About

Conserving forever-wild landscapes for nature and people.

OUR APPROACH

At Northeast Wilderness Trust we believe that wild nature deserves the freedom to flourish. On forever-wild lands people take a step back and natural processes unfold freely. The 65,000+ acres of wildlands safeguarded by Northeast Wilderness Trust are places where all species can thrive and evolve. And when we make a choice to protect wilderness, it offers incredible gifts in return:

 

Biodiversity

Resilience

Carbon Storage

Reciprocity

What is Wilderness?

The root of the word wilderness means “will-of-the-land.” Wilderness is self-willed land. A wild place is one that is free from human control, where natural processes direct the ebb and flow of life. Howard Zahniser, the primary author of the Wilderness Act of 1964, intentionally chose to use the obscure word untrammeled in the law’s definition of wilderness. 

“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” 

A trammel is something that impedes free movement. Untrammeled lands are not necessarily pristine but are free, unyoked from human dominion. At the Wilderness Trust, we like to say that wilderness is not simply a special kind of place, it’s a special kind of commitment we make to a place.  

Wilderness in the Conservation Context

Land conservation can take many forms. Some conservation focuses on supporting human communities with a sustainable supply of forest and agricultural products (resource conservation). Others secure lands specifically for wildlife, so that they can have peaceful homes where ecological processes unfold naturally (nature conservation). These realms of conservation are essential and complementary.

Northeast Wilderness Trust works exclusively on the latter, but regularly partners with other land trusts that focus on conserving well-managed timberlands and farms. The bulk of land conservation work across the Northeast has been oriented toward conserving managed woodlands and farms, not natural areas. The Wilderness Trust was founded to help restore and preserve new wilderness areas on private land and to champion the wilderness idea.

Northeast Wilderness Trust’s Lands and Easements

Some of our Preserves are under active scientific study. Some have critical habitat for endangered or threatened species. Some are crossed by footpaths, where people can find solace while hiking, watching birds, or sitting quietly to listen to a brook or watch a sunset. All of these forever-wild places are allies in the fight to slow climate change, as they sequester and store carbon at a greater rate than timberlands.

While the Northeast has experienced an incredible recovery from the logging and agricultural practices of early European settlers, we are a far cry from knowing wilderness as a common feature of this region. Wilderness Society founder Bob Marshall once spoke of “freedom of the wilderness.” It is freedom that is the defining attribute of wilderness—not the absence of people or human impact upon the land. Indeed, on most of the land Northeast Wilderness Trust protects, one can find the remnants of past human activity, from stone walls to decommissioned logging roads to mouldering settlements. But in all these places, natural succession operates freely, allowing ecosystems to heal, restore, and grow old.

WHO WE ARE

Northeast Wilderness Trust is a non-profit land trust, founded in 2002 to fill the vacant niche of wilderness protection in the Northeast. Our mission is to conserve forever-wild landscapes for nature and people. Our small and dedicated team of conservationists is based in Vermont and Massachusetts, with a dedicated Board of Directors spanning the Northeast. Northeast Wilderness Trust protects more than 65,000 forever-wild acres across New England and New York.

Staff

Jon Leibowitz
Executive Director
Ext. 101
Cathleen Maine
Development Director
Ext. 105
Shelby Perry
Wildlands Ecologist
Ext. 107
Sophi Veltrop
Outreach Manager
Ext. 108
Sophie Ehrhardt
Carbon Specialist
Ext. 103
Joe Falconeiri
Southern New England
Land Steward
Erin Meiman
Operations Manager
Ext. 106
Tom Butler
Senior Fellow
Ext. 102
Bob Linck
Conservation Director
Ext. 104
Hannah Epstein
Stewardship Manager
Ext. 109
Nathaniel Williams
Development
Coordinator
Ext. 110
Caitlin Belcher
Land Protection Manager
Ext. 112
Becky Clough
Northern New England
Land Steward
Justin Pikulski
Rewilding Intern
Eric Bailey
Wildlands Ecology Intern

Board of Directors

Mark Anderson Headshot
Mark Anderson
President, Massachusetts
Suse O'Keeffe Headshot
Susie O’Keeffe
Vice President, Maine
Rick Rancourt Headshot
Rick Rancourt
Treasurer, Vermont
Emily Bateson
Vermont
Kristin DeBoer
Massachusetts
Jim Dehner
Massachusetts
Rachel Drakon Headshot
Rachel Drakon
Vermont
Brett Engstrom Headshot
Brett Engstrom
Vermont
Carol Fox Headshot
Carol Fox
New York
Daniel Hildreth Headshot
Daniel Hildreth
Maine
Randy Kritausky
Vermont
Henry Tepper Headshot
Henry Tepper
Massachusetts
Brian Tijan Headshot
Brian Tijan
Vermont
Paul Torrence
New York
Annie Faulker Headshot
Annie Faulkner
Board Emerita, New Hampshire
Merloyd Ludington
Board Emerita, Massachusetts
Brian Tijan Headshot
Brian Tijan
Vermont
Paul Torrence
New York
Annie Faulker Headshot
Annie Faulkner
Board Emerita, New Hampshire
Brian Tijan Headshot
Jon Leibowitz
Executive Director
Brian Tijan Headshot
Cathleen Maine
Development Director
Brian Tijan Headshot
Sophie Ehrhardt
Wildlands Partnership Coordinator

Advisors

Meade Cadot
Harris Center for Conservation Education
Stephen Trombulak
Middlebury College
Bill McKibben
350.org & Middlebury College
Mike DiNunzio
Conservation Ecologist
Marc Lapin
Middlebury College
George Woodwell
Woods Hole Research Center

LIBRARY

Browse our Annual Reports, Wild Works series, Strategic Plan, and more.

Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan

Read the Wilderness Trust's Strategic Plan for 2020-2025, which is organized around four pillars: Protect, Connect, Champion, and Sustain....

Wild Works

Wild Works

Wild Works is an annual series written by experts in the field of wilderness conservation. The series showcases the many benefits of wildlands, for both nature and people....

Research and Essays

Research and Essays

Dive into the best scientific studies, poetic essays, and historic treatises supporting wilderness and protection of wildlands....

Financials

Financials

See IRS 990 Forms from the past five years and the Wilderness Trust's EIN....

Annual Reports

Annual Reports

Read stories, successes, and statistics from the Wilderness Trust's past few years of conservation work, accompanied by beautiful wildlife and landscape photography....

WIDENING THE WILD

At Northeast Wilderness Trust, we take seriously the responsibility for wilderness conservation to be a welcoming movement for all. It’s the right thing to do. “Widening the Wild” is a four-part initiative to make strides towards diversity, equity, and inclusion in the conservation field.

EMPLOYMENT

Northeast Wilderness Trust is currently hiring for a Director of Strategic Communications. To be informed of future open positions, you can sign up for our Enewsletter or follow us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.