The recognition came in April from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, a program of the Washington D.C.-based Land Trust Alliance. The Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust is one of only 200 or so land trusts across the country to be given the honor in recent years, which is a mark of distinction in land conservation.
To earn the seal that comes along with the designation, the organization had to submit extensive documentation and undergo a rigorous review.
“The Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits the entire community,” said Executive Director Gary Wein.
Since the late 1800s, the Land Trust has protected more than 2,400 acres in some 75 places in southern Macon and Jackson counties. These lands include Ravenel Park, remnants of the historic Kelsey Trail, Rock and Chimneytop mountains. It first formed in 1883 when a group of residents banded together to form the Highlands Improvement Society. In 1909, the group passed one of its first landmarks when it bought 56 acres on Satulah Mountain, saving the summit from development.