CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Nature Conservancy and the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust recently became the first two West Virginia-based land trust organizations to receive accreditation from the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission.The two West Virginia groups were among 21 organizations receiving accreditation from the LTAC this year."This round of accreditation decisions represents a significant milestone for the accreditation program," said LTAC executive director Tammara Van Ryn. The 181 land trusts accredited so far "account for more than 41 percent of all privately conserved land," she said. "Accreditation provides the public with an assurance that land trusts meet high standards for quality and that their conservation work is permanent."The Nature Conservancy manages 12,000 acres of conservation lands and conservation easements in West Virginia, while the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust has helped conservation-minded landowners protect 10,600 acres.
"I think securing LTAC accreditation is one of the most important steps our organization has taken to strengthen our work to conserve important forests and farmland in Hampshire, Hardy and Morgan counties," said Nancy Ailes, director of the 17-year-old Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust."Accreditation is a testament to the dedication of our staff, board and volunteers to saving West Virginia's beautiful mountains, forests and streams," said Rodney Bartgis, director of the West Virginia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.