A trail easement is a voluntary, legally enforceable agreement between a landowner and a trail organization or local or state agency where the landowner promises to preserve a linear corridor of land, keep it substantially free of future development, and make it available for public use. Such an agreement would include restrictions on the type and extent of public access permitted (i.e. hiking, horseback riding, etc.). A trail easement runs with the land in perpetuity and is binding on future owners. The trail corridor remains the property of the owner and may be conveyed to other owners, though the trail easement remains in place.
An easement may be donated or sold to a trail group, municipality, or public agency based on its appraised fair market value. Donations of land or development rights are tax deductible in most instances, with the amount of the deduction depending on the value of the easement and the financial circumstances of the owner. 

H ow can the "Trail Easements" tool be used in the
Brandywine Creek Greenway (BCG)?

  • Trail easements can be utilized for any planned trail as illustrated on the Recreation and Alternative Transportation Priorities Map in the Brandywine Creek Greenway Strategic Action Plan (page 38, Figure 5).
  • The tool is especially useful for any existing footpath that currently occurs on private property with verbal permission from the landowners. Trail easements would formalize the use of the trail and ensure that it will be open to the public in perpetuity. 

Email  sfleming@brandywine.org   for assistance with any of the tools in the BCG Toolkit.