TPL’s 2003 Conservation Achievements

San Francisco, CA, 12/30/03 – Today, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, has announced its conservation achievements for the year 2003. Across the country, TPL protected more than 347,000 acres in 31 states during 2003, with a fair-market value of $373 million (amounts tallied through 12/1/2003).

In addition, TPL and its affiliate, the Conservation Campaign helped 19 communities nationwide pass measures that will generate more than $1.2 billion in new funding for parks and open space.

Since it was founded in 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.6 million acres of land, from the inner city to the wilderness, in 46 states. 2003 conservation highlights include:

McKinley Elementary School Playground, Newark, New Jersey

In June, seven- to twelve-year-old junior architects celebrated the completion of their first design project-a new park in Newark’s Central Ward, adjacent to McKinley Elementary School. The two-acre park includes a track, basketball court, grass playing field, swings and play equipment that is available to students and the community. Previously an asphalt lot, the McKinley Playground is the sixth community park created through TPL’s Newark City Spaces Program, a groundbreaking public-private partnership dedicated to providing permanent, community-managed recreation spaces throughout Newark.

Connecticut Headwaters, Randolph, New Hampshire

In October, TPL completed the final phase of the landmark Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Project, marking the permanent conservation of approximately 171,000 acres in Pittsburg, Clarksville, and Stewartstown. The largest contiguous block of New Hampshire land in private ownership, this property comprises roughly three percent of the state. It is the backbone of the local economy, providing both timber-related jobs and such tourist activities as snowmobiling, fishing, canoeing, hunting, hiking, and bird watching. The land also surrounds three of the Connecticut River’s four headwater lakes and provides habitat for at least 20 rare species, including loons, osprey, bald eagles, and pine martens.

Ballona Wetlands, Los Angeles, California

In late December, TPL helped secure the permanent public protection of the historic Ballona Wetlands, along with habitat and open space north of Los Angeles International Airport, successfully ending a several decades’ long battle between developers and environmentalists to protect the largest historic, restorable coastal wetland in Los Angeles County, where 98 percent of the coastal wetlands have been developed and destroyed. The wetlands – having been reduced to less than 150 acres from an original 1,500 acres – are a priceless educational and natural resource, where wildlife can thrive surrounded by the nation’s largest metropolis. Great blue herons and brown pelicans frequent the property, thrilling the visitors who use a bike path that skirts the edge of the wetlands.

Humbug Marsh, Michigan

Located just downriver from Detroit, this 410 acre marsh in Gibraltar and Trenton offers unique fish and wildlife habitat. Humbug Marsh represents the last mile of natural shoreline on the U.S. side of the Detroit River. Home to a high diversity of fish and wildlife, the marsh has been identified as globally unique and significant in biological diversity – unlike anything outside the Great Lakes region.

Riverside Heritage Park, Princeville, NC

Princeville is the nation’s first town incorporated by freed slaves after the Civil War. In April, the town purchased land for its first new park, which town leaders say could help it recover from an epic flood Located on a formerly washed-out mobile home development, the new park will give kids a place to play and provide everyone a badly-needed dose of civic pride.

Thompson and Fisher River Valleys, Montana

In September, TPL completed the final $6.5 million phase of a seven-year, cooperative, multi-party effort to create the largest conservation easement in Montana history. This project will protect over 142,000 acres in the Thompson and Fisher River Valleys in the northwest part of the state. These lands have been the focus of a determined effort to protect wildlife and fisheries habitat, provide for traditional outdoor recreation activities, prevent incompatible subdivision and development, and provide for sustainable timber production.

Wet Mountain Valley, Colorado

TPL acquired conservation easements on the 800 acre San Isabel Ranch, the 1,020 acre Frank Kennicott Ranch, and 1,200 acres of the Rusk Hereford Ranch in the scenic Wet Mountain Valley, 80 miles southwest of Colorado Springs. These successful conservation projects are part of a larger effort by TPL and its partners, including the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund (GOCO), to conserve more than 10,000 acres in the valley’s northern end by the middle of 2004. The Wet Mountain Valley lies at the heart of Custer County’s ranching country, which increasingly is feeling pressures from population growth and land subdivision.

“After thirty years of conserving land for people, the Trust for Public Land is proud to continue doing what we do best – helping communities protect the parks, playgrounds, open space, and working lands that give them places to play and places of hope,” said TPL President Will Rogers.


Also in 2003, TPL released several conservation reports including:

. The Excellent City Park System: What Makes it Great and How to Get There -presents the “seven habits of effective park systems” along with data showing how 55 U.S. park systems measure up.

. Local Greenprinting for Growth Workbook Series – published with the National Association of Counties, the series detail the steps in creating a strategic land conservation program.

. LandVote 2002 — reports on the year’s state and local conservation finance measures. Updated conservation finance measure information found on the web at

For more information on these and other TPL publications visit

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. For fourth years in a row, The Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney magazine has named TPL the nation’s #1 or #2 most efficient conservation charity. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.