Protecting Our Land
Here in the Kawarthas our land will be increasingly under threat in the coming years. Local and regional growth projections such as those in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe demonstrate that the development demand for land in the Kawartha region will be increasing. As a result of the changing landscape, through degradation and habitat loss, critical species will become extirpated from this area and it will also have a great effect on our native plant and animal populations.
There are also two additional factors are at play. First, we know that more and more people are coming to appreciate this landscape – the historic prairies, the shorelines, and the uniqueness of the transitional “Land Between” geography. Secondly, we know that due to current demographics, the next few years will see the largest inter-generational transfer of land and societal wealth ever seen.
Thankfully as we face these challenges, more and more people are recognizing the importance of land conservation. Locally conservation matters deeply to the people who live here, who visit the region and beyond, and is becoming increasingly important in light of these trends that are already in progress and on the horizon.
The KLT is a critical part of the solution, and the only non-government land conservation entity in the Kawarthas. With a proven model and track record, we have more still to come.
Our work prevents the loss and degradation of significant habitat. And we know that when we conserve natural areas and ecosystems we are helping individuals, communities and wildlife now and in the future.
The lands identified through the Kawarthas Naturally Connected Collaborative, a science based process, are currently in good shape largely because those who own them have been good stewards/caretakers. For reasons of taxes both income and property taxes and changing economic consequences and generational shift in living, those lands are going to get turned over in the near future and the next generation owners or people/entities able to purchase those lands will only have one goal in mind.
KLT’s Goal in Protecting the Land
KLT now protects significant sites throughout our region that are unique and representative of the area, connected to areas protected by our partners and accessed through trails and stewardship agreements with private landowners and partners.
We have developed strong partnerships across the region that helps deliver on our mission. This includes academic institutes, business, volunteer groups and all levels of government.
Our organizational structure enables a greater impact and an efficiency of resources. Over the past three years, we have grown and sustained a more than 15:1 ratio of volunteers to staff involved with delivering in our mission and goals!
There are at least sixty dedicated and experienced people on our operational committees, Board, Board Committees and staff. This does not include partners and collaborative like Kawarthas Naturally Connected, graduate students through the CREATE Enviro partnership with Trent University or Fleming College projects like the two we have in play currently.
We recognize that individuals and families are making big decisions about the future of the places and spaces they love. In many cases, these lands have been passed through generations or were purchased specifically for their conservation values and features. Making the right decision for the future of your land can take years and is why we’ve developed a number of policies and procedures to help guide you through this process.
Our structure includes volunteer driven and staff supported committees focused on identifying and assisting the land securement process, long term Stewardship, developing resources and opportunities to help enhance those goals. We have also established specific stewardship and advisory teams for lands we own and manage.
The Land Trust Alliance in the USA notes the average land gift takes seven years with regular contact with the Land Trust. Our resources are finite and the opportunities come and go. We can illustrate why the model is efficient and assumes volunteers are out-front with staff as the backbone. At last tally in early November 2016, we recorded over 90 volunteers contributing more than 6,000 hours.
To date, more than 1,500 Donors, 90 volunteers, 11 land donors have put their faith in our mission to protect the land you love and have bought into our vision for the future of the Kawarthas through their gifts of money, time and land.
We are currently working on several dozen significant projects and are anticipating a number of exciting announcements of progress in 2017 and year beyond.