“Renewing our accreditation has exponentially strengthened CMLC,” said Kieran Roe, CMLC executive director. “Every action we take or decision we make as an organization is guided by these adopted standards. The accreditation process prompts us to continually ask the question “how can we do our work even better?”
CMLC is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014. Since 1994, the land trust has protected more than 27,000 acres of natural lands in Henderson, Transylvania, and surrounding counties. Last year alone, CMLC conserved more than 4,000 acres at 21 properties—each single year records for the land trust. Renewed accreditation is another benchmark of the organization’s recent success.
CMLC is one of only 254 land trusts from across the country that are now accredited. 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.
“CMLC is one of the first land trusts to achieve renewed accreditation, a significant achievement for the land trust and significant major milestone for the accreditation program,” 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.”
Each land trust that achieved renewed accreditation submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. “Through accreditation renewal land trusts are part of an important evaluation and improvement process that verifies their operations continue to be effective, strategic and in accordance with strict requirements,” said Van Ryn. “Accredited organizations have engaged 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. Conserving land also increases property values near greenbelts, saves tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development, and reduces the need for expensive water filtration facilities. 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.
CMLC was the first land trust in North Carolina to earn accreditation when the program initiated in 2008, and is the first to be
About the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy partners with landowners and organizations to protect land and water resources vital to our natural heritage and quality of life. Dedicated to saving the places you love, CMLC works to permanently conserve and actively care for an ever-growing regional network of significant farm, forest, park and natural lands. Since 1994, CMLC has conserved more than 27,000 acres in Henderson, Transylvania, and surrounding counties in western North Carolina.
About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., inspires excellence, promotes public trust and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing land trust organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and that strive for continuous improvement. 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. 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 CMLC 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.