A celebration is underway at Estes Valley Land Trust! Your local land trust was recently awarded renewed land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. The official announcement was received on February 26th.

“This achievement demonstrates EVLT’s commitment to permanent land conservation and the rigorous accreditation renewal process,” said Mary Banken, Executive Director. “Our staff members, land owners, volunteers and Board have worked vigorously to uphold the ever-increasing high standards of the Land Trust Alliance. We are proud to achieve reaccreditation, making us a stronger organization to benefit the entire community.”

acc seal2EVLT was nationally accredited in 2008 as one of a prestigious first group of 39 to be awarded this designation. Re-accreditation in February means EVLT is among the first 16 land trusts to achieve renewal. 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.

Founded 27 years ago, EVLT now administers the stewardship responsibilities of 159 conservation easements (nearly 9,600 acres) in the Estes Valley and surrounding area. In spite of a September flood of epic proportions which affected many properties, EVLT completed its renewal application in December 2013. Working with over 100 volunteer monitors and numerous conservation-minded landowners, EVLT continues to engage citizen conservation leaders and improve systems for ensuring that conservation work is both permanent and beneficial.

“EVLT is an important member of the 254 accredited land trusts that protect more than half of the 20,645,165 acres currently owned in fee or protected by conservation easement held by a land trust,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. “Accreditation renewal, which must be completed every five years, provides the public with an assurance that accredited land trusts continue to meet exceedingly high standards for quality.”

According to the Land Trust Alliance, each land trust that achieved renewed accreditation submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review to verify that their operations continue to be effective, strategic and in accordance with strict requirements.

According to the Land Trust Alliance, over 1,700 land trusts now operate across the country to save places that people love. In addition to health and food benefits, conserving land increases property values, saves tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development, and, in the Estes Valley, draws tourists to view the scenic beauty and wildlife. Over 47 million acres of farms, forests, and parks are now protected as conserved land.

Strong, well-managed land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and caretakers of their critical land resources, to be safeguarded through the generations. EVLT is proud to be an accredited member of the Land Trust Alliance and will work in the future to maintain the required high standards.

Please visit EVLT’s website at www.evlandtrust.org to learn more about our mission and share your questions and concerns. We welcome your membership and your participation in accomplishing our goals.