Since 1984, Whatcom Land Trust has been working to protect Whatcom County’s special places for future generations. In August, the National Land Trust Accreditation Commission announced Whatcom Land Trust has received accreditation for the second time — proving once again that, as part of a network of over 450 accredited land trusts across the nation, it is committed to conservation and stewardship excellence.
“Accreditation shows Whatcom Land Trust’s commitment to operating at the highest level of national standards for land trusts,” said Executive Director Gabe Epperson. “The renewal process is rigorous, and confirms that this organization is strong and able to continue leading conservation efforts in Whatcom County. …”
Whatcom Land Trust provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence that Whatcom Land Trust’s lands will be protected forever. Nationally, accredited land trusts now steward over 20 million acres — almost half the size of Washington state.
Whatcom Land Trust plays a unique role in the county, with the ability to not only own land, but to manage it forever. “When we purchase a property we’re not only thinking of the conservation values — like how preventing development on this property benefits water quality, or provides a buffer against sea level rise — we’re always thinking about long-term stewardship. Accreditation provides us with third-party assurance that the Land Trust is set up to own and care for properties in perpetuity,” said Whatcom Land Trust Stewardship Director Jenn Mackey.
Executive Director of the Commission Melissa Kalvestrand said, “The accreditation seal is a mark of distinction that stands for excellence, trust and permanence. Whatcom Land Trust is part of a network of over 450 accredited land trusts that are united by their strong ethical practices.”