Founder Bill Jones with the Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land (STPAL) joins the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to talk about the organization’s mission, community involvement and the upcoming anniversary event. Jones joins Carol Morgan on the Around Atlanta segment.
A 10-year venture for Jones, the Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land is a 501(c)(3) public charity based in Atlanta. The organization’s original broad mission was to build more parks in convenient locations for larger groups of people. Today, STPAL specializes in passive-recreation parks that provide an outdoor space for people to show up at their convenience to hike, mountain bike, bird watch and more.
The Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land owns 36 pieces of land across the state of Georgia that average at a few hundred acres each, with a few in North Carolina and Tennessee. Each piece of land has a management plan based on the property’s capabilities, environmental status and more.
With access to green space playing a vital role in his early years, Jones shared that the organization did not start long after he was born. It all began with the founding of the Chattahoochee Recreation Area in 1978 with the support of President Jimmy Carter. As an adult, Jones lived catty-corner to the green space and regularly took advantage of the large outdoor area for biking, walking, hiking and more.
The Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land took off 10 years ago when Jones wished for more meaningful work.
Jones said, “Parks and this type of park were important to me. That’s why I started this…to create the opportunities I had to get the peace of nature near home.”
While a land trust focuses solely on the conservation and preservation of the land, STPAL focuses on acquiring land privately to deliver community spaces with specific purposes. At first, the organization mainly focused on land acquisition to create more parks. Over the years, the mission of Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land transformed to revolve around three words – conservation, recreation and community.
On the conservation side, STPAL preserves all its properties to not only further conservation efforts but to provide public, outdoor sanctuaries indefinitely. The most significant conservation project in recent years consisted of planting longleaf pines seedlings, placing 50,000 in 2021 and on course to plant 150,000 more this year.
Jones said, “The [original] dominant tree type in Georgia…these trees take 30 years to get a substantial size, 100 years to mature and can live to be 1,000 years old!”
For recreation, the organization creates ideal green spaces for mountain biking, hiking and more to improve the lives of individuals and nearby communities. On the community side, STPAL brings people together through volunteer efforts at the parks.
Tune in to the full interview above or visit https://STPAL.org to learn more about the Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land.
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