February 24, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The Wallkill Valley Land Trust Earns National Recognition
NEW PALTZ, NY – The Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT) announced today that it has been granted accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission – a mark of honor and distinction in the field of land conservation. The achievement of accreditation validates the Commission’s confidence that the Wallkill Valley Land Trust meets national standards of professionalism in the area of land conservation, and that it has the long-term capacity to continue to preserve and manage land into the future.
The Wallkill Valley Land Trust, founded 29 years ago, is located in the Hudson River Valley and holds 34 conservation easements comprising more than 2,500 acres of active farmland, wetlands, public access space and the well-known Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. Wallkill Valley Land Trust now joins 342 other accredited land trusts across the country.
“Applying for Accreditation was a multi-year effort by our small staff and dedicated Board of Directors” said Christie DeBoer, Executive Director. “This process enabled the Wallkill Valley Land Trust to improve our policies and practices, vastly enhancing the impact of our work in permanent land conservation in Ulster County. Achieving the distinction of accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission highlights our dedication and commitment to operate at the highest standards for land trusts. Our efforts will help make the mid-Hudson Valley an even better place for future generations to live, work, and play.”
A few of the notable recent achievements of the Wallkill Valley Land Trust are the acquisition and opening to the public of 11.5 miles of the former Wallkill Valley Railroad bed in Ulster County, the rehabilitation of the iconic Rail Trail trestle in the Town of Rosendale, and the opening to the public of the adjacent Joppenbergh Mountain.
The trestle was opened to the public as a Rail Trail pedestrian walkway for the first time in June 2013. More recently, WVLT opened a connector trail that provides passage from the rail trail and trestle to the Town of Rosendale. WVLT currently owns and oversees the management of these sections of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
WVLT was among thirty-seven land trusts across the United States to achieve accreditation or to have accreditation renewed in February 2016. The Wallkill Valley Land Trust joins 342 land trusts nationwide that demonstrate their commitment to maintaining a high level of professional standards in land conservation through accreditation since the Fall of 2008. “It is exciting to recognize WVLT with this distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, Executive Director of the Commission. “Together, accredited land trusts stand united behind strong national standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever. In all, over 75 percent of private lands conserved by land trusts are now held by an accredited land trust.”
Each accredited land trust meets extensive documentation requirements and undergoes a comprehensive review of its policies and practices as part of its accreditation application.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission is an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, a national umbrella organization for land trusts. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission inspires excellence, promotes public trust and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and strive for continuous improvement. More information about land trust accreditation can be found at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.