A short newsletter of bite-size ideas to chew on for Terrafirma owner-member land trusts, released January, February, May, June, September, October and November.


Posts tagged litigation

Prevailing in court

It is no secret that going to court is expensive and time consuming. Land trusts succeed when they are prepared to meet the documentation, money and people costs of litigation. Preventative spending to head off disputes early and strong resolution skills for differences with landowners and neighbors can reduce the risk of lawsuits. Eventually, however, upholding lasting conservation may force your land trust into court. Great Land Trust in Alaska distilled its insights from a four-year legal battle with a trespasser who cut over 350 trees along with the dumping, spreading and compacting 28 dump truck loads of gravel. This gravel and associated trespassing crushed the forest vegetation, creating dead zones. Great Land Trust’s case management points are essential reading for every land trust!

Thank you,

Tom Kester
Operations Manager and Secretary
Alliance Risk Management Services LLC
Manager for Terrafirma Risk Retention Group LLC

PS: Applications for policy year 2023 open on Dec. 1! Please notify your accounts payable to update their vendor list and change the Terrafirma address to use the new P.O. Box address:


Terrafirma RRG LLC
P.O. Box 1330
Williston, VT 05495-1330


Find Challenges Challenging to Define?

Make plans now to track challenges that you may need to report on your Terrafirma membership confirmation next year. Remember, you do not need to report challenges if there is no damage to the property, nominal volunteer or staff time was needed to address the challenge, and you incurred no out of pocket expenses. To help you keep track of the different types of challenges, please see the definitions below.





includes prohibited structures and uses, excessive recreational activity (such as all-terrain vehicles), surface alteration, timber harvest, and dumping, violation of a management plan and anything else that explicitly violates the stated terms of a conservation easement


includes actions by third parties (neighbors, developers, government and so forth) such as vegetation removal, structural encroachment, fences, topography change and so forth.

Litigation Notice

when you receive written notice that a lawsuit has been filed against the land trust

Verbal or Other Threat of Violation or Trespass

includes threats to violate the conservation easement or trespass on fee land or conservation easement

Disregard of Easement Obligation

this is a catch all section for when a legal challenge does not fit into any other category for example transfer of water rights on paper to a holding company that technically disregards the no severance provision of the conservation easement but functionally retains the water rights in the same ownership

Mediation or Arbitration Notice

when you receive written notice of mediation or arbitration action

Adverse Claim of Legal Right

including adverse possession, contest by heir, boundary challenge, etc.


We’re here to help! If you have any questions about filing claims or anything else, please let us know. Email us at or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.


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