Telling Conservation Stories: Landowners Share Why Conservation is Important to Them

“When conserving a piece of land, you do more than just save the land. You save the viewshed, you save water quality, you save a way of living, and wildlife habitat.” – Tom Gleason, Hedgesville, WV

The Safe Water Conservation Collaborative is an emerging partnership in the eastern panhandle that brings together water utilities, land conservation organizations, and community groups with the mission of “protecting drinking water through land conservation”. WV Rivers is proud to serve as the host partner and coordinator of the Collaborative.

Using voluntary conservation easements, the Collaborative helps landowners in the eastern panhandle protect their land from future real estate or commercial development.

What are conservation easements? Good question! Conservation easements are voluntary, legal agreements where landowners protect their land forever from future real estate or commercial development. Landowners have the flexibility to define their specific goals for the property that will be enforced through the easement, ensuring that the land is protected while also retaining their rights to farm the land as they see fit.

“I started to think more like a land steward than a landowner, and that’s because I was getting up there in years and I had to think about what would happen to this when I was gone. Who might move here? What might their beliefs be? Now it’s in good hands, and I can sit back and relax.” –Linda Case, Summit Point, WV

Last year, the Collaborative highlighted six landowners in the eastern panhandle who have protected their land forever with a conservation easement. These landowners told their unique stories through short videos answering the question “why is land conservation important to you”. You can watch their stories below.

Thank you to all of the landowners who shared their stories, and to our partners – in particular, Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle – for their assistance creating the videos.

Learn more about the Collaborative at

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