Bainbridge Island Land Trust Earns National Recognition
Accreditation Awarded by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
Bainbridge Island, Washington – The Bainbridge Island Land Trust earned national recognition last week when it was formally “accredited” by the independent Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The national accreditation seal of approval caps a rigorous two-year review of all of the Land Trust’s records, conservation easements, and standards and practices. 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 trusts.
“The accreditation process challenged us every step of the way and, in the end, we have come through it as a much stronger and more competent organization,” says Connie Waddington, B.I. Land Trust board member. “We are delighted to be recognized among organizations nationwide that meet the highest standards for land conservation and stewardship.”
The Bainbridge Island Land Trust was founded in 1989 and has worked with 54 conservation-minded landowners to protect more than 1,250 acres of woodlands and shoreline on the Island. “Bainbridge Island Land Trust’s accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits the entire community,” said Tom Goodlin, current B.I. Land Trust president.
Bainbridge Island Land Trust was awarded accreditation last week and is one of only 201 land trusts from across the country that has been accredited since fall of 2008. Accredited land trusts are authorized to publicly display a seal indicating 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 201 accredited land trusts account for half of the 20,645,165 acres currently owned in fee or protected by a conservation easement held by a land trust,” said 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,” said Van Ryn. “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; safe,healthy food; scenic landscapes and views; recreational places; and habitat for the diversity of life on earth. In addition to health and food benefits, conserving land increases property values near greenbelts, saves tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development, and reduces the need for expensive water filtration facilities. Across the country, local citizens and communities have come together to form more than 1,700 land trusts to save the places they love. Community leaders in land trusts throughout the country have worked with willing landowners to save over 47 million acres of farms, forests, parks and places people care about, 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.
About the Bainbridge Island Land Trust:
The Bainbridge Island Land Trust was founded in 1989 and has worked with 54 conservation-minded landowners to protect more than 1,250 acres of woodlands and shoreline on the Island. Twenty-four years after its founding, BILT has helped to protect 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 agreements on 42 private and 5 publicly owned properties) encompassing 708 acres, with an additional 80 acres owned by the Land Trust outright. In addition, the Land Trust has worked with other partners to acquire and preserve another 465 acres of land as public parks and natural areas.
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 21 recently accredited land trusts online at http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/newsroom/press-releases. More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About The Land Trust Alliance:
The Land Trust Alliance, of which Bainbridge Island Land Trust is a member, is a national conservation group that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America. It works to increase the pace and quality of conservation by advocating favorable tax policies, training land trusts in best practices and working to ensure the permanence of conservation in the face of continuing threats. The Alliance publishes Land Trust Standards and Practices and provides financial and administrative support to the Commission. It has established an endowment to help ensure the success of the accreditation program and keep it affordable for land trusts of all sizes to participate in accreditation. More information can be found at www.landtrustalliance.org.