What is a conservation easement?

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. Landowners retain many of their rights, including the right to own and use the land, sell it, and pass it on to their heirs.

What are the benefits of conservation easements?

Conservation easements allow people to protect the land they love, and are the number-one tool available for protecting privately owned land. All conservation easements must provide public benefits, such as water quality, farm and ranch land preservation, scenic views, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, education, or historic preservation.

For more information see the King County Conservation Futures Program

When was the conservation easement put on the Wayne Golf Course property?

In 1996, King County acquired the development rights of 45.61 acres on the front nine of the Wayne Golf Course. King County, in cooperation with the City of Bothell, paid $889,776 to the owners of Wayne Golf Course for the rights. Funds for the purchase were made possible by the 1993 Regional Conservation Futures Acquisition Program paid for by taxpayers. The 1997 assessed value of the land was $352,100.

In September 1997, the owners of Wayne Golf Course and King County signed an open space taxation agreement. This was done under RCW 84.34. The agreement lowered the property tax by 90 percent on the whole front nine—totaling 50.3 acres. This taxation area included the clubhouse and parking area.

See the Conservation Easement and Open Space Taxation Agreement Sept 1997 for more details.


How does a conservation easement restrict use of the Wayne Golf Course property?

The front nine has a Conservation Easement on the large area of 45.61 acres below:


This confines the use of the property to the following:

  1. Golf course.
  2. Low impact, passive use open field recreation use.
  3. Open space park facility, provided however that activities such as ball field, courts and gyms are not allowed.
  4. Open field agriculture use.
  5. Wildlife and/or horticultural use.

See the Conservation Easement for more details.

Are conservation easements permanent?

In most cases, yes. Most easements “run with the land,” meaning that all owners, not just the original owner that come after them are subject to the easement. A few conservation programs use temporary easements – but only permanent conservation easements qualify for income and estate tax benefits. Wayne has a permanent conservation easement on the front nine.