Why Land Preservation Matters

Preserved land provides benefits to both human communities and natural ecosystems.  For example, protecting parcels in the maritime forest helps ensure high-quality groundwater for the island’s drinking water supply while the forests throughout the Smith Island Complex (Bald Head, Middle and Bluff islands) are used by more than 200 bird species as feeding and nesting grounds or as stopovers during seasonal migrations.  Additionally, a healthy forest canopy provides a buffer against hurricane winds for island infrastructure and its wildlife inhabitants.  Most folks know that the Bald Head Island dune system is an essential nesting location for threatened sea turtle populations, but dunes also offer critical buffering against hurricane and winter storm wave energy. The salt marsh provides abundant food and protection for many coastal marine fish, shellfish, and birds, while it also attenuates erosional currents and augments creek water quality. 
Smith Island Land Trust Post

As the land preservation arm of the Bald Head Island Conservancy, the Smith Island Land Trust (SILT) has preserved over 40 properties in perpetuity, all of which have significant environmental and/or ecological value. The value of donated lands preserved by SILT now exceeds $10 million. With large parcels no longer available for acquisition within the Smith Island complex, SILT now focuses its efforts on the preservation of individual lots to reduce development density, enhance the natural quality of island habitats, and maintain the island’s scenic value.  Whether through the parcel donations, bargain sales and/or the placement of conservation easements on properties, donors become collaborators with SILT in protecting the natural future of BHI.

Click here for a map of SILT properties throughout the Smith Island Complex


Smith Island Land Trust

Personal Reasons to Donate Land

  • Create a permanent privacy buffer
  • Protect natural viewscapes
  • Reduce or eliminate property taxes
  • Lower estate taxes 
  • Potential for savings on itemized income tax returns

Interested in Lot Donation?

Contact SILT Executive Director Dr. Chris Shank ( shank@bhic.org) or SILT Board President Lynn Barnard (lrbarnard@bellsouth.net)

SILT Land Donation Criteria

The purpose of the Smith Island Land Trust, Inc. is the preservation of land within the Smith Island Complex.

Preservation priorities include:

  • Property that has significant maritime forest
  • Property is located in the shear zone of the maritime forest
  • Property with endangered or rare vegetation
  • Property with habitat for sea turtle nesting
  • Property with habitat for shorebird nesting
  • Property that provides for public access to natural areas
  • Marsh property

The officers and staff of the Land Trust will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and help you through the process.  
Simply call the administrative office at 910-457-0089 for assistance.

Where else can you create a legacy, help the island you love, feel good about yourself, and save thousands in taxes!!?

Land Trust Links:
For more SILT information, contact a member of the SILT Staff or Board:

Dr. G. Chris Shank
Executive Director

Lynn Barnard
SILT Board President

Smith Island Land Trust Board of Directors

Lynn Barnard, SILT Board President
Marianna Fitz-Hugh, Secretary
Slaughter Fitz-Hugh, Treasurer
Elayne Bennett
Alan Reyner
Melanie Robbins
Katie Chatas, BHI Conservancy President
Jim Brown
Bill Moser