Welcome to the Cacapon & Lost Rivers Land Trust, a Nationally Accredited Land Trust

There are still pockets of beautiful color in the watershed as the days grow shorter and we prepare for fall and winter.  Farm fields are being tucked in as I like to say, and shelves are now stocked with canning jars filled with the bounty of summer gardens.  Cattle are being moved down to lower elevations. If you're lucky you'll catch a glimpse of some pine siskins and maybe even an evening grosbeak.  People continue to come into this beautiful watershed with more cars than usual at favorite trail heads.  The natural resources that envelop us here continue to fill us up and sustain us as we manage through the pandemic with many changes in our daily lives. 

Here at the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust we've had lots of good news over the last few months, including the selection of Nancy Ailes, the first and formidable Executive Director of the Land Trust for 15 years, as a West Virginia Wonder Woman, sponsored by West Virginia Living Magazine. Nancy is among the 50 women selected in 2020 who are "creating a better West Virginia with their can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit."

A can-do attitude is a bit of an understatement if you know Nancy. Nancy built this organization and led the way toward protecting nearly 14,000 acres through an innovative "hubs and corridors" approach. The Land Trust became a national leader through the Healing Waters Land Prioritization Plan that applied a green infrastructure strategy to make the best decisions about what lands to protect and why. "I had connectivity drilled into me," Nancy remembers. "You have to know where the highest conservation value land is and connect parcels of protected lands. Where can you connect to already protected public land? We had limited money and I didn't want to waste it. I wanted to do what's best for everyone and the watershed. We have to protect the watershed from beginning to end, and this is more likely through a hubs and corridors strategy. Ecosystems need to remain intact."

Nancy's can-do attitude found her up at 3 a.m. on some mornings doing the Land Trust work. "It was really quiet, and I wouldn't get interrupted. The long hours were the hard part," recalls Nancy. And what was the most gratifying? "When we closed on an easement. People just sobbed. They had found an avenue for the future of their property from the grave." Nancy closed on nearly 50 easements! "I was able to do something that made a difference to them and the watershed and for future generations to come. That was the most gratifying," said Nancy.

Thank you Nancy Ailes for your leadership and ongoing commitment to the mission of the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust!

More from my conversation with Nancy in the Fall issue of our newsletter coming out soon.

To sign up for News from the Watershed, follow the Subscribe button below. The Fall issue is coming out soon.


Jennifer Jones
Executive Director


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Trust Accomplishments

  • Largest local land trust in the state of West Virginia

  • 7th largest land trust in the entire Chesapeake Bay Watershed

  • Over $6 Million dollars of conservation easements have been put into the hands of local landowners

  • 1st West Virginia Land Trust to be accredited by LTA (Land Trust Alliance)

  • 53 Conservation Easements

  • 14,000+ acres permanently protected

Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust Receives Grant to Partner with Trout Unlimited!

We’re excited to share the good news that our efforts to permanently protect land and to continue to work with Trout Unlimited to improve habitat for native brook trout just received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation! Go here for more information on this important grant program.

Land Trust sets goal of 8,000 more protected acres

Jennifer Jones, Executive Director of the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust recently spoke to the Hampshire Review about our commitment to land protection in the Cacapon watershed.

Read more here

Read what's happening at the Land Trust!

Read Summer Issue

You can also sign up for the Fall issue of News from the Watershed coming out soon.


Interested in protecting your land?

Conservation easements are flexible tools that meet the needs of landowners and protect land forever. Working in partnership with landowners, the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust listens carefully and ensures the goals of landowners are supported and the conservation values of the land are protected. Conservation easements offer peace of mind and through donated easements, tax deduction benefits. For more information contact Jennifer at jennifer@cacapon.org.

Our Work Inspires Us!

We assist landowners and communities in the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Watershed with maintaining healthy rivers, protecting forests and farmland, and preserving rural heritage for the enjoyment and well being of present and future generations.

Rare Native Plants Found!

Grass Pinks Calapogon Orchid
Calapogn tuberosus

Kates Mountain Clover
Trifolium virginicum

November 20th is the deadline for EQIP Program Application

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) partners with the Cacapon & Lost Rivers Land Trust and Trout Unlimited to advance conservation efforts in the watershed. Land currently in agricultural production, or non-industrial private forestland, is eligible for the financial assistance through the EQIP program.

Applications are accepted year-round, but those interested must apply by November 20, 2020 to be eligible for funding available in early 2021.

NRCS works on a voluntary basis with private landowners to promote agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. Trained conservationists help landowners document how they want to manage their properties. Financial assistance is available to eligible participants to implement land management goals through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP can assist with fencing to exclude livestock from riparian areas, woodland, or other environmentally-sensitive areas. The program can help develop water sources for pastures, install culverts to eliminate barriers to aquatic passage in streams, and fix eroding stream banks.

Applications are accepted year-round, but those interested must apply by November 20, 2020 to be eligible for funding available in early 2021.

For more information, please contact your local NRCS office or Christi Hicks, District Conservationist / 304-276-5636 / Christi.Hicks@usda.gov

Your Generosity Motivates Us!

Photo by Bill Blauvelt

Every donation motivates us to continue the important work of permanently protecting land and conserving natural resources in the Cacapon and Lost Rivers watershed. With your support, this area of West Virginia will continue to be a special place to live, work and visit.

Please click here to help protect land, water quality, wildlife and the rural experience in the Cacapon and Lost Rivers watershed.


Listening to the Land

Stories from the Cacapon & Lost River Valley

Listening to the Land

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