Gaining Ground

United States

61,072,596

Acres Protected

That’s about 46,267,118 football fields!

Land trusts have already conserved 61 million acres of private land across the nation — more than all of the national parks combined. Help us conserve another 60 million acres by the end of the decade.

Together, let’s keep Gaining Ground.

Visitors to Land Trust Properties

16.7 million

Visitors in 2020, more than double that of 2015.

Percent of Land Trusts That Provide Public Access to Their Lands

80%

Land trusts provide opportunities to recreate and recharge.

Number of People Served

6.4 million

Land trusts provide programs and activities to get people outside and learn about the land.

Miles of Trails

9,761

Getting outside improves people's health and well-being.

Miles With Universal Access

997

Trails that are designed to be used by all people, regardless of ability.

Percent of Land Trusts Who Increased Community Engagement in the Last Five Years

76%

Land Trusts Are Deepening Relationships With:
  • People from various racial and ethnic backgrounds

  • Older adults or those living in retirement communities

  • People living with disabilities

  • People who identify as LGBTQ+

  • Veterans

Land Trusts Are Helping Address Community Needs, Including:
  • Youth education and development

  • Community and economic development

  • Food security and agriculture

  • Health and wellness

  • Social and environmental justice

Demographics

Every land trust is as unique as the community it serves.

Land trusts are community-led and supported and protect lands and waters that benefit everyone.

Active Land Trusts

1,281

A land trust is a nonprofit that conserves land by acquiring and stewarding land or conservation easements.

Learn more about land trusts
Alliance Member Land Trusts

948

Land Trust Alliance members commit to adopting Land Trust Standards and Practices as their guiding principles.

Learn about the land trust alliance
Accredited Land Trusts

453

Accredited land trusts undergo a thorough review of their practices in governance, finance, transactions and stewardship.

Learn about accreditation

People

  • 6.3 million

  • 233,574

  • 10,047

  • 2,669

  • 13,672

Land Trust Longevity

  • 179 years old (1843)

  • 2 years old (2020)

  • 31 years old

Percent of Land Trusts Who Increased Focus on Climate Change in the Last Five Years

74%

Percent of Land Trusts Receiving Funding to Address Climate Change

33%

Sources of Funding to Address Climate Change
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service

  • North American Wetlands Conservation Act

  • United States Forest Service

  • Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science

Land Protected

Local land trusts are leading the way forward.

Land trusts have protected 61 million acres — more than all national parks. Local and state land trusts contributed to 70% of the growth in land protected since 2015.

2010
2015
2020
Total acres protected
45,813,150
54,891,951
61,072,596
+33%
Under easement
12,837,451
16,572,307
20,236,888
+58%
Owned
7,231,273
7,941,081
8,489,036
+17%
Acquired and reconveyed
10,562,844
12,207,155
13,057,348
+24%
Protected by other means
14,004,762
17,400,332
18,132,959
+29%

Disclaimer: Land trusts conserve land in many different ways and every project is unique. Category totals may change depending on how acres are reported by survey respondents to reflect the most current data and minimize double-counting. In some instances, the total may be greater than the sum of the separate categories due to organizations that provided total acres not broken down by category.

Percent of Land Owned and Under Easement Held by an Accredited Land Trust

81%

Source: 2020 National Land Trust Census

Total Public Funding for Conservation From 1998-2017

$46 billion

Source: Trust for Public Land's Conservation Almanac

Acres of Land Lost to Development From 2012-2017

2,626,800

Source: NRCS - Natural Resources Inventory

This information reflects data collected in the National Land Trust Census, the longest-running comprehensive survey of private land conservation in America. Learn more about the Census and see which land trusts participated in the 2020 National Land Trust Census.

National Land Trusts

Land Trust Alliance member land trusts, listed below, commit to adopting Land Trust Standards and Practices as their guiding principles.