and some or all of its current or future potential
uses are eliminated or restricted.
Although a conservation easement typically
decreases a property’s value, Gibbes says anytime
a parcel of land is restricted from development,
the adjoining land can benefit. “Imagine if your
backyard adjoined a piece of property that could
never be developed,” Gibbes says. “In most cases,
that would be extremely desirable.”
Gibbes says that some of his most reward-
ing assignments deal with premier waterfowl
habitats and hunting preserves, saying that such
assignments provide opportunities to meet other
conservationists. And regardless of what people
think about hunters, Gibbes says they are some
of the best conservationists around. “While
some may not agree with the sport, hunters are
cognizant of the fact that they must be good
stewards of land and wildlife so future genera-
tions may have the same outdoor opportunities
they have enjoyed.”
As a true nature lover, Gibbes encourages all
people to take advantage of the opportunities
nature offers, whatever their background.
“Go camping, hiking or do anything outdoors.
And most importantly, take a youngster along and
expose them to the outdoors and begin to instill
in them the importance of land conservation and
wildlife preservation,” Gibbes says.
that possesses the potential for excellent wildlife
habitat and timber growth is valued higher than
“In the less-than-ideal economic conditions
that have prevailed over the last several years,
the overall value of land has not decreased
substantially in this area,” Gibbes says. “
Marketing times have notably increased and land sales
activity has slowed, but values have held strong,
and in some cases increased. Land is definitely
and will continue to be a very sound investment.”
And that’s especially true for land near a conservation easement.
Real estate appraisers are familiar with the
concept of a conservation easement, which typi-
cally restricts the use of land in such a way that
its scenic or conservation qualities are protected
Chip Gibbes, MAI, is passing on his love of the
land to his sons, Henry ( 5) and Kirk ( 2), on
the family’s 1,500-acre site, Twelvemile Creek,
outside Learned, Miss.
Overall, Walter “Chip” Gibbes III, MAI,
believes that the federal government is doing
a pretty good job of putting land conservation at the forefront. Gibbes says that one
of the smartest things Washington has done
regarding land conservation is to entice the
private sector into entering programs by
offering various financial benefits, including
conservation easements. However, he says,
informational opportunities for children that
promote the importance of land preservation
James Sobiesczyk, communications coordinator at
the Appraisal Institute, is a staff writer for Valuation
magazine and AI’s weekly e-newsletter, Appraiser
News Online. He can be reached at jsobiesczyk@
and wildlife conservation are lacking.
While none of Gibbes’ land is in a perpetual conservation easement, parts of it are
under the aegis of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program.
Under the voluntary program, landowners
agree to implement conservation and land
management practices in exchange for economic incentives for specific time periods,
including annual rental payments and cost-sharing assistance.