2016 Quick Recap

Thanks to many generous supporters we were able to acquire 12 new properties and 3 conservation easements totaling 5,000 acres protected at sites across our service area.

We earned accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance. This rigorous 18 month process improved and verified our organizational excellence. Learn more about Accreditation: http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/

We donated The Boot Nature Preserve to Douglas County, Georgia. The 80-acre tract is beautiful natural land along a little lake. Douglas County has already begun transforming it into a passive recreation park for the public.

We became the presenting sponsor of the 2017 Georgia Trail Summit. Registration is open at GTS2017

We began our first major park build at Talking Rock Nature Preserve. Phase 1 will about 6 miles of natural surface multi-use trails. We plan to add 6 additional miles of trails, a disc course, and park amenities.

At Bald Mountain Creek Nature Preserve in Northwest North Carolina, we funded the removal of a culvert stream crossing and replaced it with a bridge.  Local “friends of the nature preserve” completely handled the project for half of the expected cost.  It’s an important improvement for the stream and its native brook trout.

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 https://www.gagivesday.org/c/GGD/  and type STPAL in the search bar!

Pictures tell our story

If you are just discovering our organization, make sure you browse our photo gallery to get a glimpse of the properties we conserve. Many have tremendous assets already and on others we will cultivate environmental education to share with you.
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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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STPAL 925 acre Land Donation to the State of North Carolina

In 2015 STPAL donated the fee simple ownership interest of the 925 acre Ginger Creek Nature Preserve to the State of North Carolina. We are very excited to make this gift to the people of North Carolina. The land will remain permanently conserved and available for public benefit.  The State’s press release follows:

 
Lenoir, North Carolina
January 19, 2016

The Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land announced today that the 928-acre Little Beaver Creek Farm in Caldwell County has been donated to the state to be managed by the Research Stations Division of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The land, donated by the heirs of Tommy Johnson, had been in the Johnson family for decades. The North Wilkesboro native, had planned to donate the property to the state prior to his death. Johnson’s sons, Alan and Steve, offered to give the land to the state of NC in 2014, but the transaction did not close prior to year’s end.
STPL agreed to serve as intermediary until details could be worked out. The land trust owns conservation properties similar to Little Beaver Creek in Western North Carolina and throughout Georgia.
“Serving as a placeholder isn’t an uncommon role for our land trust,” said Bill Jones, STPAL founder and executive director. “More often, we take properties into permanent conservation, but accommodating both the Johnsons and the state was the right thing to do.”
The Research Stations Division will manage the property under the direction of David Schnake, management forester, as a working forest, while providing opportunities for research, teaching and demonstration for foresters and students.
“We are grateful for the Johnsons’ generous gift and the help of the Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land,” said Sandy Stewart, director of the NCDA&CS Research Stations Division. “Without determined conservation heroes like them, complicated transactions like this one wouldn’t happen.”

 

Why we work

So we have started a new year. We are still working on uncompleted projects from years past. We are sorting through exciting new opportunities. We are tired from December’s hectic work of completing six real estate closings through which we received the donation of 2,700 acres of natural land. Five properties are in Georgia and the sixth is our first Tennessee property. But we push on and here is why.

I like parks. I have lived very close to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Atlanta for the last 35+ years and spent my younger years living near a large municipal park. I have always been just a short walk, bike ride, or drive away from walking trails, creeks, ponds, and natural areas. When I walk certain trails with my current canine companion I am reminded of Buddy, Belfast, Spike, and Simon and the many times they were with me on the same trail. And even today as I wind down from a long week I am writing this blog post as one last work item before Junebug and I head out for a nice 2-3 mile hike to separate the week from the weekend.

If we don’t create new parks who will? I am not sure where new parks rank on most taxpayers’ and politicians’ priority lists, but I suspect it may not be high enough right now. It is becoming time that people need to find other ways to get things done besides waiting on the government to do it. Our basic game plan is to secure fee ownership of land and then figure out how to make it into a park. Ultimately we expect for most if not all of our properties to end up in the hands of local, state or the federal government. In some cases we have found that a city or county will have the resources to build a park, but not the land. In that case we are happy to give our land to them right away so that the park will get built. In other cases a county or city may not have the money for the land or to build a park. In that case we’ll look for ways to build the park and then give it to the city or county. In some cases the local governments have no interest in our land or in a park.  In those cases we will keep the land and look for local partnerships to help us fund, build, and care for the parks long term. Our ultimate goal is to create 100 new parks by 2034. It is lofty but as of now seems very attainable. 100 new parks! Permanently conserved and mandated to remain parks. How much good is there in that? Let’s go!

Big news in Douglas County GA

A new passive park is being created in Douglas County Georgia!

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Great News in Villa Rica

It is official! There will soon be a new park in Villa Rica, Georgia. Read all about it below:

Information provided by the City of Villa Rica:

Donor:                         Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land

Name of Property:      Villa Rica Beaverland

Property Size:              159.25 acres | 2015 Fair Market Value: $704,900 (Douglas Tax Digest)

Location:                     N.E. of the intersection of Conners Road & Nally Road in Douglas County

Tax Parcel ID:             01800250001

The Property consists of 159.25 acres of undeveloped green space and is bordered by other forested and agricultural lands, single family residential tracts, three residential subdivisions, and one golf course. The Property will be protected from activities or land uses that would have a detrimental effect on the Conservation Purposes of the Property. The Property will be protected in perpetuity through a restricted deed and managed by the City of Villa Rica as an undeveloped natural conservation area in keeping with the Conservation Purposes and the deed restrictions.

The Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land acquired the property in 2014 to provide greenspace and provide for protection and enhancement of natural forest environments and native plant and wildlife species, protection of the wetlands and aquatic resources, specifically adjacent streams, including aquatic life, and an area suitable for forest and wildlife management, hiking, birdwatching, passive recreation and possible education activities related to local history and land use, natural history and natural systems. The Trust permanently limited the property’s usage by deed restriction so as to ensure future uses do not impact the conservation values of the protection of water quality and wildlife habitats, and to provide for the creation of nature-based outdoor recreation opportunities for the general public. The Trust designated that the property will be open for the regular use of the general public at no cost for low-impact nature based recreation opportunities such as hiking, biking, and nature observation along designated trails. When the Trust became aware of the City of Villa Rica’s desire to create a new passive recreation park it was obvious that we should transfer ownership of this property to the City for this purpose.

The City Council will take a formal vote to accept the gift at its public meeting on Thursday, October 29th, 2015.

The Mayor and Council is currently taking applications for its Recreation Advisory Commission. The purpose of the RAC is to make recommendations to the City Council regarding parks and recreation plans, policies, programs and projects. The RAC is composed of seven members who will serve three year terms. Those council-appointed individuals will serve as the steering committee together with the Director of Parks, Recreation and Leisure Services and representatives of the Trust to generate a master plan for approval and funding by the Mayor and City Council. We anticipate field trips to other passive parks throughout the metro Atlanta area to garner ideas in the planning process.

Examples of passive recreation activities:

  • Archery
  • Bicycling
  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Dog Park
  • Frisbee
  • Hiking and nature walks
  • Horseback riding
  • Kite-flying
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Rustic picnic areas
  • Walking and jogging
  • Wildlife viewing and bird watching

The following criteria may assist with understanding whether an activity is passive, and therefore allowed:

  1. Will the Open Space resource values be diminished?
    • If YES then activity is not allowed
    • If NO continue to Criteria 2
  1. Will event effectively close or significantly limit use of the Open Space in whole or part to the public?
    • If YES then activity is not allowed
    • If NO continue to Criteria 3
  1. Will event leave anything behind and/or trace (even chalk marks, flags, litter, graffiti, waste, etc.)?
    • If YES then what is the trace?
    • If trace CANNOT be removed then activity is not allowed