Our Story

Land Worth Preserving

The northernmost peninsula of Virginia was extremely isolated for many years, bordered by the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Then in 1927, the Downing Bridge replaced the ferry that connected the town of Tappahannock to the Northern Neck and the automobile began to replace the steamboat that had made many trips to Baltimore. The main transportation route was evolving from those charming waterfront villages to interior towns served by the automobile and the charm of this remote rural area captivated those who visited.

It is that special rural heritage and the open lands by the water that lure people to the Northern Neck and instill pride in those families whose ancestors first settled in the area. Pride in the farmland that produces the food we consume, pride in the crabs and oysters harvested from the bay and rivers, pride in the Indian tribes first living in the area, pride in the fish caught and sold around the world, pride in the wooded acres providing habitat for wildlife and timber for building, and pride in the contributions made by our Northern Neck forefathers to the establishment of United States doctrines.

Pursuing A Vision

In the late 1990’s, a group of citizens gathered to discuss their concerns about the future of the Northern Neck. The rural based economies and the desire to have the Northern Neck grow gracefully were extremely important to this visionary group. Water quality, contiguous farm and forest lands, and scenic vistas were the focal point of their efforts. An ancient Indian proverb resonated with them: “The land is not given to us by our parents; it is borrowed from our children.”

These informal exchanges and get-togethers eventually evolved into the Northern Neck Land Conservancy. Many round table discussions were held at the Northern Neck Planning District in Warsaw to discuss the priorities and structure of this new organization. Wink Hastings (Chesapeake Bay Program) and Debi Osborne (American Farmland Trust) helped to guide the group and determine the outreach proximity of the organization. Eventually, a consensus was reached to include the counties of King George, Westmoreland, Richmond, Northumberland and Lancaster. It only seemed appropriate, for this region, steeped in history, originally stretched to the Ohio River and this expansive territory originally known as Northumberland County was called the “Mother County” of Virginia.

The Official Start

After three years of meetings, the Northern Neck Land Conservancy was incorporated in 2004. Signers of the Articles of Incorporation included Jane Towner, Kathryn Gregory, Don McCann, Mary Louisa Pollard and George Freeman, Jr. The Northern Neck Land Conservancy was very fortunate to have the guidance of George Freeman, as he was one of the principal authors of the Virginia Open Space Land Act that became the basis for the conservation easement program in Virginia.

This small non-profit land trust set up “shop” in one of the founder’s backyard, using a small outbuilding without running water. Now, there is an office located in Lancaster, Virginia at 8327 Mary Ball Road in a historical building. The Northern Neck Land Conservancy has assisted landowners for nine years and has worked to preserve 14,287 acres of land on the Northern Neck.

The NNLC mission statement had many revisions, but one only needs to read it to understand the goals of the founding group: “to preserve the rural heritage of the Northern Neck by conserving its lands, waters, economies and culture for future generations.”

8327 MARY BALL ROAD LANCASTER, VA 22503 · 804-462-0979

An Accredited Land Trust


DEADLINE:  September 1, 2021

The Northern Neck Land Conservancy (NNLC) is an accredited, member-supported nonprofit conservation organization founded in 2004 that is committed to preserving open space through conservation easements in Virginia’s Northern Neck counties of King George, Westmoreland, Richmond, Northumberland and Lancaster, and Essex County of the Middle Peninsula.

The NNLC works to protect the Chesapeake Bay and its watersheds, preserve unique historical sites, and maintain its rural culture of farmlands, forests and critical habitat for native and endangered species. The NNLC educates landowners and the public on responsible stewardship of the area’s rich biological bounty and natural beauty.

Position Summary: The Executive Director will have a genuine passion and enthusiasm for land conservation and the NNLC mission, working under the supervision and direction of the Board President. The Executive Director is responsible for providing leadership for the overall planning, direction, and implementation of NNLC’s programs and daily operations.

Responsibilities and Scope:

  • Conservation - Manage the process of forming conservation easements from initial contact with the landowner through final filing of the easement through advice and guidance in compliance with NNLC standards and procedures.
  • Land Stewardship- Oversee inspection and record keeping prescribed for the management of easements, working closely with all landowners helping them comply with the terms of their easements.
  • Financial Management- Support the NNLC Financial Manager and Treasurer in their duties of accounting, budgeting, expenditures, and funds management.
  • Organizational Growth- Ensure the NNLC office systems are in place for effective management including appropriate file retention, mapping, GIS, computers, equipment, and recruitment of interns and volunteers.
  • Personnel Supervision- Train, motivate and evaluate staff with Board oversight to encourage professional growth opportunities and increase effectiveness.
  • Strategic Planning and Vision- Work with staff and the Board in the strategic planning process, proposing goals and developing a vision for the future of NNLC.
  • Outreach and Education- Build and maintain effective relations and cooperation with local and state governments, regional conservation agencies, and the U.S. Department of Defense.
  • Development- Research and write grant applications, maintain continuing relationships with existing grantors, and cultivate relationships with new potential sources of gifts and bequests.

Specific Duty Requirements:

  • Travel is required to various locations in the region for meetings, conferences, workshops, and speaking engagements.
  • Evening and weekend work may be necessary.
  • Transportation for the performance of duties must be provided by the Executive Director.


  1. Compensation for travel mileage necessary for the performance of NNLC business will be provided including visiting properties, and attendance at meetings and conferences.
  2. Travel between home and the office will not be compensated.
  3. Per diem will be paid for overnight business travel as well as conference fees and professional society memberships as approved in advance by the President.
  4. Financial assistance with moving costs is available.

Application:  Submit resumes to Mr. Jim Russell, email: jimrussell1948@yahoo.com