Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust Earns National Recognition
Accreditation Awarded by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust has achieved land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.
Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits the entire community,” says Chris Devine, Executive Director. “Our land trust is a stronger organization today having gone through the rigorous accreditation program.”
Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust conserved over 13,500 acres of land encompassing over 50 miles of lake and river frontage, 17 islands and over 500 acres of wetlands. They have been pioneers in developing a community approach to conservation that prioritized local economic needs in balance with conservation of natural resources. Also during this time the organization served as the regional coordinator of the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byways program obtaining over $5 million for improvements and enhancements to the Rangeley Region. Beyond general roadway improvements, the enhancements included the Height of Land and Whip Willow scenic overlooks, educational signage and information throughout the byway and public restrooms in Rangeley and Oquossoc. In addition, they created Camp EcoVenture, a summer youth program focusing on outdoor recreation and environmental education that is attended by over 100 youth annually.
Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust was awarded accreditation this August and is one of 317 land trusts from across the country that has been awarded accreditation since the fall of 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 317 accredited land trusts account for more than three quarters 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. 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.
"The Trust's commitment to conservation and community has been strong in the Rangeley Region for over 20 years. Gaining accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission confirms Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust's mission."-Paul Reynolds RLHT President
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 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 at http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/land-trust-locator. More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website, 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 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, D.C., and operated several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.