Montezuma Land Conservancy Earns National Recognition

Accreditation Awarded by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, announced today that Montezuma Land Conservancy has been awarded accredited status.

“Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. “The accreditation seal lets the public know that the accredited land trust has undergone an extensive, external review of the governance and management of its organization and the systems and policies it uses to protect land.”

“Montezuma Land Conservancy’s accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation,” said David Nichols, Executive Director “The rigorous accreditation process has both certified the quality of our past work and aided us in continuing to improve the quality of our current conservation work. It has also helped us to ensure, to an even greater extent than before, the permanence of all the conservation easements we hold.”

Montezuma Land Conservancy is a local non-profit organization founded in 1998. It exists to permanently protect important open lands – in partnership with landowners – in order to conserve agricultural, natural, and scenic open space resources in Montezuma and Dolores Counties. Since its inception, the conservancy has partnered in the creation of 58 conservation easements protecting over 17,000 acres in the two counties.

Montezuma Land Conservancy was one of 11 land trusts awarded accreditation this March. These land trusts join 82 other land trusts from across the country that have been awarded accreditation since the fall of 2008. Accredited land trusts are able to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., awards the accreditation seal to community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance established in 2006, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. The Alliance, of which Montezuma Land Conservancy is a member, is a national conservation group based in Washington, D.C. that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America.

Nichols concluded, “Achieving the right to use the accreditation seal provides tangible assurance to our members, easement donors, and financial contributors that the trust and financial support they have invested in the Montezuma Land Conservancy has not been misplaced.”

Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that landowners use to protect important agricultural land, wildlife habitat, and scenic open space by limiting subdivision and residential development.  Lands remain in private ownership and management, and public access is not granted.  Financial benefits can include reduction in state, federal, and estate taxes and continued agricultural property tax status. In certain cases, landowners may receive cash for protecting their land.  For more information, contact the Montezuma Land Conservancy at 565-1664 or info@montezumalandconservancy.org

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