May 20, 2024

CSF Supports Land Conservation Legislation in North Carolina

Article Contact: Conner Barker,

Why It Matters: With North Carolina being one of the most rapidly growing states in the country, it is increasingly important to support landowners interested in conserving their property. North Carolina’s private lands provide important access for hunting and fishing, but as properties are developed, wildlife habitat and hunting and fishing access is often lost.


  • Last year, North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) Member Representative Stephen Ross, along with former Caucus Co-Chair Representative John Bell, current Caucus Co-Chair Representative Michael Wray, and Caucus Member Representative Jimmy Dixon, introduced legislation to support land conservation efforts in the state.
  • As part of the two-year session, House Bill 290 the Protect NC’s Military and Working Lands Act (Act), is still up for consideration before the General Assembly.
  • The Act would offer state income tax credits to landowners who donate interests in real property for conservation purposes.

With North Carolina among one of the fastest growing states in the country, proactive efforts to conserve private lands are essential for protecting our time-honored traditions. As farms and forestlands are purchased, they are often subdivided and developed which leads to the loss of hunting and fishing access and fragmentation of fish and wildlife habitat. Incentives like state level tax credits for conservation easements, reduced fee title, and/or donated land for conservation purposes are all tools that states can use to conserve fish and wildlife habitat.

House Bill 290 would allow for an up to 25 percent state tax credit of the fair market value of the donated property of interest for the following purposes: farmland preservation, fish and wildlife conservation, floodplain protection, historic landscape conservation, public trail access, and buffers for military installations.

Prior to sunsetting in 2013, a previous version of this state income tax program led to a 20 percent increase in overall land donations and is credited with protecting 250,000 acres in North Carolina. Other Southeastern states like Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia have similar acts in place that have been successful in conserving private lands.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter of support to House and Senate leadership encouraging them to move the bill this year. Similar provisions were included in the budget that the House passed last year. CSF supports the intent of House Bill 290 whether through standalone legislation or as part of a larger legislative package. CSF applauds the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and partners for their work to incentivize private land conservation in the Tar Heel State.

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