TPL’s 2004 Conservation Achievements

San Francisco, CA, December 30, 2004-Today, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national land conservation nonprofit, announced its conservation achievements for the year 2004. Across the country, TPL protected more than 111,532 acres in 35 states during 2004, with a fair-market value of $403 million.

In addition, TPL and its affiliate, the Conservation Campaign helped 41 counties and municipalities nationwide pass measures that will generate more than $2.3 billion in new funding for parks and open space.

In a New York Times Op-Ed from November 20, TPL president Will Rogers said that despite a divided electorate, “these measures unify Americans. It’s hard to be against new parks and trails, or to disagree with wanting to protect farms and forests from development.”

In fact, American voters in 2004 approved 162 conservation ballot measures, raising over $4 billion nationwide for land conservation according to TPL.

Since it was founded in 1972, TPL has protected more than 2 million acres of land, from the inner city to the wilderness, in 46 states. 2004 conservation highlights include:

New York City Playgrounds, New YorkIn March 2004, the Trust for Public Land established land trusts for The Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn/Queens to oversee the 63 gardens TPL acquired in December 1999. Unprecedented in the history of the American land trust movement, together these borough land trusts make up the nation’s largest land trust protecting community gardens and the new trusts will take title to the gardens in 2005.

In November, TPL also announced an agreement with the New York City Department of Education to build 25 new community playgrounds over the next five years.

And in Brooklyn, TPL and partners released a “greenprint” plan for parkland and unbroken public access to the East River waterfront. Rezoning by the City of New York for the waterfront will shift manufacturing uses to mixed-use residential, bringing more people to a community already underserved by parkland.

Long Island, Minnesota-Naturalist, writer, and longtime resident of far northern Minnesota, Sigurd Olson raised an eloquent voice for wilderness. As advisor to the National Park Service and the secretary of the interior, Olson helped draft the Wilderness Act of 1964. On the fortieth anniversary of the that Act, TPL purchased Long Island in Minnesota’s Burntside Lake, at the headwaters of Olson’s beloved Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and across the lake from Listening Point, the former camp where Olson wrote and forged his notion that wilderness provided spiritual experiences vital to modern civilization. “Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium,” Olson wrote.

Cypress Gardens, Florida-Beloved by generations of Floridians and tourists, 67-year old Cypress Gardens was Florida’s first theme park, featuring botanical gardens, acrobatic water skiers, and hoop-skirted Southern belles. In April 2003, the park closed and verged on redevelopment. Park neighbors and former visitors worldwide petitioned the state to keep the park open, and the state asked TPL to help. TPL purchased the land and structured a long-term protection effort. In January 2004, Florida’s Governor and Cabinet approved the purchase of an $11 million conservation easement limiting development on the entire property. A Georgia theme park operator will own and operate the rest of the park as an updated attraction, with roller coasters and a water park to draw a wider crowd. The park reopened in November 2004.

Morro Bay Dunes Greenbelt, California-In January, TPL announced the protection of 32 acres of rare coastal dune habitat in California’s southern Morro Bay, a key link in the community-initiated Morro Bay Dunes Greenbelt, creating a habitat and trail corridor of more than 1,000 acres connecting two State Parks. Morro Bay ranks as a top ten bird sanctuary by the Audubon Society, and is home to several endangered and threatened plant and animal species found only within the Morro Bay watershed, including the endangered Morro shoulderband snail, the threatened Morro manzanita, and the sensitive Morro blue butterfly. Public ownership of the property protects these species and their habitat at Morro Bay.

Mt. Blue State Park and Tumbledown Mountain, Maine-In October, TPL celebrated over five years and almost 26,000 acres of conservation work at Mt. Blue State Park and Tumbledown Mountain in western Maine. Federal, state and private funds amassed since 1999 have enabled Maine to protect 7,464 acres inside Mt. Blue as well as 18,311 acres on Tumbledown Mountain, including public hiking trails that lead to the peak. In August 2004, TPL protected 6,702 acres that include both trails leading to the top of Tumbledown Mountain and also the summits of Little Jackson, Jackson, and Blueberry Mountains. The Tumbledown Mountain/Mt. Blue area has long been prized for scenic beauty, opportunities for recreation, productive forest, and wildlife habitat for the peregrine falcon, Bicknell’s thrush, and spring salamander.

St. Joe River Basin, Idaho-Northern Idaho’s St. Joe River has been described as the best cutthroat trout fishery on the west slope of the Rocky Mountains. Its upper reaches in the St. Joe National Forest flow through privately owned forests and ranchland before emptying into Lake Coeur d’Alene. Timberlands of the Basin have been the economic anchor for generations of North Idahoans and much of the private land in the watershed-over 80,000 acres-is held by Potlatch Co., who has owned and managed their land for timber for more than a century. TPL and the Idaho Department of Lands are working with Potlatch to protect vulnerable properties with conservation easements. Already, 30,000 acres have been saved.

“The Trust for Public Land proudly helps communities protect the parks, playgrounds, open space, and working lands we love, giving us all healthy places to play,” said TPL President Will Rogers.


Also in 2004, TPL released several land conservation publications including:

  • The Conservation Finance Handbook-A handbook for communities seeking to raise conservation funds at the ballot box, from initial demographic research to post election analysis.
  • Protecting the Source-This report explores scientific, economic, and public health rationales for using land conservation for drinking water protection, with best practices for successful implementation locally.
  • LandVote-Report of the previous year’s state and local conservation finance measures. A new public database of updated conservation finance measure information is 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. Since 1972, TPL has conserved over 2 million acres of land nationwide. For more information about TPL, visit