2006 County Land Conservation Awards Announced

WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/4/2006- The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) today announced six winners for the second annual County Leadership in Conservation Awards, which recognizes leadership, innovation, and excellence on local land conservation and park creation initiatives by county leaders across America.

The winning counties-Los Angeles County, Calif.; Wake County, N.C.; Volusia County, Fla.; Carroll County, Md.; Santa Fe County, N.M.; and Calvert County, Md.-were honored at NACo’s annual Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. In addition to the national recognition, each county received a travel scholarship to promote countywide land conservation programs as effective solutions to thoughtful regional growth issues.

NACo President Bill Hansell and TPL Senior Vice President Ernest Cook noted that the 2006 County Leadership Awards come at a time when counties are increasingly leading innovators in the protection of open space as a strategy for managing growth.

Since 1996, 127 counties have prioritized land protection with new or reconsidered conservation programs. In that time these counties have passed 213 ballot measures, generating $10.35 billion for open space, parks, watersheds, recreational lands, and wildlife preserves. Nearly 80 percent of all county conservation ballot measures in the last decade have won voter approval. These numbers show that increasingly both voters and counties are acting locally to address issues that really matter to them, such as the protection of land and water resources.

“Land conservation is more than a nice thing to do or a reaction to the problem of development,” said Will Rogers, TPL President. “A local conservation program is based on local values. This year’s winners are being recognized for their commitment to creating healthy, livable places.”

NACo President Bill Hansell, Umatilla County, Ore. County Commissioner, said, “I applaud these counties for their leadership and commitment to critical land conservation programs. NACo is proud to join our friends at the Trust for Public Land to showcase the best practices in land conservation initiatives across America.”

“As America grows counties will be tasked with ensuring thoughtful growth,” said Will Rogers. “The Trust for Public Land’s partnership with counties-and with the National Association of Counties in particular-shows how creating parks and conserving open space are at the heart of making communities great places to live, work, and play.”

Highlights of the winning programs are attached. Additional information and nomination forms can be accessed on the Web at either www.tpl.org/awards or www.naco.org/conservationawards or by calling (617) 367-6200 ext. 303.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.9 million acres in 46 states. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations and corporations. Visit TPL on the Web at www.tpl.org

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical and public affairs assistance to county governments. Created in 1935, NACo continues to ensure that the nation’s 3,066 counties are heard and understood in the White House and Congress.