December 17, 2014
Blue Mountain Land Trust Earns National Recognition Accreditation Awarded by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
By Tim Copeland, Executive Director
The Blue Mountain Land Trust announced today it has achieved land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.
“The accreditation process demonstrates that land trusts nationwide operate professionally, following generally accepted best practices, and are committed to fulfilling the responsibility of protecting lands forever,” said Andrea Burkhart, president of the Blue Mountain Land Trust. “Thanks to the accreditation process, we’ve implemented high standards of governance, management and operational excellence. These steps demonstrate to the public that private land conservation really matters and deserves support.”
“Accreditation with the Land Trust Alliance is something the board and staff have worked to obtain for quite some time,” said Beth Kreger, the Land Trust’s president-elect. “We could not have accomplished such a significant achievement without our supporters.”
The Blue Mountain Land Trust serves Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield and Asotin counties in Washington and Umatilla and Union counties in Oregon. It was founded in 1999 and has worked with conservation-minded landowners to protect over 800 acres of working farms and forests in the region. Last year, the trust conserved a 238-acre farm that has been in the same family ownership for over 100 years. It is currently working to conserve a 3,000-acre cattle ranch and hopes to acquire its conservation easement in early 2015.
The Blue Mountain Land Trust was awarded accreditation this month and is one of only 285 land trusts from across the country that has been awarded accreditation since 2008. Accredited land trusts are authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.
“This round of accreditation decisions represents another significant milestone for the accreditation program; the 285 accredited land trusts account for three quarters of the 20,645,165 acres currently owned in fee or protected by a conservation easement held by a land trust,” said Land Trust Accreditation Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. “Accreditation provides the public with an assurance that, at the time of accreditation, land trusts meet high standards for quality and that the results of their conservation work are permanent.”
Each accredited land trust submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. “Through accreditation land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic,” Van Ryn said. “Accredited organizations have engaged and trained citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.”
According to the Land Trust Alliance, conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water; provide safe, healthy food; secure scenic landscapes and recreational places; and maintain habitat for the diversity of life on earth. Conserving land can also increase property values near greenbelts, save tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development and reduce the need for expensive water filtration facilities. Across the country, communities have come together to form more than 1,700 land trusts to save the places they need and love. To date, over 47 million acres of farms, forests and parks have been conserved, including land transferred to public agencies and protected via other means. Strong, well-managed land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and caretakers of their critical land resources, and safeguard the land through the generations.
“We are proud to display the accreditation seal and represent communities across our service area knowing that we are holding ourselves to the very highest of standards,” said Tom Reilly, the Blue Mountain Land Trust’s conservation director. “Accreditation is not just a one-time event but rather a way of doing business every day.”
About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., awards the accreditation seal to community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. See a complete list of all recently accredited land trusts online. More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website.
About The Land Trust Alliance
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the place people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,200 member land trusts supported by more than 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, DC, and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available online.