Display to header level
In Pennsylvania, local governments may give money, land and easements to land trusts.
If the governing body of a Pennsylvania local government unit deems it to be for the public benefit, it may:
Local government units that may make such transfers to land trusts include:
If a local governing board wants to appropriate money to a land trust for open space protection within the boundaries of another local government unit, it must do so in accordance with an intergovernmental cooperation agreement between the government units.
Through 2006, uncertainty existed as to the legality of local governments supporting land trusts financially or transferring property to them. Some land trusts and local governments had formed relationships but the absence of clear statutory authorization and cumbersome workarounds used to address this lack led others to not form relationships.
The General Assembly eliminated the problem with the passage of House Bill 183 (printer’s no. 4383), which amended Pennsylvania’s open space law  to add an entirely new section authorizing local government support of land trusts (Section 11.1). Governor Rendell signed the bill into law as Act 154 of 2006 on November 29, 2006.
Act of January 19, 1968, (1967 P.L.992, No.442), as amended, Section 11.1 Land Trusts.
 Section 2. Definitions. (5) “Local government unit.”
Representative Chris Ross (R) of Chester County introduced and championed the legislation in the General Assembly. The bill passed the Senate 49-0 and the House 196-0.
Pennsylvania’s open space law, “Preserving Land for Open Air Spaces Act of January 19, 1968, (1967 P.L.992, No.442),” authorizes “the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the local government units thereof to preserve, acquire or hold land for open space uses.”
Andrew M. Loza authored the guide.
The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association published this guide with support from the William Penn Foundation, the Colcom Foundation and the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, Environmental Stewardship Fund, under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.
Nothing contained in this or any other document available at ConservationTools.org is intended to be relied upon as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. The material presented is generally provided in the context of Pennsylvania law and, depending on the subject, may have more or less applicability elsewhere. There is no guarantee that it is up to date or error free.
© 2015 Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Text may be excerpted and reproduced with acknowledgement of ConservationTools.org and the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.