The Nisqually Land Trust announced last week that it has been awarded national accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, a mark achieved so far by fewer than 15 percent of land trusts nationwide.
The status was granted by the commission following a two-year evaluation of the Nisqually organization.
“Accreditation demonstrates the quality of our commitment to permanent land conservation,” said J.W. Foster, Nisqually Land Trust’s president. “It’s a rigorous process, and we’re a stronger organization today for having gone through it.”
Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, said the accreditation process requires trusts to “conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic. Accredited organizations have engaged and trained citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.”
The Nisqually Land Trust, founded in 1989, has permanently protected over 4,500 acres of wildlife habitat in the Nisqually River watershed, which runs from Mount Rainier National Park to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
Acquisitions have included Mashel River shoreline in the Eatonville area.
The right to display the national accreditation seal indicates that the Nisqually Land Trust meets national standards for excellence, upholds the public trust and ensures that its conservation efforts are permanent, officials said.
“Land trusts are gaining higher profiles with their work on behalf of citizens, and the seal of accreditation is a way to prove to their communities that land trusts are worthy of the significant public and private investment in land conservation,” said Rand Wentworth, president of Land Trust Alliance, a national conservation organization. The accreditation commission is part of the group.
There are more than 100 accredited land trusts in Michigan, Colorado, California, Vermont and Georgia, among other states. In Washington, Nisqually Land Trust follows the lead of Jefferson Land Trust on the Olympic Peninsula, which was accredited in 2009.