Orono Land Trust earns national accreditation

The Orono Land Trust was awarded land trust accreditation from the national Land Trust Alliance earlier this month, according to a recent press release. This accreditation is a mark of distinction in land conservation, indicating to the public that OLT meets national standards for excellence, upholds the public trust and ensures that conservation efforts are permanent.

Orono leads a hike of Newman and Bangor hills in the Caribou Bog Conservation Area in Orono in May 2014.

Orono leads a hike of Newman and Bangor hills in the Caribou Bog Conservation Area in Orono in May 2014.

“Orono Land Trust joins a small, select group of Maine Land Trusts that have achieved national accreditation,” said Jerry Longcore of Orono Land Trust in a prepared statement. “This demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits the entire community. Our land trust is a stronger organization today having gone through the rigorous accreditation program – and this achievement is especially rewarding because OLT is an all-volunteer organization.”

The Orono Land Trust was founded in 1986 through the efforts of Sally Jacobs, the organization’s first president, and many members of the Orono community devoted to land conservation and outdoor recreation. The nonprofit organization’s region of focus includes the municipalities of Orono, Veazie and Old Town.

Piney Knoll Conservation Area,  a 57-acre parcel along the Penobscot River owned and managed by OLT.

Piney Knoll Conservation Area, a 57-acre parcel along the Penobscot River owned and managed by OLT.

To date, the land trust has worked with more than 20 landowners to protect 4,533 acres of ecologically significant lands, recreational lands and other open space and greenways in the region, including 50 miles of multiple-use trails. Additionally, the Orono Land Trust is working with the Bangor Land Trust to conserve a broad corridor between Old Town and Bangor, including much of Caribou Bog, for wildlife and recreation. Lands For Maine’s Future funds have been instrumental in the land conservation process.

“We are proud to display the accreditation seal,” said OLT President Ray Owen, “because it highlights the consistently high level of commitment the OLT Board of Directors has to continue to conserve land for future use in the Orono community and the greater Bangor region.”

OLT is now one of 217 land trusts from across the country have been awarded accreditation since fall of 2008. Bangor Land Trust received accreditation in February.

“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 Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, in a prepared statement. “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.”

1minhike030613-4.JPGFounded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization based in Washington, D.C., that works to strengthen land conservation across the United States. The alliance represents 1,200 member land trusts supported by more than 5 million members nationwide.

Each accredited land trust submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review.

trailvolunteer061715-1.jpg“Through accreditation, land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic,” said Van Ryn in a prepared statement. “Accredited organizations have engaged and trained citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.”

For information about OLT and its conserved lands and trails, visit www.oronolandtrust.org. The land trust is always looking for new members and volunteers willing to help maintain and construct trails for the public. Volunteers are also needed for office tasks.

To see a complete list of all recently accredited land trusts, visit landtrustaccreditation.org/land-trust-locator


Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.