BILT is a 501(c)(3) Washington state private, nonprofit corporation. It is a qualified conservation organization under IRS Code Section 170(h). As a member of the national Land Trust Alliance (LTA), BILT has adopted the LTA's Standards and Practices which guide land trusts to operate ethically and legally.
Currently, the Land Trust has about 650 members. The organization is fully supported by private donations and public grants.
The Bainbridge Island Land Trust was started in 1989 by architects Nate Thomas, Jim Cutler, Mike Ryherd, a state lobbyist and Paul Kundtz, an attorney. This group and others were concerned about growth on Bainbridge Island and established the Land Trust to provide a mechanism for landowners to protect and preserve their property.
The first two conservation easements followed quickly after the organization's inception. Willowbrook Farm, at the corner of Highway 305 and Day Road, was originally slated to become a driving range. The Land Trust worked to acquire the property, sell it to a conservation-minded buyer and place a conservation easement on the piece, protecting the scenic rolling hills and meadows we enjoy today.
Phyllis Young placed the second conservation easement on her property at Battle Point Spit on the west side of Bainbridge Island soon after the Willowbrook Farm transaction was completed. The agreement with the Land Trust protects a marine estuary and important shoreline habitat.
Twenty-five years after its founding, the Land Trust has helped to protect over 1,275 acres of vulnerable forestlands, wetlands, meadows, shorelines, agricultural lands, riparian corridors and scenic vistas, of which more than 950 acres are open to the public. The Land Trust holds 47 conservation easements (permanent land protection agrements on 42 private and 5 publicly owned properties) encompassing 708 acres, with an additional 80 acres owned by the Land Trust outright. Finally, 465 acres in which the Land Trust currently holds no real property interest have been preserved as public parks and natural areas through Land Trust acquisition efforts or with Land Trust assistance.In 2013, the Land Trust was
formally "accredited" by the independent Land Trust Accreditation
Commission. The accreditation seal confirms that the Bainbridge Island
Land Trust meets the highest standards for excellence, upholds the public's
trust, and ensures that its conservation efforts are permanent. The
accreditation seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation among land