Certification Recognizes Durable, Accountable Land Stewardship
MISSOULA, Mont. — Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 1990, The Vital Ground Foundation has been doing just that in the Northern Rockies. As a land trust, Vital Ground is devoted to professional excellence while conserving and connecting vital habitat for grizzly bears and other wildlife.
Vital Ground upholds this commitment by renewing its accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. As part of a network of over 400 accredited land trusts across the nation, Vital Ground remains dedicated to landscape conservation and maintaining the public’s trust in its work.
“Renewing our accreditation shows that Vital Ground is committed to permanent landscape conservation in one the most important wildlife communities in North America,” said Ryan Lutey, Vital Ground’s executive director. “Our renewal is a testament to our trustees, advisors and staff who all played a pivotal role in establishing the organizational accountability that underpins this critical certification.”
Over the last 29 years, Vital Ground has helped protect and enhance 620,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska and British Columbia. Last year was an outstanding conservation year for Vital Ground as it protected several important wildlife pathways, one a crucial wildlife crossing along Montana’s Clark Fork River and the other a key wildlife corridor in northwestern Montana. In northern Idaho, Vital Ground also acquired 455 acres of low-lying wetland habitat, adding to 500 adjacent acres previously purchased for numerous threatened and endangered species, from rare aquatic plants to grizzly bears.
“It is exciting to recognize Vital Ground’s continued commitment to national standards by renewing this national mark of distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. “Donors and partners can trust the more than 400 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”
Strong, well-managed land trusts like Vital Ground provide communities with effective champions and caretakers of their natural resources, from clean water and wildlife habitat to recreation access and local agriculture. By achieving durable conservation outcomes, land trusts safeguard the land through the generations.
“Accreditation is a great way to show that the nation’s land trusts are collectively dedicated to ensuring that every organization is strong and that our work will endure the test of time,” said Lutey.