Landmark Conservancy: 2019 Land Trust of the Year

A scenic bridge crossing over trees in autumn.

Landmark Conservancy, serving twenty counties in western and northwestern Wisconsin, was born of a merger between two nationally-accredited land trusts: West Wisconsin Land Trust and Bayfield Regional Conservancy. The two organizations had been longtime partners, collaborating on a number of projects in recent years. After two years of careful deliberation, they determined that their commitment to conservation required a unified and more robust organization for greater impact. Their integrated staff of conservation and advancement professionals will help ensure the quality, visibility, and permanence of their work. The merger was completed in the spring of 2018. In honor of the successful partnership, Landmark Conservancy was named the 2019 Land Trust of the Year by Gathering Waters.

Landmark Conservancy is responsible for over 35,000 acres, 207 conservation easements, and 57 public recreation areas. With a focus on natural habitat, outdoor recreation, and farmland, the land trust has projects covering prairies, forests, wetlands, rivers, and lakes. The organization protects diverse ecological communities and serves the habitat needs of wildlife, fish, birds, and plants. Many of these projects provide opportunities for public nature-based outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, hunting, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and nature study. Other projects focus on the protection of diverse open spaces, high quality soil resources, community-supported farms, orchards, vineyards, and scenic viewsheds. 

The birth of Landmark Conservancy is a beautiful example of what teamwork and collaboration can achieve. This merger and all the organization does to protect and preserve clean water, healthy soils, habitat for wildlife, sustainable food sources, and the space to enjoy nature’s gifts, is certainly worth honoring and celebrating.  

Landmark Conservancy will receive the 2019 Land Trust of the Year award at Gathering Waters’ Land Conservation Leadership Award Celebration at the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin on September 26, 2019.