The Archaeological Land Trust of Nova Scotia
Protecting Nova Scotia’s Archaeological Resources




Our Land Protection Tools

Three basic mechanisms are currently available to property owners and the Land Trust to protect archaeological sites. Each has different legal and ownership conditions, and provides a different type of protection for the archaeological resources.

Stewardship Agreements

A landowner can enter into a stewardship agreement with the land trust. The purpose of a stewardship agreement is to provide a way for the landowner and the land trust to work together to protect the archaeological resources. Under this agreement the landowner manages the property in accordance with the provisions of a stewardship plan developed in cooperation with the land trust.

This type of agreement allows a moderate degree of protection for the archaeological resources without entering into a legal agreement. The terms of the agreement can be tailored to meet the needs of the landowner and the Land Trust. The disadvantage of a Stewardship Agreement is that it is voluntary and only protects the land while the landowner owns the property. ALTNS will gladly provide examples of stewardship agreements to prospective landowners for review.

Conservation Agreements

What is a conservation agreement?
An conservation agreement is made between a landowner and ALTNS, and permanently limits the use of the land. It is a legally binding agreement that is publicly recorded and runs with the property deed for a specified time, or in perpetuity, with the intent to conserve some aspects of the property.

The conservation agreement specifies what activities are allowed and what activities are restricted on the property. Restrictions might include development, surface mining, dredging, and other actions that would damage the conservation value of the property. These restrictions need not diminish the current owner’s use of the land. For example, a landowner might give up the right to build additional buildings, while retaining the right to grow crops. An agreement may apply to just a portion of the property and does not require public access.

Each conservation agreeement is tailored to meet the specific needs of the landowner and the conservation purposes of the land trust. It is a way for landowners to protect their land while retaining title. The agreement stays with the property no matter who owns it, just as a road or utility easement does.

Such an agreement may also result in property tax savings, but it does not absolve the property owner from traditional owner responsibilities (i.e., property tax, upkeep). Future owners of the property are bound by the terms of the conservation agreement, however it allows the landowner to continue to own and use his or her land and to sell it or pass it on to heirs.

Who can grant a conservation agreement?
A conservation agreement is a voluntary land-protection tool that is privately initiated. The property owner is the only person who can place a conservation agreement on a property, and when several people own a property all owners must take part in the agreement. If there is a mortgage on the property, the mortgage holder must also accept the agreement.

Who is part of the agreement?
Since the agreement is usually in perpetuity (that is, forever), a Land Trust is typically responsible for the monitoring of the conservation agreement. The Land Trust makes sure that current and future property owners adhere to the terms of the agreement.
The agreement also gives the Land Trust the responsibility to monitor and enforce the property restrictions imposed by the agreement. The Archaeological Land Trust of Nova Scotia ensures compliance with the terms of the agreement by committing to regular monitoring and annual visits to the property.

What are the responsibilities of the Land Trust?
The Land Trust must enforce the requirements stipulated in the agreement. These responsibilities include:


Acquisition is the most straightforward type of protection measure that the Archaeological Land Trust of Nova Scotia (ALTNS) can provide. Acquisition occurs when ALTNS becomes the owner of an archaeological site, either through donation or purchase of the land.

With acquisition, the landowner conveys the property to ALTNS, which then becomes the legal owner of the property and takes on all responsibilities associated with ownership, including payment of taxes, liability, and the protection of archaeological resources.

ALTNS’s Fair Market Value Policy forbids the land trust from paying more that the appraised value for any property.