Trust for Public Land Announces Florida Gulf Coast Trail Program Director

Today, Trust for Public Land announced Charles D. Hines, Esq. joined the organization as the inaugural Florida Gulf Coast Trail Program Director.  

Hines has over thirty years of legal and business experience, including eight years of county-wide elected service as a Sarasota County Commissioner.  

“Access to open spaces and amenities have significant positive impacts on our communities, from environmental to mental and physical-health to economic development, and it’s imperative these spaces are protected,” said Charles Hines. “I look forward to leading TPL’s commitment to fulfilling the Gulf Coast Trail vision that will transform the way southwest Florida communities develop and the quality of life of its people.  Linear trails are incredibly effective and cost-efficient way to bring the benefits of the outdoors to everyone.” 

One of the major completed Trust for Public Land projects Hines championed previously as a County Commissioner is the recently opened extension to the Legacy Trail, in Sarasota County. A former railroad corridor, the extension creates an unbroken 20-mile multi-use paved path connecting Payne Park within the City of Sarasota to the Historic Venice Train Depot and the Venetian Waterway Park as well as the North Port connector. The trail will also help reduce pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths in this metro area ranked 4th nationally as the most dangerous for pedestrians and offers safe routes to schools for children. Hines was integral in securing the approval of the County-wide referendum to fund the Legacy Trail extension.   

“Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the country, and the need to create and protect accessible open space for all Floridians has never been more critical,” said Doug Hattaway, Sr. Project Manager for Trust for Public Land based in Tallahassee. “We’re thrilled to have Charles’ public and private sector experience and his ability to create partnerships to lead Trust for Public Land’s Gulf Coast Trails program.”  

Parks and open space, especially in urban settings, give people spaces to gather and build stronger communities and be better prepared to tackle social, health, and environmental challenges and to address historic and systemic inequities. Yet, in the U.S., 100 million people, including 28 million children, don’t have access to a park within a 10-minute walk of home, according to a TPL analysis. TPL is actively working in Florida, and across the country, to close the park equity gap and ensure everyone has access to these spaces. 

Hines has a B.A. in Political Science and his Juris Doctorate both from the University of Florida. 

About Trust for Public Land 

Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where it is needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit t