Georgia Trail Summit joins Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land, 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.
“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 biking, walking, and heritage trails. All right downtown. Hope we see you there.
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.
About Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land: STPAL has acquired 23 properties throughout Georgia, eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina totaling about 10,000 acres. These properties are all protected with various forms of conservation statuses, slated to become new public parks. Jones amassed the impressive land portfolio primarily from banks and other investors releasing failed subdivision tracts still undisturbed by development. A win-win for all involved. In 2015 and 2016, STPAL donated four large parcels totaling over 1,500 acres to the City of Villa Rica, Georgia; The Village of Cedar Rock, North Carolina; Douglas County, Georgia; and the State of North Carolina so those local entities can develop new public parks over time.