MCHT has been reaccredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, a national board that recognizes conservation organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and strive for continuous improvement. In awarding reaccreditation, the Commission signified its confidence that Maine Coast Heritage Trust lands continue to be managed professionally and will be protected forever.
Accredited land trusts across the country have permanently conserved more than 15 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas that are vital to healthy, vibrant communities. In Maine, there are 23 accredited land trusts and a handful of others have recently applied. First accredited in 2010, MCHT oversees the permanent conservation of more than 32,000 acres of land along the Maine coast, from Kittery to Eastport.
“The accreditation of nearly two dozen organizations is further evidence that the state’s land trust community is committed to excellence and ensuring the lives of Maine people are enriched through conservation,” said Tim Glidden, MCHT President. “This news builds upon a recent Governor’s Office of Policy and Management report on the Land for Maine’s Future program and other similar studies. Together, they demonstrate that land conservation in Maine is being done professionally, improving Maine’s economy, and making our state a better place to live and raise a family.”
MCHT manages more than 100 preserves that are open to the public throughout the year for a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, hunting, clamming, and birdwatching. Staff also host more than 30 field trips each year, to showcase the historical, scenic, and ecological features of these conserved properties. In 2015, MCHT stepped up efforts to enhance visitor experience by improving or establishing new access points at more than twenty sites along the coast. Highlights included new campsites on Casco Bay islands, community gardens in Washington County, experiential youth education programs in several coastal towns, and a wellness trail in Rockport.
Maine Coast Heritage Trust was among 37 land trusts across the United States to achieve accreditation or to have accreditation renewed in February and MCHT is one of 342 land trusts throughout the nation that demonstrate their commitment to professional excellence through accreditation, helping to maintain the public’s trust in their work.
“It is exciting to recognize Maine Coast Heritage Trust with this distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Together, accredited land trusts stand united behind strong national standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever. In all, over 75 percent of private lands conserved by land trusts are now held by an accredited land trust.”
Each accredited land trust meets extensive documentation requirements and undergoes a comprehensive review as part of its accreditation application. The process is rigorous and strengthens land trusts with systems that help landowners and communities achieve their goals. More information about land trust accreditation can be found at landtrustaccreditation.org.
The Commission is an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America.