BANGOR/ORONO, Maine — The Bangor Land Trust and the Orono Land Trust have been accepted into the Maine Land Trust Excellence Program, which helps prepare local trusts for national accreditation.
The program is a joint project of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Land Trust Alliance and, to date, has accepted just 15 of the more than 90 Maine land trusts.
“This round of applications was very competitive, and acceptance into the program is a strong indication of dedication to improvement and commitment to land conservation,” said Warren Whitney, program manager for the Maine Land Trust Excellence Program.
The Bangor and Orono land trusts have a long history of partnering on initiatives and conservation projects. Their most significant collaboration is the “Caribou Bog-Penjajawoc Project,” which aims to create a 7,000-acre conservation and recreation corridor connecting land parcels from the Bangor Mall area through Veazie, Orono, Old Town, Alton and Hudson.
Jerry Longcore, president of Orono Land Trust, and Lucy Quimby, head of Bangor Land Trust, both said the two organizations would work together in the accreditation process.
“Entering this program is a significant step for our organization toward improving and formalizing our standards and practices and preparing us to apply for accreditation,” Longcore said.
Added Quimby: “When you accept taxpayer dollars to protect land in perpetuity, you have to be working with a sound organization. The accreditation program provides a structure to insure that we are doing that.”
The grant-based program helps Maine land trusts prepare for accreditation by providing organizational assessments, individually tailored work plans, up to $18,000 to cover the cost of needed assistance and training programs and workshops.
Board members of both land trusts will attend an informational meeting on the Excellence Program on Thursday, Sept. 23, at Pine Tree State Arboretum in Augusta.
The Bangor Land Trust incorporated in 2001 for landowners, conservationists, businesspeople and other community members could work together to implement a conservation vision for the Bangor region. The trust owns more than 400 acres and maintains a trail system for hiking, biking, watching wildlife, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
The Orono Land Trust was created in 1986 and owns, protects, or manages nearly 1,000 acres of land in the towns of Orono, Old Town and Veazie.