l’Environment et des Parcs) under which certain activities are restricted (same examples as above). Tax benefits include a reduction of municipal taxes and abrogation of school taxes on the reserved land, but do not include income tax credits.
4. Sell the land to a conservation organization – The landowner receives fair market value for the property, but remains liable for capital gains and receives no tax credits.
Once conserved, the land will be protected in perpetuity by the conservation organization.
The MCT will pay for notary fees to transfer land and/or conservation servitudes, land assessment fees to determine fair market value and capital gain, and ecological assessments to help donors qualify for the federal EcoGift Program. The Trust will also pay municipal taxes on conserved land, monitor the health of natural habitats within conserved properties, ensure that donors’ wishes are respected, and maintain up-to-date liability insurance for approved walking and ski and snowshoeing trails, where applicable.

Would you like more information about conserving land with the Massawippi Conservation Trust?

Contact us at 819 679 5081 or by email [email protected]
We would be happy to chat with you and reply to your questions
Hélène Hamel
Directrice exécutive
Margot Graham Heyerhoff
Présidente de la Fondation Massawippi Foundation (FMF) and Trustee of the Massawippi Conservation Trust (MCT)

To learn more about the Ecological Gift Program with the Federal government:
Ecological Gift Program