Frequently Asked Questions
What is a 'Land Trust'?
A land trust is a non-government, non-profit organization established to preserve land and water resources for the benefit of the public. Most often, the resources being preserved have natural, recreational, scenic or historic value. When used in this manner, the term “trust” means the resource is made permanently safe against harmful uses. Land trusts can be local, regional or nationwide in focus and are funded largely through membership dues and donations. They vary in size from small land trusts operated by volunteers to organizations that employ professional staff to own and manage their lands. These organizations can own thousands of acres. Most land trusts have charitable status.
Who owns the Rideau Waterway Land Trust?
There is no “owner” of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust. Everyone who shares an interest in the Land Trust and wants to become a supporter is welcome. The members elect a Board of Directors from the community who take responsibility for the affairs of the Land Trust. Community supporters volunteer their time to ensure the success of the programs of the Land Trust. There are no political appointments to the Board and the Land Trust operates at arm’s length with all levels of government or government agencies.
How does the Rideau Waterway Land Trust preserve land?
The volunteers of the Land Trust provide advice on the preservation strategies that best meet a landowner’s conservation and financial needs. These strategies may include donating or occasionally selling parcels of land to the Land Trust, thereby putting the land under permanent protection.
If I donate my land to the RWLT, how do I know it will be preserved in perpetuity?
The RWLT has a policy of placing funds in its Land Stewardship Reserve Fund to ensure that funds will be available to maintain and pay the expenses involved with land ownership. In fact, many donors of land contribute to this fund to help ensure that their land donations are maintained in perpetuity. The members of the Land Trust feel strongly in passing a legacy to the next generation that includes both lands and the funds to maintain the lands. If the Rideau Waterway Land Trust should ever have to wind down, legislation that regulates charities ensures that the assets of the Land Trust will pass to another like-minded charity.
Are the lands the Rideau Waterway Land Trust owns open to the public?
The lands owned by the RWLT are either Community Lands or Conservation Lands. Community Lands are those lands that the public is invited to use. The Land Trust does charge a supporter fee for entry at Rock Dunder, either as a daily or an annual pass. We welcome everyone to enjoy our community properties; all we ask is that visitors respect the properties natural features. In extreme cases, if the natural features of a community property are being harmed or are at risk in any way, then the Land Trust may choose to close the property or an area of the property. Community Lands, including Rock Dunder, are open to visitors only from sunrise to sunset May 15 to November 15. Please check this RWLT website periodically for any changes in access time to our Community Lands as information on other websites may not be up-to-date.
The other category of properties is Conservation Lands. These properties are often the most sensitive of the natural lands or the RWLT does not have the volunteer or financial resources to keep all these lands open to the public. As volunteers come forward and funds are found the RWLT will consider expanding its community lands.
How is the Rideau Waterway Land Trust funded?
Most of the Land Trust’s funding comes from donations from generous families and businesses in the area. All families living in the Rideau community are encouraged to support the Land Trust through donations or support of special events, and many do. They want our future generations to be able to enjoy these natural and open spaces.
Our Supporters are an essential part of the funding for our projects and they frequently are volunteers who are active in the securement of our properties.
The most important role a strong supporter base plays is that it shows funders and government agencies from outside the Rideau Corridor that our Land Trust has earned the support of the community. This support is an essential factor, which funders and government agencies look for when they make decisions to support the Land Trust programs financially.
Are there other land trusts in other communities?
Yes, the land trust movement is well established and growing in many provinces in Canada . There are 160 Land Trusts across Canada. Most land trusts have accepted the Canadian Land Trust Standards and Practices as the ethical and technical guidelines for operating a land trust. Like the Rideau Waterway Land Trust these organizations are committed to serving their communities while upholding these Standards and Practices.