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The Alice Richards Trail, at Frederica Park, on St. Simons Island, is one of the St. Simons Land Trust’s popular walking sites.

The St. Simons Land Trust, now in its 20th anniversary year, was recently reaccredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The land trust’s accreditation with the national Land Trust Alliance has also been renewed. To receive reaccreditation, the land trust provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation.

“The St. Simons Land Trust is extremely pleased to be reaccredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission for another five-year cycle,” said SSLT Board Chair Susan Shipman. “Accreditation conveys that we meet national standards of excellence in our operations and in land conservation. We were first accredited in 2015, and this latest accreditation cycle was even more arduous due to the growth of our conservation portfolio.”

The St. Simons Land Trust has acquired more than 1,000 acres of land on 30 properties in its 20-year history. This includes tracts such as Cannon’s Point and Guale Preserve on the island’s north end, the John Gilbert Nature Trail in the southern mid-island area, and pocket parks and multiple areas of green space from Sea Island Road to the Village. The organization is dedicated to preserving and protecting the land in perpetuity.

“Applying for reaccreditation with the Land Trust Alliance is an onerous, two-year, multi-phased process that requires countless hours of staff and volunteer time,” said St. Simons Land Trust Executive Director Emily Ellison. “But we are better for it! Going through such a rigorous accreditation renewal makes us carefully prioritize goals, resources, and lasting community impact. It makes us a stronger-than-ever organization, one that is committed to protecting this extraordinarily beautiful barrier island and making certain that its rare historic and environmental features remain protected for future generations.”

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission is an independent program of the alliance that was created in 2006. Accredited land trusts steward almost 20 million acres across the nation. According to the alliance’s most recent National Land Trust Census, the St. Simons Land Trust is one of 1,363 land trusts in the United States, of which less than one third have received accreditation from the alliance.