A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy

Land Preservation Nonprofit Receives Prestigious Recognition   
by Adine Perry  
There are many reasons why we love living here and why so many visitors are attracted here, but they all seem to originate with the land. We are lucky to live in an area where simply driving to work or the grocery store is like walking right into the perfect pictures of a nature wall calendar. The beauty of this area inspires us all, contributing to the abundance of creative projects of all types constantly taking shape around us. We are also encouraged by our gorgeous surroundings to live more peacefully with each other. What we have is worth protecting, and the Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy is excelling at that.
Chances are, you have probably enjoyed an area that RELC has helped to preserve. RELC has been preserving lands in the Shawangunks and Catskills for more than 25 years. More than 50 landowners have partnered with RELC to ensure the permanent conservation of their agricultural, forest and open lands. RELC has protected more than 3,000 acres in perpetuity. They have provided grants that have contributed to the expansion of the rail trail and protection of a 411-acre parcel in the former William Lake Resort in Rosendale. RELC also works with other organizations such as the Open Space Institute to encourage environmental awareness and interaction.
For a Land Trust, accreditation provides public recognition. It proves to the public that the land trust is reliable and that land conservation is a worthy cause. RELC is one of only 238 land trusts in the United States and the second in Ulster County (after Mohonk Preserve) to have been awarded accreditation since the program was initiated in 2008. In order to be accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, applicants must undergo extensive review of their policies and programs. It must be proven that the applying organization is governed responsibly, that it protects the public interest with sound and sustainable land transactions and stewardship, and that it is operated ethically. They must show accountability to donors and the public and prove that they comply with all laws. The intense evaluation process lasted a year for the Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy. Members of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission are required to operate in conformity with national quality standards. “With accreditation established,” said RELC president Rob Rominger, “we are now in the process of implementing long-term plans to preserve threatened areas within the watershed area, and to encourage public engagement with a landscape providing not just scenic beauty but agriculture, riparian and aquifer protection, and recreational use.”
Congratulations to Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy. The accreditation was well deserved and will go a long way to help continue its efforts. The community thanks you for working so hard to protect this beautiful, inspirational area.
To volunteer please contact Walter Levy at info@relandconservancy.org or 845-626-3140. Donations by check can be mailed to Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy, Inc. PO Box 144, Accord, NY 12404, or by going to relandconservancy.org/donate.