Strategic Plan

WWLT Strategic Plan

Updated: 2016

Preamble

This document reflects the consensus of the WWLT Board of Directors initially adopted in October 2007, and is intended to guide the organization in its future policies and actions. As any strategic plan, it is subject to revision and updating as conditions change over time.

  1. Vision

The Woodie Wheaton Land Trust aspires to protect forever, significant tracts of land and shorelines, so that local residents and visitors to the Chiputneticook Lakes region of Maine and New Brunswick can experience something rare and remarkable; a bounty of unspoiled natural values. The Board’s vision of the region’s landscape includes the following characteristics:

Mostly undeveloped shoreline and islands

  • Large contiguous sections and corridors under permanent protection
  • Woodlands and watersheds managed for long-term public and private benefits
  • Healthy fish and wildlife populations that support the local sporting economy and for the enjoyment by visitors
  • People residing in their natural world in a healthy relationship
  • People earning a viable living from traditional pursuits from the land and from serving seasonal visitors and residents, without threatening the natural productivity of the land and waters in the process
  • Historical and new camp/home development is clustered and screened to blend with the natural landscape
  • Public access points are carefully sited, limited in number and screened for use for “low-intensity” recreational use
  • Protection of traditional outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, and trapping

Local communities and residents benefit from the lands protected by the WWLT through:

  • Economic opportunities based on sustainable management of natural, renewable resources, including emerging uses for forest products, and based on the desire of people to visit or live within a largely unspoiled landscape, to whom local people can provide goods and services
  • Access to woods and waters for personal enjoyment and recreation, and a quality of life that is connected to living amid a landscape that is both producing wood and providing habitat for fish, wildlife and people for the long run

And within the WWLT headquarters/conservation center in Forest City:

  • People of all description learn about the history of the area, the benefits of conserved lands, the threats to healthy woodlands and freshwater resources from insensitive or poorly planned development, and what they can do themselves or with partners to protect those resources
  • People connected to the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust and to other community and regional organizations or voluntary groups use the headquarters/conservation center for any manner of meeting, partnership, project or activity, year-round, anything that builds the local community and protects and manages local natural resources for the long-term good, provided that activities are not inconsistent with the mission of the land trust
  • Community members in both Maine and New Brunswick view the WWLT center as a place where positive, constructive projects get started and succeed over time; they see the WWLT as a community cornerstone — as an asset and catalyst to positive community development.
  • Within its modest but comfortable spaces, people experience the center as a welcoming hub for activity. The center is known as a beacon of community pride, support and social interconnection.
  • Visitors learn the unfolding story of natural resources and local people, some of them choose to stay and end up writing new chapters in that story
  • Board members and staff of the WWLT and its partners enjoy functional office and meeting spaces. Community members and visitors appreciate design and features that make learning enjoyable and stimulating.
  1. Mission

To promote the protection, preservation, and conservation of land and water in the Boundary Lakes region of eastern Maine and western New Brunswick for the benefit of present and future generations.

III. Goals

Objectives, Strategies

Goal 1 -- Land & Water Protection, Stewardship, Access – The significant lands and shorelines of the Chiputneticook Lakes region are protected, stewarded, and made available for future generations to enjoy and cherish.

  1. Objective: Acquire easements and fee interests to protect as many miles of shoreline and acres as is financially possible and assist others in larger land protection efforts.

Strategies:

  • Develop focus areas via a conservation plan, including a definition of our service area, focus areas, and a policy guiding the acceptance and refusal of gifts
  • Create a database of target properties and send regular communications to these land owners
  • Increase communications and forge strong relationships with local land owners
  • Develop collaborative partnerships with local, regional, and state conservation organizations, and with the business community
  1. Objective: Ensure that WWLT properties and real interests are well managed and maintained consistent with the WWLT vision statement

Strategies:

  • Form a Stewardship Committee
  • Develop a management plan or conservation easement monitoring plan for each parcel within one year of acquisition
  • Establish baseline documentation
  • Conduct and document annual monitoring
  • Seek to establish Endowments for stewardship and sustaining operations
  1. Objective: For the benefit of the public, secure and direct land and water access points in a manner consistent with our vision statement

Strategies:

  • Negotiate formal access agreements (deeded and non-deeded) for new and traditionally used water access points
  • Secure fee and easement conveyances for traditionally used water access points
  • Manage access for low-intensity use consistent with our vision statement, such that the levels, type or frequency of use does not betray the wild and natural character of the areas protected

Goal 2 -- Community Outreach and Education -- Year-round, seasonal residents and visitors will value land conservation as part of a healthy community and will support the WWLT’s on-going efforts to conserve land

  1. Objective: Increase membership to 600 by 2010-completed
  2. Objective: Increase the number of active volunteers by 2010

Strategies (Objectives A – B):

  • Each year conduct at least two mailings to the membership, and if possible one mailing to all lake front property owners.
  • Create opportunities to bring community members and visitors into the WWLT Center, including guest speakers, community events, and use by other community groups.
  • Develop collaborative partnerships with other local groups, such as the Chiputneticook Lakes International Conservancy (CLIC), Forest City Guides Association, and the St. Croix International Waterway Commission
  • Work together with other community-based organizations
  • Conduct an annual new member drive, involve board members
  • Engage in regular communications with membership
  • Develop a quarterly email newsletter
  • Consider staff a WWLT booth at local events where appropriate
  • Revise and update the website
  • Develop promotional items to encourage giving
  • Organize annual on-going canoe visits of lake front cottage owners, as part of the lakes initiative
  • Open the WWLT Center to interested community members and visitors, and use the Center to highlight and promote the organization’s conservation work
  • Encourage annual contributions and giving from our Directors and staff
  1. Objective: Educate and inspire tomorrow’s leaders to protect and conserve our land and water resources

Strategies:

  • Explore a Project Learning Tree “Forest Ecology” seminar for students at the East Grand School
  • Explore working with Canterbury schools and/or any other schools that are on the borders of the international watershed
  • Develop interpretative activities for students at the WWLT Center
  • Encourage students to present and display conservation projects at the WWLT Center
  • Utilize the WWLT Center as a tool to communicate conservation values to Center visitors
  • Explore opportunities to work with youth camps within the international watershed, including North Lake Youth Camp
  • Take advantage of college interns for conducting research, planning and outreach activities, for example Quebec Labrador Foundation, Unity College, University of Maine, and Bowdoin College students

Goal 3 --Organizational Development – Our organization has a strong and active Board, sufficient staffing and volunteers, adequate financial capacity, and policy framework that support our mission

  1. Objective: Consolidate Woodie Wheaton Land Trust business operations by 2012 in one central location

Strategy:

  • Build the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust Center in Forest City. (The WWLT Center is now complete.)
  1. Objective: Ensure the staffing, Board, and committee capacity necessary to implement the strategic plan

Strategies:

  • Develop a feasible staffing, Board development, and committee plan
  • Create a brief but effective staff policy document that includes performance review criteria for the Executive Director
  • Encourage new Board Members; invite potential new Board Members to attend Board Meetings.
  • Seek additions to the Board with legal, accounting, and other relevant professional service experience
  • Offer teleconferencing for Board Meetings (Now complete and active)
  1. Objective: Fund our operations and active projects, in addition to establishing and expanding our operating endowment in the amount 2,000,000 by the year 2017

Strategies:

  • Develop a financial / fundraising plan for the organization
  • Form a WWLT fundraising committee (beyond the building project) (In committee with Art Wheaton, Chairman, Debra Hannigan, Dale Wheaton, & Pete Pipines with President, Executive Director and Treasurer as ex-officio members.)
  • Create ad hoc advisory groups (Bob Somerville, David Adams, Jack Smart, Barry Connelly and Elbridge Cleaves, ex officio)
  • Develop a Planned Giving Program. A suggested first step is to develop a Planned Giving Policy. Completed
  • Approve an operating budget for each fiscal year
  1. Objective: Strengthen Board communications during “off-season”

Strategies:

  • Develop bi-monthly email update for Board Members
  • Add a limited winter meeting schedule Monthly conference meetings are in effect
  • Create an Executive Committee and enable it through the bylaws
  • Amend the bylaws to better support the use of telephone and email for Board decision making. Done
  1. Objective: In order to develop a strong organization and possibly seek accreditation, more fully implement Land Trust Alliance Standards and Practices by 2013

Strategies:

  • Complete an organizational assessment to identify areas in which we need to improve our efforts to comply with Standards and Practices.
  • Develop an implementation schedule for Standards and Practices.
  • The twelve “Standards” practice areas are:
    • Mission
    • Compliance with Laws
    • Board Accountability
    • Conflicts of Interest
    • Fundraising
    • Financial and Asset Management
    • Volunteers, Staff, and Consultants
    • Evaluating and Selecting Conservation Projects
    • Ensuring Sound Transactions
    • Tax Benefits
    • Conservation Easement Stewardship
    • Fee Land Ownership
  1. Evaluation and Amendment

The Executive Director will provide an annual report to the Board of Directors detailing progress towards plan implementation and suggestions for improvement.

Amendments to the Strategic Plan require the approval of the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust Board of Directors.