AVLT Awarded Renewal Accreditation
Aspen Valley Land Trust has achieved renewed land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. AVLT was among the first 31 land trusts nationwide to be accredited and among the first 17 to receive renewed accreditation.
“This achievement demonstrates our commitment to permanent land and water conservation that benefits the area’s economy, water security, and quality of life,” says former executive director Martha Cochran. “AVLT is a stronger organization today having gone through the rigorous accreditation renewal process.”
Founded in 1967, AVLT is the area’s oldest conservation organization and received renewed accreditation on February 21, 2014. AVLT has conserved more than 38,000 acres of agricultural, wildlife habitat and open space lands, including more than 60 miles of stream and river banks and over 6,600 acres of irrigated land. More than 130 landowners throughout the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys have made the decision to conserve their land in perpetuity, meaning that the lands and water will be available for food production and that scenic natural areas are conserved for habitat and the unobstructed views that make the region a desirable place to live and visit.
Land trusts use the accreditation application process as a way to fine-tune their policies and streamline their operations. The Commission conducts an extensive review of the application and grants accreditation – and the right to use the accreditation seal – only to land trusts that meet the practices.
The accreditation seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation. It recognizes organizations for meeting national standards for excellence, upholding the public trust and ensuring that conservation efforts are permanent.
What does it mean to be accredited? Click here to learn more.
State Certification of Land Trusts
Colorado has become the first to require state certification of land trusts and governmental entities that participate in the Colorado conservation tax credit program. The change was part of 2008 legislation designed to prevent the type of fraudulent transactions by a few promoters and unethical land trusts that surfaced in 2003 and led to widespread audits of conservation easements by the IRS in Colorado. The certification program is under the governor’s Conservation Easement Oversight Commission at the Division of Real Estate, a branch of the Department of Regulatory Agencies.
Prospective easement donors in the state finally have a standard by which to measure land trusts, and accountability has become the law.
The process includes a rigorous review of applicants’ records, practices, policies, capacity and fiscal health, and is based on the criteria established by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission.
All nonprofit entities that hold a conservation easement for which a tax credit is claimed must now be certified. AVLT’s certification renewal was awarded on January 1, 2016.