Building on 27 years of successful land conservation and stewardship across the North Olympic Peninsula, equating to more than 3,300 conserved acres for farms, fish and forests, North Olympic Land Trust just renewed its land trust accreditation. As part of a network of only 389 accredited land trusts across the nation, this recognition reaffirms the organization’s commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in its conservation work.
“Renewing our accreditation reflects the ongoing dedication to collaborate with our community to conserve the incredible and diverse lands that define Clallam County,” said Tom Sanford, North Olympic Land Trust executive director. “By providing the standards, practices, and the process to ensure our small, rural land trust in the northwest corner of the country is meeting the highest national standards for excellence and conservation performance, we’re able to really focus on doing the work while having the confidence and accountability that comes with accreditation.”
North Olympic Land Trust had to provide extensive documentation and undergo a comprehensive review as part of its accreditation renewal. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded the renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence that North Olympic Land Trust lands will be conserved forever.
Accredited land trusts must renew every five years, confirming their compliance with national quality standards and providing continued assurance to donors and landowners of their commitment to forever steward their land and easements. Almost 20 million acres of farmland, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities are now permanently conserved by an accredited land trust.
Since early 2016 North Olympic Land Trust opened the 280-acre Lyre Conservation Area for non-motorized public recreation, which features the Lyre River estuary, Strait-front shoreline, streams, wetlands, tidelands, kelp beds, bluff backed beaches, and varied forest. Additionally, another 9.5 acres along the Pysht River was conserved, connecting two existing North Olympic Land Trust properties – bringing the Pysht Conservation Area to 74 contiguous acres that includes four wetlands and portions of both the Pysht River and Green Creek. Most recently, the Land Trust completed a successful farmland campaign in early February, allowing for the permanent conservation of the 60-acre, 159-year-old Historic Ward Farm, located in the heart of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.
By working with its community and willing landowners, North Olympic Land Trust has enabled the conservation of thousands of acres critical to Clallam County’s economy, social fabric, and environmental resilience. As the organization looks ahead, emerging conservation projects include a 132 acres of farmland in eastern Clallam County, and more than 30 acres along the mainstem of the Elwha River, which provides some of the best salmon habitat within the Elwha watershed.
“It is exciting to recognize North Olympic Land Trust with this distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Accredited land trusts are united behind strong ethical standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever. Accreditation recognizes North Olympic Land Trust has demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”
North Olympic Land Trust is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the most recent National Land Trust Census, released December 1, 2016 by the Land Trust Alliance. This comprehensive report also shows that accredited land trusts have made significant achievements.
- Accredited land trusts have steadily grown and now steward almost 80 percent of conservation lands and easements held by all land trusts.
- Accredited land trusts conserved five times more land from 2010 to 2015 than land trusts that were not accredited.
- Furthermore, accreditation has increased the public’s trust in land conservation, which has helped win support for federal, state and local conservation funding measures.
North Olympic Land Trust was informed of its reaccreditation in early August, 2017. A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits are detailed at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About North Olympic Land Trust
North Olympic Land Trust is dedicated to the conservation of open spaces, local food, local resources, healthy watersheds and recreational opportunities. Its long-term goal is to conserve lands that sustain the social, ecological and economic vitality of Clallam County. Since its founding in 1990, the Land Trust has conserved more than 3,300 acres across the North Olympic Peninsula for farms, fish and forests.
About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission inspires excellence, promotes public trust and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and strive for continuous improvement. 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. For more, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About the Land Trust Alliance
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. Based in Washington, D.C., and with several regional offices, the Alliance represents about 1,000 member land trusts nationwide.
The Alliance’s leadership serves the entire land trust community—our work in the nation’s capital represents the policy priorities of land conservationists from every state; our education programs improve and empower land trusts from Maine to Alaska; and our comprehensive vision for the future of land conservation includes new partners, new programs and new priorities. Connect with us online at www.landtrustalliance.org.