WINTHROP — The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, a program that promotes national quality standards for ensuring permanence in the conservation of American lands, announced that more than 400 land trusts have now earned the national accreditation mark of distinction. This new total came as 39 land trusts, including the Kennebec Land Trust, were recognized for having completed the rigorous process required to achieve first-time or renewed accreditation.

KLT provided extensive documentation to the Accreditation Commission and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction. In awarding accreditation, the Commission signified its confidence that KLT’s lands will be protected forever. Accredited land trusts like KLT steward almost 20 million acres of land — comparable to the entire State of Maine.

“It is exciting to recognize KLT with this national mark of distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Donors and partners can trust that the more than 400 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”

KLT incoming board president Kim Vandermeulen, chair of KLT’s accreditation committee, worked on the application requirements with current president Mary Denison, director Bob Marvinney, and staff members Theresa Kerchner and Jean-Luc Theriault, with the support of accreditation volunteers Jane Davis and Donna Buck.

Upon receiving notification of the Commission’s decision, Mary Denison noted, “Receiving LTA Accreditation is huge achievement and we are very proud to be able to display the accreditation seal, which confirms that the Kennebec Land Trust is conducting business at the highest possible standard. The seal also underscores our continued commitment to honor the intent of our land donors, while providing public access to beautiful conservation woodlands, lakes, and streams.”

Founded in 1988, The Kennebec Land Trust works cooperatively with landowners and communities to conserve the forests, shorelands, fields, and wildlife that define central Maine. KLT protects land permanently, offers opportunities for people to learn about and enjoy the natural world, and works with partners to support sustainable forestry and farming. With the support of more than 1,048 member households, businesses and municipalities KLT has conserved more than 6,200 acres with more than 15 miles of undeveloped shoreline. Its properties feature more than 45miles of trails for everyone.

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