TPL’s 2008 Parks and Conservation Achievements

San Francisco, CA, 12/22/2008: Despite a dramatically worsening economy, by year’s end, The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national land conservation nonprofit, will have protected more than 210,000 acres of land in 32 states, with a fair-market value of more than $587 million. In addition, TPL and its affiliate, the Conservation Campaign, helped 44 states, counties, and municipalities nationwide pass ballot measures that will generate more than $7.5 billion in new funding for parks and open space protection.

“Even though times are tough, people care deeply about conservation,” said TPL president Will Rogers. “Ultimately it is the love Americans have for the land that fuels all of TPL success.”

Since it’s founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2.5 million acres of land, from the inner city to the wilderness, and helped create funding and develop plans for conservation in 47 states. Highlights for 2008 include:

Mazama Forest, Oregon
Since 1954, when a federal termination set aside past treaty provision, the Klamath Tribes have sought to reclaim at least some of the 1.2 million acres of ancestral lands lost at that time. In 2006, 90,000 acres of their Mazama Forest homeland was put on the open market by Cascade Timberlands LLC, and TPL began a partnership with the Klamath Tribal leaders to help them broker a deal to buy the land. In 2008 with funding in place to allow the deal to be finalized, we are in the final stages of restoring the land to the Klamath Tribes, who stand ready to care for the health of the forest, and the wildlife dependent upon it.

Fortress Cliffs Ranch, Palo Duro Canyon, Texas
Palo Duro Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” is a dramatic and colorful slash in the flat topography of the Texas Panhandle. But large swaths of the canyon rim have remained privately owned, including the nearly 3,000-acre Fortress Cliffs Ranch, named for a six-mile-long ridge of rock that is one of the canyon’s signature sights. Last year, the ranch was listed for sale, raising the very real possibility that large homes could be built there. TPL stepped in and acquired the ranch as an addition to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, preserving one of the canyon’s most dramatic vistas for enjoyment by generations of hikers, campers, and sightseers to come.

Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza, New Mexico
In September 2008, the City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation, and TPL completed construction on the 50-acre Railyard Park and Plaza, the city’s newest and biggest downtown park. Now open to the public is the 10-acre Railyard Park, the Railyard Plaza and Market Station, the historic depot, and other attractions. With the historic train depot designated as a stop for the new Rail Runner Express, the park and plaza will be a center of transportation, business, and tourism for the entire state. TPL acquired the railyard property in 1995 and at the city’s request oversaw design and development of the new park.

Brazilier Island, New Orleans, Louisiana
Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge-already the nation’s largest urban wildlife refuge-grew by more than 2,000 acres in 2008 with the addition of a significant portion of Brazilier Island in Lake Pontchartrain. Located 15 minutes northeast of New Orleans’ French Quarter, Brazilier Island is part of the New Orleans East land bridge and as one of the more intact coastal marshes in the area, providing wildlife habitat and helping to reduce storm surge to nearby communities.

Hyde Farm, Georgia
The farm, located just northwest of Atlanta in eastern Cobb County, is little changed from the early 1900s. The Hyde family bought it in 1920 from the Power family, who originally settled there in a log cabin they built in the 1830s. The last Hyde to farm the property, J.C. Hyde, grew up there and farmed until he died in 2004. Even as suburbs and sprawl surrounded the property, Mr. Hyde worked the farm using a hand plow pulled by his stalwart mule, Nell. It was Hyde’s wish that the farm be protected, and TPL conserves a 40-acre parcel along the Chattahoochee River in 1992. That deal also granted TPL the right to buy the upland acreage if the farm was to be sold within the next twenty years. This year, TPL bought the remaining 95 acres and conveyed it to Cobb County and the National Park Service. The farm will open to the public in late 2009.

Bayside Trail, Portland, Maine
In 1993, TPL undertook its very first project in Maine: a collaboration with nonprofit Portland Trails, the City of Portland, and the State of Maine to establish an open space corridor along the city’s waterfront. In 2004, TPL helped the city purchase a 30-acre rail corridor that runs through the Bayside neighborhood near the waterfront. Finally this year the community broke ground and on National Trails Day, residents celebrated what will soon be Maine’s newest urban greenway: a recreational trail in the heart of the Bayside neighborhood. Eventually, the Bayside Trail will link the Eastern Promenade Trail to the Frederick Law Olmstead-designed Deering Oaks Park. An additional TPL acquisition of a 52-acre parcel of industrial land on Riverside Street will enable the relocation of industrial uses from Bayside, freeing up parcels that can be used as new open spaces and redevelopment opportunities in the neighborhood.

“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 Will Rogers, TPL president.

Conservation Services

In addition to Conservation Transaction services, TPL also supports landowners, communities, and local governments with a wide-range of conservation expertise, including:

Conservation Vision: TPL offers an award-winning set of tools that can make park creation and land conservation initiatives easier. TPL has completed Conservation Vision plans for more than fifty communities across the country, including ten completed in 2008:

  • Lake Erie – Northern Ohio Greenprint
  • Vision North Texas
  • MARC, MetroGreen, Kansas City, Kansas
  • NYC Waterfront Initiative
  • Nat Turner Park Evaluation, Newark, New Jersey
  • Metropolitan Chesapeake Shoreline Analysis
  • King County Park Equity Analysis, Washington
  • Stemilt-Squilchuck Community Vision, Washington
  • Osceola County, Florida
  • Mecklenburg County RFP, North Carolina

Conservation Finance: In addition to the billions of dollars in conservation finding created at the ballot box in 2008, TPL’s Finance professionals have:

  • celebrated the 2008 County Land Conservation Award winners – Park County Col., Martin County, Fla., Chester County, Pen., Harris County, Tex., and Suffolk County, NY.
  • launched an online conservation finance course.

Center for City Park Excellence: This TPL research and support center assists cities with a comprehensive city park database and technical assistance through city-specific analysis. In 2008 the Center released new data on city park systems, expanding data to seventy-five cities nationwide.

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 more than 2.5 million acres of land nationwide. TPL depends on the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.