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Declarations of Public Trust: Clear Intentions and Strong Protection


Pennsylvania law favors the protection of public parks, open spaces, and natural resources. But leaving things to the operation of law invites serious (and sometimes surprising) risks. In some instances, residents may find themselves without clear recourse to prevent the loss or repurposing of supposedly protected land. In others, unforeseen legal challenges may foil local governments’ pursuits of otherwise legitimate public projects. Establishing clear, well-reasoned guardrails with a formal “declaration of public trust.” can help minimize these potential problems. This session will begin with a short overview of applicable legal doctrines, followed by an in-depth review of the Model Declaration of Public Trust; a legal tool that enables local governments to clarify intentions and enhance protection.

$25.00 (free for WeConservePA members) | $15 Continuing Legal Education Fee (Optional)


Reach out to [email protected] if you need your member code.


Justin Hollinger | Director of Conservation Law, WeConservePA

Justin Hollinger joined WeConservePA in 2023. A member of the PA Bar, Justin provides legal resources to PA land conservation organizations. His projects include maintaining and updating WeConservePA’s library of model documents and resources, providing legal education, facilitating ongoing cooperation between land conservation attorneys and land conservation personnel, and providing direct legal services.

Prior to joining WeConservePA, Justin represented Pennsylvania affordable housing nonprofits in complex real estate transactions. He received his J.D., summa cum laude, from Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law, and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Temple University.


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