Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina Earns National Recognition

Accreditation Promotes Public Trust, Ensures Permanence

Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, a nonprofit regional land trust based in Morganton, N.C., today announced it has achieved renewed accreditation—a mark of distinction in land conservation. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence that Foothills Conservancy’s lands will be protected forever.

Almost 15 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities—an area about the size of the state of West Virginia—are permanently conserved by an accredited land trust

“Accreditation renewal demonstrates Foothills Conservancy’s commitment to permanent land conservation in the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills,” said Susie Hamrick Jones, executive director of Foothills Conservancy. “We’re a stronger organization for having gone through the rigorous accreditation renewal process after our initial accreditation in 2010, and this strength will help make our region an even better place for us and our children.”

Since 1995, Foothills Conservancy has protected more than 50,000 acres across the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills, including lands added to South Mountains, Lake James and Chimney Rock state parks; Wilson Creek, South Mountains, and the Johns River state game lands; Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The land trust also assists private landowners who wish to protect their farms and forestlands with permanent conservation agreements.

Foothills Conservancy was among 38 land trusts across the United States to achieve accreditation or to have accreditation renewed in August. Foothills Conservancy joins the more than 350 accredited land trusts that demonstrate their commitment to professional excellence through accreditation, helping to maintain the public’s trust in their work.

“It is exciting to recognize Foothills Conservancy with this distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Accredited land trusts stand together, united behind strong ethical standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever. This network of land trusts has demonstrated fiscal accountability, strong organizational leadership, and lasting stewardship of conservation land.”

Each accredited land trust must apply for renewal every five years and undergo a comprehensive review as part of its renewal application. The process is rigorous and strengthens land trusts so they can help landowners and communities achieve their goals.

Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina is a nonprofit regional land trust based in Morganton. The conservancy works to preserve and protect significant natural areas and open spaces, including watersheds, forests and farmland across the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills. Information about Foothills Conservancy, including ways to support its work, can be found online at or by calling 828-437-9930.

The Commission is an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization. The Commission recognizes conservation excellence by awarding the accreditation seal. More information about land trust accreditation can be found at

About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission inspires excellence, promotes public trust and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and strive for continuous improvement. The Commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts. For more, visit

About the Land Trust Alliance

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents more than 1,100 member land trusts supported by more than 100,000 volunteers and 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C. and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at