Lowcountry Land Trust and East Cooper Land Trust (ECLT) today announced a merger of the two local non-profits. The combined organization will operate as Lowcountry Land Trust (LLT). The corporate transaction was finalized on January 1 and was celebrated by supporters in an announcement event at Boone Hall earlier today.
“East Cooper and Lowcountry Land trusts have worked independently with a shared purpose for nearly 20 years,” remarked Ashley Demosthenes, president and CEO, Lowcountry Land Trust. “By joining our organizations, we have the opportunity to deepen our commitment to community conservation in the East Cooper region and other growing areas of the Lowcountry, while continuing our legacy of landscape-scale land protection work across South Carolina’s coastal plain.”
The collective land portfolio represents more than 400 conservation easements, 20 fee simple properties, iconic public spaces such as Boone Hall Plantation, Angel Oak, Oakland Plantation and other well-known, publicly accessible properties like the Marsh View Trail, Stono Preserve, and much of Sullivan’s Island. The organization will continue outreach activities and programming that connect people to the land and the myriad public benefits of conservation.
“East Cooper Land Trust began as a department of the Town of Mount Pleasant and grew to an organization that worked to protect notable places such as Marshview Trail, The Farm, and Deer Head Oak in McClellanville,” commented Justin Craig, board chair, East Cooper Land Trust. “Both land trusts are strong, nationally-accredited organizations whose complementary missions will amplify each other’s success in land protection. We look forward to increasing the pace of land protection to meet the challenges of our rapidly growing communities.”
East Cooper Land Trust’s Executive Director, Tyler Grespin, will be leading community conservation initiatives in his role as LLT’s Community Conservation Director; and three ECLT board members will join the LLT board – Justin Craig, Richard Morrison and Paul Butler. Conservation easements held by ECLT will be transferred to LLT for perpetual stewardship. ECLT’s fee simple properties and deed restrictions will be conveyed to subsidiary organizations controlled by LLT. Land interests held by the East Cooper Foundation will remain in place with governance provided by the expanded Lowcountry Board of Trustees.
“Mount Pleasant’s quality of life is directly impacted by the success of our local land trusts,” commented Will Haynie, mayor, Town of Mount Pleasant. “I’m excited to see these two powerhouse organizations join together to protect what makes the Lowcountry so beautiful and special.”
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