Land Trust Alliance lauds Hutson for legislative push

Mary Pope Maybank Hutson ’83, Sweet Briar’s vice president for alumnae relations and development since Jan. 1, recently was recognized by the Land Trust Alliance, where she worked prior to accepting the position at the College.

Mary Pope Hutson and The Montana Land Reliance's Rock Ringling celebrate at the Feb. 4 reception. Photo: https://www.instagram.com/ltalliance/
Mary Pope Hutson and The Montana Land Reliance’s Rock Ringling celebrate at the Feb. 4 reception. Photo: https://www.instagram.com/ltalliance/

The Alliance held a special reception on Thursday, Feb. 4, to celebrate the passage of legislation to make permanent the enhanced tax incentive for conservation easement donations. Hutson, former executive vice president of the Land Trust Alliance, was honored for her role in achieving the victory at the reception, with remarks by a board member and two land trust leaders.

A statement from the Alliance noted that Hutson led its policy team, which had prioritized the initiative for the past 10 years.

“Mary Pope built a coalition over those years, training land trust leaders in advocacy, raising funds to fuel the campaign, creating a conservation coalition and a coalition of charities from other sectors in support of the legislation and advocating on Capitol Hill herself,” the statement read.

“In an era of hyperpartisanship, the legislation is notable for its bipartisan support. The House voted 318-109 and the Senate voted 65-33 to pass the bills that included the incentive, and the president signed it into law on Dec. 18, 2015.”

The tax incentive encourages landowners to place conservation easement on their land to protect important natural, scenic and historic resources. First enacted in 2006, the incentive is responsible for conserving more than two million acres of America’s natural outdoor heritage, according to the Land Trust Alliance.

Lands placed into conservation easements can continue to be farmed, grazed, hunted, or used for outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation, while remaining on county tax rolls.

“This legislation truly changes the culture of conservation in America,” Hutson said. “The incentive for farmers, forest landowners and ranchers will catalyze the promise of working lands in America, remaining productive for all communities and the generations who follow us.”