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Nisqually Land Trust
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Connecting land, water, people, and wildlife in the Nisqually River Watershed since 1989
Connecting land, water, people, and wildlife in the Nisqually River Watershed since 1989

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Our History - The Nisqually Land Trust was incorporated as an independent, private, nongovernmental organization in 1989 and officially recognized as a 501c3 in 1990. In our early years, we focused on acquisition of wildlife habitat in the lower, or salmon-producing, portion of the Nisqually River — the 42 miles from Tacoma Power’s LaGrande dam to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. The Land Trust continues to play a central role in the watershed’s recovery plans for threatened Chinook salmon and steelhead. All told, the Land Trust and its partners have permanently protected 78 percent of the lower river’s shoreline.

In addition to acquiring priority conservation lands, we work with our many partners to steward those lands and wherever possible to restore them to their highest level of conservation value – such as our Ohop Creek Restoration Project, one of the largest stream-restoration projects in Washington State, which has completely re-meandered and restored some 2.4 miles of Ohop Creek, the second-largest salmon producing tributary to the Nisqually River.

In 2006, in response to requests from residents of the Upper Nisqually Valley, the Land Trust expanded its work into the upper watershed. In particular, we focused on protecting timberlands, endangered-species habitat, recreation lands, and scenic vistas near Mount Rainier National Park, where the Nisqually River has its source.

In 2012, we completed our Mount Rainier Gateway Reserve, a 2,500 acre wildlife corridor connecting federal, state, and county lands in the upper watershed, near Ashford and the main entrance to the national park.

That same year, in cooperation with the National Park Service and a 26-member advisory group from throughout the watershed, we launched the Nisqually Community Forest Project, to explore the potential to create a landscape-scale working forest managed specifically to provide sustainable economic, environmental, and cultural benefits to the people of the Nisqually Watershed.

In August of 2013, we were awarded national accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, a mark of conservation excellence achieved so far by fewer than 20 percent of land trusts nationwide. In 2014, the Nisqually Community Forest was incorporated as a subsidiary of the Land Trust, and earlier this year it received federal recognition as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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The Nisqually Land Trust acquires and manages critical lands to permanently benefit the water, wildlife, and people of the Nisqually River Watershed.
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