Bright new growth of needles on the tips of Douglas-fir branches

Donating land

Your precious land can be donated to GaLTT or a government agency to become a community park or nature reserve. Land with low ecological value can be donated to GaLTT, with the understanding that it will be sold and the proceeds used to further conservation work. If you have land that is not earmarked for family members, consider donating it, either directly to a land trust such as GaLTT or to a government agency.

The organization receiving the gift would work with the donor’s representatives to determine how this valuable donation can be used to meet both the donor and organization’s goals and needs.

Possible tax benefits of land donation

The Canada Revenue Agency allows landowners to sell their land for less than its market value to governments or charities, and receive a tax receipt for the difference between the sale price and the market value, a process known as ‘split receipting’.

Speak to your lawyer and financial advisor how this is best done.

Protecting your land with a conservation covenant

If you wish to retain title to the land but want to protect it from development or exploitation in perpetuity, then you can put a legal covenant on the title. You would ask recognised organizations such as GaLTT and/or Islands Trust Conservancy to hold or co-hold the covenant, ensuring that your wishes are honoured. Our Covenants page explains more about how they work.

Some covenanting program options with significant tax benefits include:

  • Ecological Gifts Program—for qualifying ecologically sensitive land; see the Program Handbook
  • NAPTEP (Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program), available for eligible properties in the Islands Trust area

For more information on how to work with GaLTT to donate or covenant land, email

Gabriola’s covenants

There are several covenanted properties on Gabriola, some allowing public access and some not. Two well-known covenanted properties that are open to the public are Robinson Woods and the McRae property.

A person standing on a trail in the forest.

Robinson Woods

A Gabriolan resident who is a US citizen worked with American Friends of Canadian Conservation (AFCC) to covenant her beautiful forested land between Thompson and Cooper, protecting it against development in perpetuity. She continues to live on the land. Before the protective covenant was applied, GaLTT helped to develop walking trails, which the public may still use. GaLTT is a covenant co-holder and annually inspects the land to ensure that the protective covenant is being honoured. GaLTT also helps to maintain and sign the trails and remove invasive species.

Field of flowering shooting star plants

McRae covenant

The McRae family covenanted a large tract of their land between AGI Hall and the Gabriola Museum (whose adjacent land was donated to them in the 1990s by the McRaes). The McRae covenant was arranged through the Islands Trust NAPTEP program.

When the McRaes passed away, Gabriola Museum purchased their land. Because covenants remain on title in perpetuity, the Museum is now honouring the protective covenant. GaLTT is committed to helping the Museum to maintain the land in its natural state.


The Islands Trust Conservancy: NAPTEP

The Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP) is a financial incentive to choose land protection over development. When you register a conservation covenant through NAPTEP, you receive an annual property tax exemption of 65% on the protected portion of your land. This means you save money annually in exchange for leaving the natural areas on your land alone for native species to enjoy. These tax savings can add up quickly, depending on the size of the land you’re able to protect. (Islands Trust website, retrieved 2021-09-09)

Land Trust Alliance of BC (LTABC)—donor guide

If you are considering donating or covenanting land the first thing you should do is review the information available and consult your financial advisor about your options. The LTABC donors’ guide, “Green Legacies“, is a one-stop resource for legal, financial and other professional advisors whose clients wish to create their personal nature legacies. The guide shows how to link client goals with advantageous gift planning options and discover the financial benefits of giving ecologically sensitive land and covenants.

American Friends of Canadian Conservation (AFCC)

US citizens who wish to donate money or environmentally significant Canadian land, or to put a protective covenant on Canadian land may find it advantageous to work with the American Friends of Canadian Conservation (AFCC). AFCC is recognized by the US Internal Revenue Service as a publicly supported charitable organization. Gifts to them are tax deductible in the US and such gifts of land and conservation easements are not subject to Canadian capital gains tax. You may request that your money donation be put toward work on a specific Canadian conservation covenant project.

The AFCC website explains how they work. For specific information, you can call 360-515-7171 or email them at Locally you can email John Peirce at for more information.