The Land Trust Alliance’s Land Trust Accreditation Commission granted Sewickley-based land conservation nonprofit Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) with its second renewal as a nationally accredited land trust. ALT is one of fewer than ten percent of land trusts across the country to receive a second accreditation renewal.
“We are committed to helping local people save local land, and to upholding national standards of excellence to maintain the public’s trust as we grow our conservation work,” ALT President & CEO Chris Beichner said.
ALT provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The Commission’s renewed accreditation award signifies its confidence that ALT’s lands will be protected forever. There are more than 450 accredited land trusts across the nation, and they now steward almost 20 million acres – the size of Denali, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks combined. Accreditation is awarded to land trusts meeting the highest national standards for excellence and conservation permanence. Each accredited land trust completes a rigorous review process and joins a network of organizations united by strong ethical practices. This trusted network of land trusts has demonstrated fiscal accountability, strong organizational leadership, sound transactions and lasting stewardship of the lands they conserve.
“It is exciting to recognize ALT’s continued commitment to national standards by renewing this national mark of distinction,” said Melissa Kalvestrand, executive director of the Commission.
ALT has protected 3,600 acres of woodlands and meadows in 36 different local municipalities since its founding in 1993. Every resident of Allegheny County lives within 8 miles of an ALT conservation area. The organization conserves lands that promote biodiversity, protect air and water quality, preserve unique scenic character, provide wildlife habitat, create connections with other green space and offer opportunities for environmental education and outdoor recreation. Some of the land trust’s well-known green spaces include Audubon Greenway in Sewickley, Barking Slopes in New Kensington, Bethel Green in Bethel Park, Churchill Valley Greenway in Churchill and Penn Hills, Dead Man’s Hollow near McKeesport, Girty’s Woods in Reserve, Irwin Run in Gibsonia, Sycamore Island in Blawnox and Wingfield Pines in Upper St. Clair.
“We are a stronger organization than ever for having gone through the thorough accreditation renewal process. Our strength means special places – from our large, rural green spaces to our small, central community gardens – will be protected forever, making our region an even greater, more resilient place for us and our children,” Beichner said.