Stewardship and Ownership

“Our ancient teachers tell us that the role of human beings is respect and stewardship. Our responsibility is to care for the plants and all the land in a way that honors life.” -Robin Wall Kimmerer in Gathering Moss

RRCT Ownership

RRCT has conserved more than 5,300 acres since 1988. Our conservation successes since 1988 include: 11 RRCT-owned preserves totaling roughly 1000 acres; creation or expansion of 7 town-owned preserves (RRCT assists); help in 7 state-owned state park and wildlife area expansions (RRCT assists); and creation of 60 RRCT conservation easements including 7 working farm conservation easements. View the “Preserves, Trails, & Farms” page for information about each property.

We describe and publish information on our ownership in several different formats:

Please contact us with any requests for most-recent information, or more detailed information or tables on our conservation files.

RRCT Stewardship

Stewardship is the on-going, long-term commitment of time and resources to the conservation of land, and its implementation is essential to RRCT’s ability to protect land in the future.

A major component of land trust stewardship includes annually ensuring that the terms of conservation easements are met, and helping landowners meet those terms. On land that we own, stewardship also entails managing invasive plants, maintaining trails and public access, developing property management plans, and ensuring that ongoing land uses do not jeopardize the ecological integrity of the landscape.

In all of these endeavors, RRCT’s Stewardship program welcomes the time and energy of volunteers. RRCT’s Trail Crew is a key effort to coordinate many volunteers, working together on key trails. RRCT’s new (2022) Volunteer Steward program is another way for volunteers to engage and provide more independent stewardship of a particular preserve with plenty of staff and committee support.

RRCT strives to practice exemplary stewardship of its lands, always protecting ecological values and when appropriate and feasible, inviting compatible human uses. Important components of our stewardship program includes development of a local land ethic, community involvement, outreach programs, and a focus on the quality of each visitor’s experiences at our preserves. Our organization also focuses on advocacy and programming for the stewardship of water resources and more.

Funding for land stewardship efforts comes in part from donations from members, and in part through our commitment to long-term Stewardship Reserve Funds — including our small endowment. With each land acquisition, by policy, we set aside funding to add to long-term Stewardship Reserve Funds. Often these funds come as part of a land acquisition campaign, or as a land acquisition budget which is funded by our rolling Land Acquisition Fund.

Guiding Documents

Stewardship Key Principles – The intent of this document is to outline RRCT’s standards that qualify stewardship as exemplary, providing a lens through which to examine future stewardship decisions and those made to date. This document should also provide guidance for how to appropriately adapt stewardship practices when necessary. It is intended primarily for RRCT’s fee-owned preserves.

Stewardship Standard Practices – This ever-expanding collection of documents is intended to guide and document RRCT’s approaches to more specific, common stewardship actions or decisions. These documents should help provide consistency in decision-making regarding acceptable uses of a preserve as well as consistency with the caliber of on-the-ground work across RRCT preserves. RRCT began documenting these standard practices in 2022 and will continue adding to them as able.