Cross-border Conservation Training Program

Recognizing that American-owned lands are key conservation properties in many of Ontario’s most ecologically significant and threatened landscapes, the Ontario Trillium Foundation is funding a three-year partnership between the Ontario Land Trust Alliance and American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts. With that support our two organizations launched the Cross-border Conservation Training Program (CCTP) early in 2016.


Our goal is to increase the collective capacity of Ontario conservation organizations to be successful at “cross-border conservation” – to secure high-priority conservation properties owned wholly or partly by US taxpayers – and to bring more funding to support such work. CCTP will offer training opportunities for land trusts and government agencies in the form of workshops and one-on-one mentoring. CCTP also has funds for mapping, communications resources, and a small grants program to assist OLTA members with the costs of initiating cross-border conservation gifts. Other priority activities include outreach to the attorneys, accountant and estate planners who advise Americans with Canadian property. It is critical that they are aware of the financial incentives available to conservation-oriented landowners, and how those incentives interact with succession planning.

The Rainy Lake Conservancy is using cross-border conservation easements to preserve the pristine character of a part of Ontario where an estimated 70% of the islands are owned by Americans.

The Old Man Creek Preserve was saved from subdivision and development by an American who acquired the land and donated it to American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts in a transaction facilitated by the Magnetawan Watershed Land Trust.

Rainy Lake Conservancy, Georgian Bay Land Trust, Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy, Magnetawan Watershed Land Trust and the Bruce Trail Conservancy have all partnered with AF to secure one or more of these cross-border conservation gifts.  In Ontario, 12 cross-border gifts combine to protect over 800 acres since 2011.  US income tax benefits made these gifts financially feasible for the owners, many of whom have passed their Canadian properties down through generations. The total appraised value of these gifts is over $6 million USD.

Bostonians Mary Nelson and Polly Naughton, shown here in the 1930’s, were the first donors to American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts in a transaction facilitated by the Georgian Bay Land Trust in 2011. The 5th generation of their family is now coming to Ingersoll Island.

Three generations of the White family, originally form Chicago, have treasured their Canadian retreat and protected it for future generations using the first Ontario cross-border conservation easement in a gift facilitated by the Rainy Lake Conservancy to American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts.

Conservation organizations can help develop the program by completing this short, online survey.

Professional advisors and conservationists can gain more information and become involved by contacting:

Kristen Callow
OLTA Program Officer


Sandra Tassel
American Friends Program Coordinator
(360) 515-7171