Dear extraordinary Trust for Public Land staff,
As I write to you today, my heart is filled with a profound sense of gratitude and hope—emotions that have been the cornerstone of my journey with this incredible organization. It is with those sentiments that I announce my decision to step down as president and CEO of Trust for Public Land, effective this summer. I do so knowing TPL’s momentum to connect people to the joys and benefits of the outdoors is strong and set to make an impact for decades to come.

When I joined Trust for Public Land six years ago, I did so because I was deeply inspired by our commitment to equity, exemplified by the preservation of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood neighborhood. Our focus on equity has only strengthened over time, as we’ve built upon this foundation through initiatives like our Black History and Culture program, rejuvenating our Tribal and Indigenous Lands program, expanding our board of directors, and implementing DEI policies that reflect the diverse communities we serve. Meeting with tribal leaders, who, despite enduring generations of broken promises, honored us with their trust and insights, has been just one of many profound sources of inspiration for me during my time here.

Our land protection work has reached new heights—literally. From the preservation of places like Fishers Peak in Colorado, which is so important to the economic and recreational lives of the people living in its shadow, to California’s coastal vistas and the Appalachian Trail’s stunning expanses. We’ve revamped community schoolyards in dozens of neighborhoods, and taken on leading a movement for schoolyard transformations in over twenty states. Thanks to you, we’ve been welcomed into communities to help them enact their vision for public lands—from community forests to bike trails to green alleyways.

Together, we have strengthened the TPL community—while accomplishing extraordinary work. We all came together to rededicate ourselves to the work in an enriching all-staff retreat in Estes Park, Colorado, and we worked to foster a culture of kindness and belonging, especially coming out of the challenging times of 2020. We navigated the pandemic and social upheaval with resilience and solidarity, articulated our organizational values for the first time, and laid out our first-ever strategic plan. These achievements are testaments to our collective strength and dedication, and reverberate in the lives of millions of people who are connected to the magic of the outdoors thanks to our work.

Over the past six years, I had the personal privilege to meet many of our community partners and see our work up close. Your work to build those trusted partnerships has made TPL extraordinary. Attending the opening of the South Oak Cliff Renaissance Park in Dallas remains a powerful memory for me—an example of how we are true partners in work to bring a community’s vision for itself to life. This park, like many others we’ve had the opportunity to work on, stands as a beacon of what is possible when we put community at the center of our work.

As I prepare to pass the baton, I am reminded of a relay race. As we enter the “changeover box,” I will be sprinting with all my might before handing off the baton. And, it’s not the end of the race, but a continuation, as each one of us plays a vital part in this team effort. We must keep pushing forward with the same vigor and commitment, because our work is so vitally important to the health and resilience of our communities and our country.

My decision to step back is very much a personal one. I long to spend more time with my children and grandchildren, to pursue my passions for ceramics, travel, and to immerse myself more in the great outdoors that we all work so hard to protect and share.

As we transition, I am filled with confidence in our leadership team, our board, and our board chair, Lucas St. Clair, who embodies the spirit and vision of our organization. A transition committee has been formed and is already working with a selected search firm to find our next president and CEO. I have every confidence that they will find a leader who can seize on the momentum we have built together.

My gratitude to each of you is boundless. You are the heart of Trust for Public Land, and your dedication to connecting communities with the outdoors is unparalleled and deeply inspiring. Your work doesn’t just change landscapes; it changes lives.

So much we hear about today portrays a world rooted in cynicism, division, loneliness, and isolation. But through what we’ve learned from the communities we serve, we at TPL know better. In that spirit, let’s look to the future with hope, not as a passive wish, but as an active force. Hope that is borne of action, collaboration, and a relentless pursuit of a world where everyone feels a deep sense of belonging to their community, the healing power of nature, and connection to the land they call home.

Thank you for being part of this journey with me. We have tremendous work to continue, between now and June, and I look forward to being a lifelong supporter of this movement we all lead and belong to, together. Here’s to the next chapter in the extraordinary story of Trust for Public Land, and the communities we connect to the joys and benefits of the outdoors.

With heartfelt gratitude and hope for our shared future,
Sincerely yours,

Diane Regas