Trust for Public Land CEO Diane Regas to step down in June after six years, and TPL board has begun search for her replacement; during her tenure, TPL worked alongside communities to protect some of nation's most important public lands and trails

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SAN FRANCISCO , January 19, 2024 (press release) –

Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit dedicated to connecting everyone to the joys and benefits of the outdoors, today announced that President and CEO Diane Regas will step down from her position in June. Since taking the helm in 2018, Regas has been a driving force behind TPL’s impactful work, championing the organization’s commitment to connecting communities with nature and advancing equity and access to public lands, parks, trails, and schoolyards.

“Diane’s leadership at Trust for Public Land has been nothing short of transformative,” said Lucas St. Clair, Chair of the TPL Board of Directors. “Her commitment and foresight have laid a robust foundation for TPL’s continued success. Diane leaves a legacy of progress, especially in ensuring equity and access to the outdoors.”

During Regas’s tenure, TPL has made significant progress in its mission. TPL has worked alongside communities to protect some of the nation’s most important public lands and trails, providing public access to millions of people. TPL’s work in Zion National Park, along the Appalachian Trail, and protecting California’s coastal vistas like Randall Preserve are just a few examples of iconic public lands that are now protected for generations to come.

Currently, TPL is poised to create hundreds of miles of trails–on Long Island, in Florida, and in cities including New York, Dallas, Richmond, California, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. TPL will also be protecting tens of thousands more acres of land over the next few years, including working with tribes and Indigenous communities to protect culturally important lands.

Under Regas’s leadership, TPL has brought its Community Schoolyards® program from 4 to 23 states, expanding the transformation of empty asphalt school lots to vibrant community parks in cities like Atlanta, Boston, Chattanooga, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Tacoma, in addition to working in a dozen high-need rural communities across the country. TPL will make even more progress in this effort thanks to support from our corporate partners like Macy’s, Nike, and VF Corporation.

With an enduring belief that everyone should have a high-quality park within a 10-minute walk from home, during Regas’s tenure, TPL has led an increase in park access from 70 to 76 percent of residents in the country’s largest 100 cities. Under Regas’s leadership, TPL identified a stagnant park equity gap: neighborhoods where most residents identify as people of color have access to an average of 43 percent less park space than predominately white neighborhoods. Residents in low-income neighborhoods have access to 42 percent less park space than residents in high-income neighborhoods. That’s why 69 percent of TPL’s work historically has served communities of color, and 60 percent serves communities in the bottom quartile of income.

To help address the need for outdoor access, over the last 6 years, TPL has helped create over $26 billion in voter-approved public funding for parks, land conservation, and protecting communities from climate change, and its best-in-class Conservation Finance team is on a path to help communities create billions more–expecting soon to reach $100 billion total.

Under Regas’s tenure, TPL achieved historic federal policy wins, including permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund under the Great American Outdoors Act. TPL’s advocacy work continues at a rapid pace, with efforts underway to ensure that communities across the country have access to public lands, parks, trails, and community schoolyard funding.

Recent TPL accomplishments include the creation of the Black History and Culture program and the rejuvenation of the Tribal and Indigenous Lands program, connecting people disassociated with the places integral to their identity. This work includes helping to protect Nicodemus National Historic Site in Kansas, the oldest and only remaining historic Black settlement west of the Mississippi River, and the L Bar property in New Mexico. Recently, TPL announced an effort to restore nearly 30,000 acres to the Penobscot Nation, the largest land return between a U.S. based nonprofit and a tribal nation in history. Regas spearheaded TPL’s first-ever strategic plan that centered the organization’s land protection and park creation work around the importance of climate resiliency, equity, community, and health outcomes, and scaling this work to new levels. Under Regas’s leadership, TPL has grown its support from loyal donors to more than $100 million per year.

As TPL looks to the future, the organization remains committed to its vision of a world where every person can connect with the outdoors. “Our work is more crucial than ever,” said Susan D. Whiting, member of TPL’s National Board of Directors. “We will continue expanding our impact, building more parks and trails, protecting more land, and ensuring equity and access to green spaces for communities that need it most.”

The TPL Board of Directors, recognizing the importance of a smooth transition, has commenced the search for the next president and CEO and is working with a search firm. “We are moving swiftly to find a leader who will carry forward the incredible legacy that Diane has built,” St. Clair added. “TPL is on a strong path, and we are confident that our next leader will continue to advance our mission with the same thoughtfulness and dedication.”

In a letter to TPL staff announcing her departure, Regas expressed her deep gratitude for the opportunity to lead TPL and her confidence in the organization’s future. “Your work doesn’t just change landscapes; it changes lives,” said Regas.

The full text of Regas’s letter to TPL staff is linked HERE.

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 they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.

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