TPL’s Parks and Conservation Achievements for 2009

Despite both a dramatically worsening economy and shrinking state budgets, by year’s end, The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation nonprofit, will have designed and developed nine playgrounds and protected more than 156,000 acres of land in 31 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with a fair-market value of more than $438 million. In addition, TPL and its affiliate, the Conservation Campaign, helped 5 states, counties, and municipalities nationwide pass ballot measures that will generate more than $400 million 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 TPL’s success.”

Since it’s founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect nearly 3 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 2009 include:

Sun Mountain, Santa Fe, New Mexico
In a matter of months, TPL raised $1.2 million from more than 300 donors and negotiated the protection of 23 acres at the base of Sun Mountain, Santa Fe’s iconic backdrop. The effort not only thwarted plans to build 13 large buildings on the property but also guarantees, for the first time, public access to the Sun Mountain peak.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, Atlanta, Georgia
For three decades TPL has been helping the National Park Service piece together the homes along Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, as additions to the King National Historic Site. TPL added another home to the site this fall.

Big Lake Trail and Meadow, New Orleans, Louisiana
Hurricane Katrina devastated City Park, but the beloved New Orleans park has taken a first step toward renewal. Big Lake Trail and Meadow, 50 acres of pastoral landscape, walking trails, bicycle paths, and concert space, now anchors the park’s southeast corner and is the first step in restoring this 1,300-acre gem.

Mollidgewock Brook, Errol, New Hampshire
More than 5,000 acres of forest, wildlife habitat, and recreational lands in northern New Hampshire were conserved as additions to two separate management units. More than 3,100 acres of the Mollidgewock Brook lands were added to the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, and the remaining 1,800 acres were added to Errol’s community forest, known as 13-Mile Woods. This unique conservation success creates a 31,000-acre block of conserved land, much of which will be available to the public for recreation.

Nat Turner Park, Newark, New Jersey
After three decades, Newark’s central ward celebrated its new park this summer. Nat Turner Park is also now Newark’s largest city-owned park. TPL involved the community, including students from three adjacent schools, in design of the nine-acre park. The park now has an amphitheatre, a multi-purpose athletic field, a 400-meter regulation track, a playground, and picnic areas.

Webber Lake Falls, Truckee, California
TPL has been working to ensure the environmental and economic sustainability of the northern Sierra Nevada for more than 15 years, most recently as part of the Northern Sierra Partnership. In August TPL conserved 480 acres north of Donner Pass, protecting the dramatic, 100-foot Webber Lake Falls on the Little Truckee River east of Webber Lake. Protection of this property from development helps sustain the integrity of a proposed Castle Peak Wilderness Area.

“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.

Since late 2007 TPL has teamed with Cox Enterprises to honor hometown conservation heroes. In 2009, 9 heroes have been selected by the public in Atlanta, the Puget Sound region of Washington, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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 support for more than fifty communities across the country, including nine completed in 2009:

  • Carolina Thread Trail, Chester County, South Carolina
  • North Coast Conservation Vision, Oregon
  • Rockwell County, Texas
  • ParkScore Online Mapping Site, California (
  • Georgia Opportunity Mapping
  • San Mateo, California Park Equity Analysis
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico Trails, Internet Mapping Site
  • Greenprints for Travis and Chambers Counties, Texas

Conservation Finance:
In addition to the billions of dollars in conservation fiunding created at the ballot box in 2009, TPL’s Finance professionals have:

  • published the Conservation Programs Handbook
  • together with The Conservation Campaign, launched an online conservation finance toolkit.

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 2009 the Center released new data on city park systems, expanding data to seventy-seven cities nationwide.

TPL added two new blog outposts for conservation news and opinion. Joining the City Parks Blog are LandNotes—a blog for conservation professionals—and guest commentary on Huffington Post by TPL president Will Rogers. You can also follow TPL on Twitter and Facebook.

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 nearly 3 million acres of land nationwide. TPL depends on the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.