What is a land trust?

Portland Trails is a land trust, a non-profit organization that works towards the protection of land and its resources for the benefit of the greater community. Land trusts protect land through conservation easements, land acquisitions, and by stewarding, maintaining, and conserving green spaces.

Why do we conserve land?

Healthy ecosystems are integral to the health of the entire community. Plants and animals need intact ecosystems and corridors to connect fragmented green spaces. Human residents also benefit: conservation leads to cleaner air and water, healthier local pollinators, and increased access to natural areas to exercise and refresh. Conservation land is an economic boon too – on average, property near green spaces tends to be of higher value.

We at Portland Trails acknowledge that our trails are on unceded Wabanaki and Abenaki territory. We also acknowledge that land conservation has roots in white supremacy and has been a tool of colonization. We have a responsibility to decolonize conservation, and we are listening to and following the lead of Wabanaki and Abenaki tribes. Read our full land justice responsibility statement.

What does our conservation work look like?

Portland Trails holds multiple land easements, owns over 100 acres of land, and cares for ecosystems throughout Greater Portland. However, as an urban land trust, we hold a unique place in the cityscape, and our conservation efforts are largely directed at impacting human behavior. We connect people with the natural world and help reduce carbon footprints by providing active transportation options throughout Portland. These efforts lead to urban habitat preservation, pollution reduction, and improved public health.

We engage community members through our volunteer and stewardship program in hands-on, outdoor work. Our trails staff manage the most invasive species on our properties. We also regularly partner with developers, city planning, neighborhood organizations, other land trusts, and like-minded organizations on projects that build or preserve public green spaces.