Little Beaver Creek Land Foundation merges with Ohio’s largest land trust

LISBON, Ohio — Little Beaver Creek Land Foundation, a 20-year-old nonprofit that has worked to preserve the Little Beaver Creek Watershed in Columbiana County, is merging with Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the state’s largest land trust.

Agreement

Under terms of the merger, the Land Conservancy will assume responsibility for monitoring the approximately 184 acres currently protected by conservation easements held by LBCLF. In addition, LBCLF will be represented on the Land Conservancy’s board of trustees. The merger will take effect Jan. 1.

“We have long been impressed with the great work done by the Little Beaver Creek Land Foundation and believe that by merging our two organizations we can dramatically advance our collective conservation mission in the region,” said Rich Cochran, president and CEO of the Land Conservancy.

Scott Hill, eastern field director for the Land Conservancy, said the organization anticipates maintaining the existing LBCLF office in Lisbon as a Land Conservancy field office.

What it does

LBCLF works solely in the Little Beaver Creek Watershed, a 323,160-acre region in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. The foundation has worked with its watershed partners to protect 5,261 acres through purchases, outright donations or conservation easements, which are legal instruments that permanently bar development of a particular parcel.

LBCLF holds conservation easements on about 184 acres, including a 135-acre easement near Lisbon that it co-holds with Western Reserve Land Conservancy. It was that project — an easement donated by property owners Bruce and Debbi MacLellan in 2009 – that started the collaboration between LBCLF and the Land Conservancy.

In 2011, the MacLellans were the recipients of one of the Land Conservancy’s highest honors, The Grimm Family Conservation Medal. The medal is awarded to “a conservationist, possessed of a deep and abiding passion for our mission, who has preserved land in a charitable manner, who views land as a precious resource and not as a commodity, and who has forgone significant financial value to preserve land.”

Beginnings

Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which was formed in 2006 by the merger of eight local land trusts, preserves natural lands, working farmlands, urban lands and coastal lands in northern Ohio. It is one of the top 10 land trusts in the nation, according to the Land Trust Alliance.

The organization has preserved more than 430 properties and more than 33,000 acres in the region, including 6,033 acres in fiscal year 2012. In addition, the Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute has helped revitalize urban areas throughout Ohio by assisting in the establishment of 15 county land banks.

The Land Conservancy, which has a 35-person staff, is headquartered in Moreland Hills and has field offices in Cleveland, Akron, Oberlin, Medina, Orwell, Painesville and Orrville.

One Comment

  1. Retired JD Farmer says:

    …for an overview of modern-day “conservation,” read: Eco-Fascists: How Radical Conservationists Are Destroying Our Natural Heritage by Elizabeth Nickson. You won’t be sorry and you’ll learn a whole lot.

    What she discovered is shocking. Forty million Americans have been driven from their land, and rural culture is being systematically crushed, even as wildlife, forests, and rangelands are dying. In Eco-Fascists, Nickson explores how environmental radicals have taken over government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. The result? A wholesale sequestration of forest, range, and water–—more than 40 percent of North America—impoverishing us all, especially the most vulnerable. This confiscation of America’s natural heritage is a major factor contributing to our current economic decline; until it is acknowledged and addressed, our economy will not recover.

    Nickson traces the tens of billions of dollars environmental nonprofits marshal every year to promote the notion that our essential natural systems are collapsing, and finds, in a brutal example of self-fulfilling prophesy, that their corrupted science is desertifying the heartland. She visits once-thriving communities that are turning to ghost towns because environmental legislation has forced mines, ranches, and mills to close and has forbidden critical forest, range, park, and wilderness maintenance.

    Eco-Fascists exposes the major fallacies of the environmental movement—from wildlife protection to zoning to forest-fire management—and introduces us to the individuals who are fighting back. Fast-paced, highly accessible, and sure to be controversial, this is a work that will change the national conversation about environmental protection and its impact.

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