Gaining Ground

Massachusetts

466,157

Acres Protected

That’s about 353,149 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

2.8 million

More and more people are enjoying the benefits of nature.

Percent of Land Trusts That Provide Public Access to Their Lands

82%

Land trusts provide opportunities to recreate and recharge.

Number of People Served

469,331

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

Miles of Trails

1,663

Walking, hiking and other outdoor recreation improve people's health and well-being.

Miles With Universal Access

28

Universal access trails are designed to be used by all people, regardless of ability.

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

86%

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

  • Older adults or those living in retirement communities

  • People who identify as LGBTQ+

  • People living with disabilities

  • 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.

Massachusetts land trusts are community-led and supported and protect lands and waters that help the entire state.

Active Land Trusts

130

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

73

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

12

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

Learn about land trust accreditation

People

  • Members/financial supporters

    389,469

  • Volunteers

    17,913

  • Full-time staff

    721

  • Part-time staff

    610

  • Board members

    1,194

Land Trust Longevity

  • Oldest

    131 years old (1891)

  • Youngest

    14 years old (2008)

  • Median age

    39 years old

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

86%

Percent of Land Trusts Receiving Funding to Address Climate Change

31%

Sources of Funding to Address Climate Change
  • Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Program

  • Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management

  • Coastal Zone Management

  • MassWildlife

  • Division of Ecological Restoration

Land Protected

There has been a 35% increase in Massachusetts land protected by land trusts since 2010.

Acre by acre, land trusts are helping to conserve Massachusetts lands, waters and ways of life.

2010
2015
2020
Total acres protected
344,257
437,569
466,157
+35%
Under easement
79,737
104,257
117,774
+48%
Owned
122,216
142,200
154,166
+26%
Acquired and reconveyed
78,500
67,482
90,108
+15%
Protected by other means
63,805
124,151
104,111
+63%

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

31%

Source: 2020 National Land Trust Census

Total Public Funding for Conservation From 1998-2017

$1.6 billion

Source: Trust for Public Land's Conservation Almanac

Acres of Land Lost to Development From 2012-2017

24,600

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.

Making a Difference

Massachusetts land trusts are gaining ground.

Land trusts across the state are helping find solutions to some of Massachusetts' most pressing issues.

  • Tackling climate change: The accredited Nantucket Conservation Foundation, in collaboration with the Town of Nantucket Natural Resource Department, completed the final step in a two-year-long restoration project to create a new oyster reef in Polpis Harbor. The first reef of it’s kind in Massachusetts, this project will show one way to bring more stability and resilience to shorelines around New England.

    Read more
  • Providing access to land for all: To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to connect with nature, many of the accredited Mass Audubon's wildlife sanctuaries feature universally accessible trails. These trails incorporate universally designed interpretive features including educational stops, wildlife viewing boardwalks and platforms, picnic and play areas, and navigation resources such as audio directions, guide ropes, curbing and handrails.

    Read more
  • Conserving wildlife habitat: Greenbelt, a land trust in Essex County, conducts osprey research to better understand the habitats and areas osprey use during their spring and fall migration, and protect summer breeding areas such as the Great Marsh.

    Learn more

Land Trusts Working in Massachusetts

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