We purchased 100 acres of bushland in 1993 intending to retain most of it in its natural state because we were so concerned that not enough was being retained by the state for conservation (that is, not being regularly burnt, being logged, mined or otherwise harmed or exploited).
We were delighted some years later to discover the National Trust’s Conservation Covenant program as a means of protecting our land into the future. We entered into a covenant with the National Trust after lengthy discussions with our adult children, who all supported it entirely.
Consultation with Conservation Officers was extensive. They considered our needs for running our business and living on the property, incorporating these into the decisions made around which areas were to be marked for conservation (known as the bushland) and which areas would be available for our business operations (known as the farmland, though we don’t operate a ‘farm’ business here), which would not impact on the bushland.
As we had mountain bike trails already and wanted to incorporate the trails into our tourism eco-accommodation business, we had to agree to some conditions which are not onerous. In fact, we were already doing them as part of our trail observation and maintenance. The National Trust was also able to suggest measures we may need in the future that we had not even thought of at that point, which may come into play in the years to come.
However, the most interesting service provided to us as a covenanter is the flora and fauna lists prepared by the National Trust (starting with our observations and then their own to corroborate and add to our sightings) and updated at every stewardship visit. Also useful is the information on pest and weed species found on the property and how best to deal with them.
Many of our guests comment on how lovely the bush property is and we are proud to tell them about our covenant and explain that any future owners will have to protect the bushland and retain it in its natural state.