The Land Trust Alliance recently released Gaining Ground: the 2020 National Land Trust Census Report. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I highly recommend you take a look.
I am still digesting the information, but here are some 2020 stats from the report that stood out to me:
Nationally, land trusts have conserved 61 million acres of private land — more than all the national parks combined. Local and state land trusts have contributed 70% of the growth in land protected since 2015.
In Connecticut land trusts have conserved 204,027 acres — a 32% increase since 2010. They hosted 132,242 visitors in 2020, more than double that of 2015.
However, the report also finds that Connecticut lost 6,900 acres to development from 2012-2017. And while 65% of Connecticut land trusts have reportedly increased their focus on climate change in the last five years, only 13% are receiving funding to address the climate crisis.
As we plan CLCC’s 2022 programming and prepare for the upcoming legislative session, the report gives us a lot to think about and even more to do.
If we are to gain ground in addressing the climate crisis, halting biodiversity loss, and ensuring equitable access to the benefits of nature, we need land conservation as a priority for funding and programming at every level of government.
The stakes are high, but so are the opportunities. Together, let’s make 2022 a banner year for land conservation in Connecticut.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and outdoor-filled holiday season.
P.S. Speaking of opportunities, please read the press release regarding the Governor’s Executive Order 21-3 on Climate. More on this in ’22.
P.P.S. There are New Year’s Day hikes planned across the state. DEEP’s list is here or find your local land trust to view a calendar of activities. Cheers!