TOPEKA - One thing that unites us as a nation is land. Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 2003, Ranchland Trust of Kansas (RTK) has been doing just that for the people of Kansas. Now, RTK has renewed its land trust accreditation, proving once again that, as part of a network of more than 450 accredited land trusts across the nation, it is committed to professional excellence and to maintaining the public's trust in its conservation work.
"Renewing our accreditation shows RTK's ongoing commitment to permanent land conservation in Kansas,” said Lynn Gentine, RTK executive director. “We are a stronger organization than ever for having gone through the rigorous accreditation renewal process. This strength means a portion of the native grasslands in Kansas will be protected forever, making Kansas an even greater place for us and future generations."
RTK provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded the renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence that RTK can protect land forever. Accredited land trusts now steward almost 20 million acres.
To date, RTK has assisted 16 families in conserving nearly 18,000 acres in Kansas. The trust holds 23 conservation easements with these families. RTK does not own any land and advocates to keep land in private ownership for future generations of farmers and ranchers.
"It is exciting to recognize RTK's continued commitment to national standards by renewing this national mark of distinction," said Melissa Kalvestrand, executive director of the commission. "Donors and partners can trust the more than 450 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance and lasting stewardship."
RTK is one of 1,363 total land trusts across the U.S., according to the Land Trust Alliance's most recent National Land Trust Census. This number encompasses both accredited and non-accredited land trusts. A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits can be found at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About Ranchland Trust of Kansas
RTK is a private, non-profit organization founded by members of the Kansas Livestock Association in 2003. The organization was created to provide assistance to ranchers and landowners who desire to conserve their land with conservation easements. Guided by their mission to preserve Kansas’ ranching heritage and open spaces for future generations through the conservation of working landscapes, RTK values a commitment to conservation, respect for private landownership, integrity, organizational excellence and collaboration with those who share their values. RTK remains an affiliate of the Kansas Livestock Association. To learn more, go to www.ranchlandtrustofkansas.org.
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 www.landtrustaccreditation.org.