Our Story

In 1985 a group of people from communities throughout Oregon’s North Coast assembled to consider a new way to approach conservation.

Fox Creek property at Saddle Mountain State Park

They wanted to approach conservation cooperatively rather than confrontationally, to engage the whole community to do what was best for people, plants, and wildlife. By 1986 North Coast Land Conservancy had a name, an eight-member board of directors, and perky logo featuring a favorite wetland bird, the marsh wren.

One win-win, then another

NCLC’s first opportunity to take action arose in 1991, when we successfully facilitated a land swap that conserved a 15-acre parcel of private timberland adjacent to Saddle Mountain State Park—a park known for its rare plant species. It was the first biodiversity-based conservation proposal that state and federal agencies involved in the negotiations had ever seen. That same year NCLC made its first acquisition of land in what would become a pattern of win-win transactions. The purchase of Wahanna Marsh in Seaside both conserved a saltmarsh and helped create a place for the children of Seaside to play baseball.

Leading Edge Conservation

Since then, NCLC has conserved thousands of acres of land in Clatsop, Tillamook, and Lincoln counties, mainly by acquiring land outright or by acquiring conservation easements on private land. We have also helped transfer hundreds of acres of land to public ownership.

“How do you sit down at the table with a timber company and carry on dialogue that doesn’t include threats of lawsuits but is instead a facilitation? We figured it out.”
—Neal Maine, NCLC founding executive director

By our 30th anniversary in 2016, we had begun approaching conservation much more strategically, guided by our own science-based conservation initiatives and focusing on long-landscape conservation that makes the biggest impact on native habitats. In August of that year, NCLC was granted accreditation by The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. National accreditation demonstrates a land trust’s commitment to professional excellence, helping to maintain the public’s trust in its work.

Read more about us: Our work, our mission, and our vision

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