Conservation speakers at the summit!

Interested in hearing how other land trusts activate their conserved areas for the public? We certainly are as we begin one of our first park builds. Well, we’re all in luck; in April 2017, for the first time at the annual Georgia Trail Summit, five conservation groups are on the program:

will all attend the trail summit and share lessons learned in trail building, maintenance, and stewardship, they will share resources, successful volunteer management, restoration methods, and in one case the connectivity of 750 miles of trail.

We are eager to highlight the synergies in conservation work and trail development and hope that you’ll consider attending the summit, take some notes, and become a volunteer as we jump in to trail development. Thanks for being part of the family.

Register and/or browse the program here.

We have a GTS program!

stpal-gts-boxTrailhounds, the program for the 4th annual Georgia Trail Summit is now confirmed! Take a look at the terrific speakers and ideas they’ll present, save your spot in our popular mobile workshops for all trail users, and get excited about the riverside networking parties all on April 20-22 in Columbus.

Registration is now open. We believe this will be the best Trail Summit yet. New this year, we’ll hear from three land trusts and explore synergies in conservation work and trail work. AICP CM credits are available for the first time from our partners at the Georgia Planning Association. Our early bird registration fee is only $85 before March 1.

Our theme is Plan. Fund. Build. Manage.  The program is heavy on how-to sessions with practical content on the full life cycle of successful trails, from concept and construction to operations and long-term sustainability.

Closing out 2016

Bill is managing year-end acquisitions of 12 new properties and 3 conservation easements totaling 5,000 acres protected, and sales across the region. Tracie has been serving as a trail consultant in White County and reviewing content and sponsors for the trail summit. We feel like elves in Santa’s shop still working hard at year end to finish strong. Hopefully soon we’ll be able to share our wrap up for 2016 including a freshened up look for our website today, including a fun little seasonal snowfall.

Stay tuned for our news and welcome aboard to the attendees of the Georgia Trail Summit who all join us as members this coming year. Tickets went on sale today to GTS2017!

Happy holidays to you and yours!

We care about you on GA Gives Day

gacnp_cmyk_logo_2016_990STPAL cares about you on Georgia Gives Day and that’s why we conserve land.

Funding will support our efforts to design a story map about STPAL properties, lead a volunteer build of park trails, plant pollinator gardens, host nature programs and more. With dozens of parcels of conserved land envisioned for public use and environmental education, we are committed to conserve and activate these Georgia spaces for you!

15,000+ acres
23 properties (19 more coming)
in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.

To donate, visit  and type STPAL in the search bar!

Call for speakers at Georgia Trail Summit 2017 due 11/15

Would you like to be a speaker?  Or have a suggestion for someone we should contact?

Our theme is Plan. Fund. Build. Manage.

The program will be heavy on how-to sessions with practical content on the full lifecycle of successful trails, from concept and construction to operations and long-term sustainability.  Share your proven approach or innovative trail project with a broad, statewide audience. Or lead a mobile workshop sharing the latest techniques.

All sponsorship levels include free registrations. AICP CM credits available.

Submit your RFP here. Deadline November 15.

Georgia Trail Summit joins STPAL, forming new, winning partnership

ATLANTA –  The Georgia Trail Summit is maturing.  Now in its fourth year, the popular conference for Georgia’s trail community is moving under the new wing of a strong land conservation group.

Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land (STPAL), founded in 2011, will assume fiscal and administrative responsibilities for the Georgia Trail Summit (GTS), making it their signature annual event by providing a new home for its future success.  The synergies between both groups will make each one stronger and even more effective. In the process, a full-time position was created for Trail Summit director Tracie Sanchez who previously chaired the event as a volunteer for the first three years.  In her new role as director of community engagement and outreach for STPAL, her time will be divided between planning and implementing the Georgia Trail Summit, her top priority, and increasing awareness for STPAL’s innovative work creating public parks, conserving natural land, and encouraging environmental education.

tas-btj“As a proven leader in Georgia’s trail community, Tracie’s skills are an ideal fit to enhance STPAL’s mission while continuing to build valuable partnerships as we strengthen and grow the Georgia Trail Summit,” explains Bill Jones, executive director of STPAL and founding member of the Georgia Trail Summit.  “Our work at STPAL dovetails beautifully with the vision of the Trail Summit.”  Their goal is to encourage a connected trail network in every corner of the state.  Jones adds, “Many of STPAL’s properties are ideal for both linear parks and trail networks which complement and accelerate the Trail Summit’s mission.”

The 2017 Georgia Trail Summit is set for April 20-22 in Columbus, site of the longest urban whitewater course in the world and other trail-friendly projects. The 2017 Summit’s theme is Plan. Fund. Build. Manage.

About the Georgia Trail Summit:  The Summit attracts about 200 people every spring for an informative, three-day event featuring outstanding speakers, mobile workshops highlighting the host city’s trails, and networking parties.  Their vision is to help groups build a connected, statewide trail system in every corner of the state bolstered by collaboration, sharing resources and knowledge.

Previously, MillionMile Greenway served as the 501 c3 umbrella organization for the Georgia Trail Summit and donated the initial seed money to launch the first one in 2014.  “It’s terrific to see this Summit blossom from an all-volunteer effort, funded by sponsors like MillionMile Greenway, to evolve into a STPAL project with a budget and long-range plan,” says Jim Langford, president of MillionMile Greenway and founding member of the Georgia Trail Summit. Sponsorships from companies, government agencies and trail-related nonprofits will continue to be an essential revenue source for the Georgia Trail Summit.

A new park in Douglas County Georgia!

On June 15, 2016 we donated 85 acres of conservation land to Douglas County, Georgia for a new passive recreation park. Douglas County budgeted funds for a new passive park. We had land available for a new park. And now they have the land and the money. A new public park will soon be built!

This is a great deal for current and future Douglas County residents. Free is a fine price for their taxpayers! And the trees and critters that live on the site don’t mind either!

Much thanks to Douglas County Commissioner Mike Mulcare who came to us with a vision and for seeing it through to this great day. He is a big fan of parks and green-space and is leading the way for Douglas County to become known as a parks community.

We are thrilled and can’t wait to visit the new park once it is completed!

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Newsletter Spring 2016

Stpal newsletter spring 2016 pdf

It has been an incredible 6 months for STPAL! 
We are accredited! STPAL undertook the important process of applying for Accreditation status through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. This process took us about two years from the very start until we were notified in February. The process is rigorous, time consuming, and challenging. It takes a deep look into all aspects of our work including our finances, policies, procedures, transactions, and acumen. It involved submitting hundreds of documents, interviews, and then more documents. It uncovered our weaknesses and provided a process for systemically addressing them. The end result of being Accredited is a nice feather in our cap, but the process itself has made us a much better organization. Because we own land that is permanently conserved we need to be permanent too. The Accreditation process has made us into an organization that will be just as permanent as our conservation lands. Check back in 5 years when we do it all again with the Reaccreditation process!