Northeast Wildnerness Trust Launches Wildlands Partnership Initiative

Northeast Wilderness Trust has launched a new initiative to accelerate the pace of wilderness conservation across New England and New York. The Wildlands Partnership offers local land trusts the resources to work on wilderness conservation while receiving periodic income through a developing wilderness carbon market.

Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve in Chesterfield, NY, owned by Northeast Wilderness Trust. Photo by Brendan Wiltse.Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve in Chesterfield, NY, owned by Northeast Wilderness Trust. Photo by Brendan Wiltse.The purpose of the Wildlands Partnership is to take immediate, tangible action to confront today’s most pressing environmental crises: climate change and mass extinction. “Our goal is to ignite a renewed conversation around wildlands protection—between land trusts, philanthropists, and the general public. We aim to work with local land trusts to protect 10,000 acres as wilderness across the Northeast over the next three years,” said Sophie Ehrhardt, Wildlands Partnership Coordinator.

“Northeast Wilderness Trust is unique among conservation organizations in the Northeast in its focus on wildlands,” said David Foster, Highstead Foundation President. “Given this focus and experience they are perfectly positioned to collaborate with land trusts and other organizations to increase the pace of wilderness conservation to address the immediate challenges posed by climate change and support Wildlands & Woodlands’ long-term goals.”

The benefits of unmanaged, wild forests for clean water and air, carbon storage, and wildlife habitat are enormous. “Northeast Wilderness Trust’s mission is to protect forever-wild landscapes, for nature and people,” said Jon Leibowitz, Executive Director of the Wilderness Trust. “On lands we conserve, you’ll see very little management—often none at all. Trees get old, fall over, and add rich complexity to the forest, creating beautiful and unique habitats often missing from managed landscapes. Each place we protect today has the potential to be a future old-growth forest.”

In exchange for financial and technical support, land trusts provide the Wilderness Trust with a connection to their local communities and knowledge of their landscape. Together, partners will work to shift the narrative around wilderness conservation in the Northeast, one community at a time. “The Wildlands partnership offers a streamlined, cost-effective way for land trusts to add another dimension to their work while doing what they do best: saving places for future generations,” said Sophie Ehrhardt.

Partner land trusts can also choose to enroll wildlands conserved through the Partnership in the Wilderness Trust’s Wild Carbon program. In 2010, Northeast Wilderness Trust pioneered a developing market for carbon credits derived from privately protected wilderness. As part of the Wildlands Partnership, they are aiming to help other land trusts receive long-term and stable financial benefits by choosing to set aside permanently protected wilderness.

Learn more about the Wildlands Partnership and how your local conservation group can get involved by visiting or contacting Sophie Ehrhardt at or 802.224.1000.