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Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and Leelanau Conservancy Receive National Recognition

October 10, 2012 | Land Trust Alliance | Washington, D.C.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Rob Aldrich
Director of Communications
202-431-8848 | raldrich@lta.org

Pioneered New Approaches to Farmland and Working Forest Preservation in Their Five-County Region.

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and Leelanau Conservancy Receive National Recognition

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Two Michigan land trusts received Land Trust Excellence Awards for collaborative leadership in land conservation and promoting the work of land trusts in Congress. Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and Leelanau Conservancy were selected by the Land Trust Alliance of Washington, D.C. from more than 1,700 land trusts across the country to receive its National Land Trust Excellence Award, which was presented at Rally 2012: The National Land Conservation Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 30, 2012.

“Leelanau Conservancy and Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy have done amazing work demonstrating to Congress the critical importance of land conservation to the economic, cultural and environmental health of communities nationwide,” said Rand Wentworth, president of the Land Trust Alliance. “We presented this award to these two conservancies for their heroic work providing their communities with clean water, and protecting the farmland and other natural resources that make their part of the country so special.”

Farmland preservation is a key strategy for economic development in Northwest Lower Michigan, where the two conservancies operate. Agriculture contributes as much as $97.7 million annually to the local economy in the form of agricultural products sold. It employs more than 2,000 farm proprietors with net farm earnings of $6.6 million and more than 3,000 workers with a total payroll of $12.8 million.

Working closely together, the Leelanau Conservancy and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy have pioneered new approaches to farmland preservation and working forest conservation in their five-county region.   

“This award from the Alliance is particularly meaningful to both of our land conservancies, in large part because it honors the close collaboration, sharing, and flow of ideas that has allowed us to be innovators in protecting what matters most to our members, the nurturing of a regional economy that is based on sustainable farming, forestry, and tourism.  We are proving what Teddy Roosevelt observed so long ago- ‘There is nothing more practical than the preservation of beauty,’” said Brian Price, executive director of Leelanau Conservancy.

Glen Chown, executive director of Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, said “This honor recognizes the significance of the innovative land protection work of our two conservancies – including and perhaps especially our joint farmland preservation efforts. Sharing the impact that farmland preservation has on our land-based economy helped to inform and increase bi-partisan Congressional support for the permanent protection of working lands. I am proud of the role our two organizations have played in helping to achieve that positive outcome - one that bodes well for our future.”

Bills to make permanent enhanced incentives that make saving land more affordable for landowners who are working the land now have an impressive 310 co-sponsors in the House, including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans – more co-sponsors than for any other tax bill in Congress.

About The Organizations

Since 1991 the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, an accredited land conservation organization, has protected and cared for the region’s natural, scenic, farm and forest lands.  Their supporters and partnerships have enabled the Conservancy to protect over 35,000 acres of land and more than 113 miles of shoreline along the region’s exceptional rivers, lakes and streams. www.gtrlc.org

Since 1988 the Leelanau Conservancy, an accredited land conservation organization, has worked to conserve the land, water, and scenic character of the Leelanau Peninsula, one of the most cherished landscapes in the Great Lakes region.  The Conservancy has preserved over 9,600 acres and over 35 miles of shoreline, stream, and river frontage.  Developing a broad base of community support, the Leelanau Conservancy has worked with 143 families on land protection projects, and received support from over 3,400 donors in 2011, from a county with a permanent population of roughly 20,000. www.leelanauconservancy.org

The Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works in three ways to save the places people love. First, we increase the pace of conservation, so more land and natural resources get protected.  Second, we enhance the quality of conservation, so the most important lands get protected using the best practices in the business.  And third, we ensure the permanence of conservation by creating the laws and resources needed to defend protected land over time. The Land Trust Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and has several regional offices. www.landtrustalliance.org

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Image: Glenn Chown, executive director of Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (left) and Brian
Price, executive director of Leelanau Conservancy.

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