owlOur Mission

The Owl Creek Conservancy is a private nonprofit organization of volunteers dedicated to conserving natural and agricultural lands in the Knox County Area through widespread private action. We work with landowners for the public good to maintain and to improve the quality of life now and in the future by conserving farmlands, stream corridors, aquifer- and watershed-protection areas, wildlife habitats, woodlands, scenic vistas, and ecologically sensitive areas of environmental, historic, and community importance.

Who We Are

 Knox County is endowed with an abundance of beautiful countryside and open space. Both natural areas and working farms contribute to the county's appealing landscape, which the entire community values and enjoys. Unfortunately, encroaching development is altering the historic rural landscape of Knox County.

The Owl Creek Conservancy, a private land trust, is working to conserve woodlands, farmland, scenic open land, waterways, wildlife habitat, and other lands of natural and historic importance in and around Knox County. We recognize that our natural and agricultural heritage enriches the lives of all citizens and that the land-use choices we make today will determine the future character of our community and region.

Owl Creek was the name early settlers gave to the Kokosing River. Most of Knox County lies within the watershed of this clean and scenic river. In choosing this historic name, we acknowledge that our rural land is a precious inheritance from the past that should be managed wisely for future generations.

b7 sheedy morrel 2What We Do

Most of the natural and working landscape of the county is privately owned land. Thus, maintaining the rural character of the community hinges on the decisions of individuals. Many land-use decisions are made in the marketplace, and these decisions often transform the landscape to more intensive uses. But other voluntary decisions by landowners can help conserve our community's natural and agricultural assets.

The Conservancy works in partnership with landowners to permanently conserve important lands from development. The main tool the Conservancy uses to accomplish this goal is a permanent land-protecting agreement called a conservation easement. The Conservancy may also accept gifts of land. Both of these options for conserving land not only benefit our community, but may bring significant tax benefits to donors as well. In addition to taking direct action to conserve land, the Conservancy works to educate the public about the advantages of land conservation, the diverse land assets of Knox County, and the benefits of wise land-use planning.

Why We Do What We Do

The Conservancy works for the public good to maintain and to improve the quality of life now and in the future for all inhabitants of Knox County.

Conservation Comparison

Comparison of Conserving Farmland and Woodland or Other Open Spaces by Private Interests, Private Land Trusts and Public Entities

! Private Interests
All rights held by owner
Private Land Trusts
With rights to land use defined in a land-protecting agreement held by non-profit Trust
Public Entities
For example, local, state or federal preserves or parks
Owner Participation Voluntary
No one is required to own land
Voluntary Not Applicable
Private land may become public through donation or voluntary/involuntary purchase
Agricultural or Open Space Preserved Uncertain
Change in land use continually possible
Yes, permanently Yes
Or developed as permitted by law
Development Possible Yes
As allowed by local zoning and state/federal regulations
Or minimally as allowed by a land-protecting agreement
Or developed as permitted by law and as determined by park commissioners
Public Access None
Without permission
Or as allowed by a land-protecting agreement
Extent depending on use
Real Estate Taxes Due Yes Yes
(Possible reduction, if not enrolled in CAUV)
(Possibly, if income generated)
Tax Benefits to Owner None Yes
Donation of land-protecting agreements or land may be deductible according to IRS rules
Donation of land-protecting agreements or land may be deductible according to IRS rules
Benefit to Public Not Applicable
By definition, benefits would be private
Permanent conservation of farmland/green infrastructure
Meets intended societal purpose
Expense to Public Yes
Infrastructure for development
Other than possible foregone taxes
Possible foregone taxes, required infrastructure, annual cost of maintenance/personnel