A land trust is an entity under which lands and properties can be protected, with the intention of preserving the areas depending on the wishes of the owner.
The first parcel of land to be included in the Eastern Ontario Land Trust (EOLT) is the McAlpine Forever Forest. Samme Putzel, owner of the land, wants the nearly 100 acres of forest and wetland left untouched.
Putzel explained that owners donating land can decide the way in which lands are protected. Individuals can also place lands under the protection of the trust while retaining ownership.
“In Canada we tend to think that we’ve got so much land, we don’t really have to do anything about preserving it,” said Putzel. “It’s become pretty apparent that it’s not the case.”
Putzel’s wish to preserve the forest was shared by her late husband, Phil Arber. “He loved it a lot,” said Putzel. “At the end of his life, he was looking at the things that were important to him. His one major wish was that the forest be set aside.”
Incorporating the Trust
There are 39 land trusts in Ontario, but none east of Ottawa. The nine people on the EOLT board of directors have decided the Eastern Ontario Land Trust would establish that region as a potential area in which land could be acquired.
The board of directors is filing to incorporate the land trust. The next step will be to apply for charitable status to facilitate donations.
Another 500-acre donation by a private individual is being discussed. Other individuals have promised financial donations once a fund is set up.