Dr. Chris Moore says his desire to preserve Long Branch, a residential preserve along Lookout Mountain, is simply part of his heritage.
"It was something that ran in our family, this love of the land and our community," said Moore, whose family has been in Chattanooga for generations.
Moore and other backers of Lookout Mountain have donated land, time and resources to save the mountain's heritage through the Lookout Mountain Conservancy, a land trust created 22 years ago to protect the mountain's scenery and history.
The Land Trust Alliance recently recognized the Lookout Mountain Conservancy with its national accreditation following a year and a half review of the conservancy. Out of 1,700 similar land trusts in the United States, only 230 conservation groups have earned the Land Trust Alliance accreditation.
Moore said the recognition demonstrates the organization "takes land conservation seriously, including all the details needed for permanent land conservation."
The Lookout Mountain Conservancy is a local land trust that works with area landowners to create conservation plans and voluntary conservation agreements. Landowners continue to own the land and manage the land and can sell, lease, give it away or mortgage the land. The property stays in private ownership and on the tax rolls.
"As a conservation 'Good Housekeeping Seal' (Land Trust accreditation) gives supporters, community members, and foundations like ours, the confidence to know that it is a well-run organization," said Bruz Clark, president of the Lyndhurst Foundation, another supporter of the Lookout Mountain trust.
Most recently, the trust has focused on the John Wilson Park, on the eastern slope of Lookout Mountain working with students in a summer job-corps program supported by the land trust's membership and business partners.
This fall the Lookout Mountain Conservancy will be completing the Civil War historical review on the John Wilson Park extension. Founded in 1991, the Conservancy's focus area covers the full 93 miles of Lookout Mountain, from Hamilton County, Tenn., to Etowah County, Ala.