Strong Commitment to Public Trust and Conservation Excellence
Walla Walla, WA (Aug. 26, 2020) – One thing that unites us as a nation is land: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 1999, the Blue Mountain Land Trust has been doing just that for the people of Southeastern Washington and Northeastern Oregon.
Today the Blue Mountain Land Trust announced it has renewed its land trust accreditation – proving again that, as part of a network of accredited land trusts across the nation, it is committed to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in its conservation work.
“There are over 1,300 land trusts in our nation, but only 443 have achieved accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission,” said Land Trust President Linda Herbert. “I am proud of Blue Mountain Land Trust’s re-accreditation, building on the hard work of earlier board and staff members, including Tara Lord and Tom Riley. It speaks to our diligence, transparency, and professionalism as we work to preserve and protect the lands of the Blue Mountain Region.”
The Blue Mountain Land Trust provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence that the Blue Mountain Land Trust’s lands will be protected forever. Accredited land trusts now steward almost 20 million acres – the size of Denali, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Everglades, and Yosemite National Parks combined.
Since its founding 21 years ago, the Blue Mountain Land Trust has acquired 14 conservation easements totaling almost 6,500 acres. By the end of 2020, it expects to close an additional four easements that total 16,618 acres, bringing its easement holdings to 23,118 acres. The Land Trust also hosts very popular natural resources education events every year. In 2019, over 2,000 community members attended one or more of its 40 in-person events. This year, over 3,400 people attended its Wild & Scenic online film festival. The Land Trust is also home to the Blue’s Crew, an all-volunteer group that works with the United States Forest Service to improve the quality and accessibility of trails in the Blue Mountain region.
“It is exciting to recognize the Blue Mountain Land Trust’s continued commitment to national standards by renewing this national mark of distinction,” said Melissa Kalvestrand, executive director of the Commission. “Donors and partners can trust the more than 400 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”
The Blue Mountain Land Trust is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States, according to the Land Trust Alliance’s most recent National Land Trust Census. A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits can be found at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About the Blue Mountain Land Trust
The Blue Mountain Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization that collaborates with communities and landowners to conserve the scenic, natural, and working lands of the Blue Mountain region.
The Land Trust works to protect precious spawning streams for native fish, preserve important wildlife corridors, safeguard our community’s agricultural heritage, and connect people with the land and its abundant natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.
The Land Trust protects land and serves communities in four Washington counties (Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, and Asotin) and seven Oregon counties (Umatilla, Union, Baker, Grant, Wheeler, Gilliam, and Morrow.)
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.