News Picks

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Nature, family, and love of the land: Ludwigs protect land with Land Trust


PRESS RELEASE: Father & Daughter Protect Land with Washtenaw Land Trust:Ludwig family protects lands totaling 167 acres (Ann Arbor, Freedom Township, Washtenaw County, Michigan)

Bob Ludwig and his daughter, Connie Ludwig, have protected their Freedom Township lands, totaling 167 acres, by donating a conservation agreement to the Washtenaw Land Trust.

Rural living is nothing new for Bob Ludwig. He grew up in a small Indiana town where his grandparents had a farm. From the time he was old enough to reach the pedals, he was working there and became a self-described“country boy.” He bought this property on Bethel Church Road in 1968, and he rents the land to a local farmer to be farmed. In the early 1990s, Bob gave half the property to his daughter Connie, who now calls this land home.

Bob said he’s glad that both of them have protected what has become, for each of them, a truly treasured landscape. He is on the land every day,enjoying the quiet, rolling hills and shady woodlands.

“This is such a lovely property, and by protecting it forever, the Ludwigs have given a great gift to the whole community,” said Charity Steere, chair of the Land Trust’s Land Protection Committee.

“Every day is a great day when I can go out there,” said Bob.

“And to know that this will keep it that way, after you’re not around…You know, I was surprised today. I’ve never really had a feeling that something was different or unusual. But after signing the papers yesterday and going out there today, I had a warm, cozy feeling about that.”

“After I’m gone, I know that others will enjoy the land as I have.”

Like her dad, Connie is also excited that the project is finalized.

“I protected it because this is what I wanted for the land in my heart,and the Washtenaw Land Trust provided a way to make it possible,” said Connie.

“It makes you smile inside to look at the property you love and know that its natural beauty will be preserved forever.”

The conservation agreement, also known as a conservation easement, is a legal agreement that places restrictions on the future development of the property. Under the terms of the agreement, the land can continue to be farmed, and it can be sold or passed on to others, but the land can never be developed.

With the donation of the conservation agreement, the property value of the land decreases because of the restrictions on future development.However, this is offset in part by federal income tax deductions that are available to property owners who donate such an agreement. The loss in land value is considered a donation to the nonprofit Land Trust. The Land Trust,in turn, takes on the responsibility of making sure the land stays protected.

About the Washtenaw Land Trust

The first land trust incorporated in Michigan, Washtenaw Land Trust is a private non-profit that protects – forever – the natural areas and working farms that make our community a great place to live. To date, this growing organization has protected 58 properties totaling 3,330 acres throughout Washtenaw, Jackson, and Ingham counties, through voluntary land conservation. With the Ludwig lands, the Land Trust has protected 799 acres in 2007. For more information, visit, or contact or 734-302-LAND (5263).

Susan Lackey
Executive Director
Washtenaw Land Trust
1100 N. Main St. #203
Ann Arbor, MI 48104