Chehalis River Basin Land Trust: Get to know us

A Local Force

The Chehalis River Basin Land Trust is a nonprofit land conservation organization serving the Chehalis River Basin. The Land Trust was formed in 1992 by a group of citizens concerned about the health of waters and lands in the basin. Our mission is, “to conserve, protect, and restore ecologically significant lands within the Chehalis River Basin.”

To date we steward over 4,000 acres in the basin, an impressive feat for a Land Trust that has run on volunteer power for much of its 23-year life. Each of our parcels is walked at least once per year to monitor for issues that may harm the conservation value of the property. These issues commonly include invasive plant growth or human interference.

The Land Trust Community

Chehalis River Basin Land TrustMost of Washington state is served by a local land trust. Each land trust has a unique mission to conserve the landscapes most important to their service area. We operate under a national body, the Land Trust Alliance, which sets best practices for land trust governance.

While each land trust is unique, land trusts tend to conserve lands in one of two ways. Firstly, a land trust can own land outright, which we call “fee simple ownership.” These lands are purchased with help from funds provided by a variety of different resources.

Land trusts can also hold lands in conservation easement. Conservation easements work directly with a land owner to restrict certain uses on the land to protect conservation values. Easements are a result of a conversation with the landowner and are highly unique. The restrictions tend to include an agreement not to build on the land or damage the important habitat values. Land trusts often hold easements on working farms or forests in their service area.

In the case of an easement, the landowner continues to own all of the parcel. The easement describes both the restrictions and permitted uses, which may or may not be on the whole parcel. These documents remain connected to the title of the land in perpetuity, making them a popular option for concerned landowners. Easement donors can also receive significant tax breaks for their donations to the alliance.

 

Your Land, Your Land Trust

The Chehalis River Basin Land Trust is tasked with the entire basin—over 1.6 million acres. Much of this land remains in pristine condition. The Chehalis Land Trust is focused on maintaining the quality of the basin, particularly our water. Nearly all of our properties contain streams, river frontage, or valuable surge plain habitat. See our properties at chehalislandtrust.org/properties

 

Basin Education: Partnering with SFLO

The land trust serves our community in more ways than land conservation. We also provide free nature education events, membership programs, and volunteer opportunities.

This year we are able to provide monthly free nature education events with help from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The “Learnings from the Chehalis” series focuses on bringing the community out to see the unique places and explore issues in the Chehalis Basin. A special edition of “Learnings from the Chehalis” will take place this August in partnership with the SFLO program.

Forestland Resiliency: Meeting Future Challenges

Saturday, Aug. 5,
1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
72 Tornquist Rd,
McCleary, WA

We will tour a small, locally owned forest and learn about the big issues for local forests: threat of conversion, climate change, and biodiversity loss—with a focus on what landowners should know and actions they can take today to address these issues.

A team of forestry professionals will lead this talk, including Andrea Watts, Amy Ramsey, Jeff DeBell, Josh Meek and Julie Sackett.

Mark Your Calendars! Visit chehalislandtrust.org to see the full list of nature education events, and to reserve your FREE tickets!

 

Get Involved with Your Land Trust

You don’t have to be a landowner to get involved! Join us as a member, a volunteer, or a donor. It takes a village to maintain a healthy basin…

By Kylea Johnson, Programs Staff, Chehalis River Basin Land Trust