CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — The Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust marked its 25th anniversary last year by earning a national accreditation award.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission announced the accreditation of the land trust and 22 other similar organizations. The additional groups brought the number of accredited land trusts across the U.S. to 181. Together they are stewards of more than 41 percent of all land that has been privately conserved, according to landtrustaccreditation.org.
The land trust is the 12th of its size to receive the award, according to Penny Asherman, president of the organization, who noted that the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust was among others to recently earn the distinction.
The award “recognizes that we meet the highest standards of excellence in all of our operations from land acquisition and stewardship to financial and property record keeping, and governance,” Asherman said in an e-mail.
She pointed out that the commission measures 12 standards and practices in its review, and that the “extremely rigorous” process took four years.
“The accomplishment reflects the level of dedication, care and skills of an impressive group of volunteers,” Asherman said. “In fact, the chairman of the Commission, Larry Keuter, praised CCLT for having such a strong volunteer team of stewards to annually monitor each of our properties and for going through the rigorous external review process relying on a volunteer Board of Directors. We are proud.”
The land trust – founded in 1987 as the Cumberland Mainland & Islands Trust, 20 years before Chebeague seceded from Cumberland – protects 18 properties, nine of which are on the mainland; the rest are in Casco Bay, according to ccltmaine.org.
“Receiving the award in our 25th anniversary year is a fitting testament to CCLT’s commitment and ability to uphold the permanence of the land we conserve,” Asherman stated. “It does give meaning to the promise that we will protect these special lands forever. The distinction also assures our donors – both land and money donors – that their support is well placed.
“CCLT is poised to build upon its successes of the past quarter century,” she added, “and continue to protect the best of the natural places in our communities for present and future generations to enjoy.”