It all started nearly 25 years ago when a group of Gwinnett County residents formed the Gwinnett Open Land Trust, GOLT, with the specific objective of protecting both open and greenspace, and the river corridors in the county. At a time when Gwinnett County was recognized as the fastest growing county in the nation and development was running rampant. GOLT was the first land conservation organization to be founded specifically for the purpose of identifying and protecting land within Gwinnett County.
At the time, founding member and current Executive Director Carol Hassell stated: "As development intensifies in the county, so does concern about tree cutting, river quality and preserving land in a way that enhances quality of life. It's important to provide a means of protecting some land before it's too late."
In 1999 GOLT put its first property of 13 acres under protection. In 2003 GOLT was approached by a landowner in a neighboring county to protect their property becoming the first non-Gwinnett property placed under protection.
By 2008 GOLT had about 615 acres under protection in Gwinnett and about 255 acres protected in 4 other counties. The board realized it was time for a name change to better reflect the expanded service area and officially became the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust, GPLT, servicing the northern half of Georgia.
In 2015 GPLT went through the rigorous process of becoming a recognized accredited land trust through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission was incorporated in April 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance to operate an innovative program to build and recognize strong land trusts, foster public confidence in land conservation and help ensure the long-term protection of land.
Today GPLT has over 2,600 acres of land under protection located in the counties of Bibb, Catoosa, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Rockdale, Upson, Walton, Whitfield and Wilkes. We have a diverse portfolio of protected properties to include Civil War & Revolutionary battlefields in partnership with the American Battlefield Trust, a green cemetery in partnership with the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, watershed restoration properties, conservation subdivision greenspaces, granite outcrops, habitats with threatened species and a community garden in partnership with citizens like you who care about green and open spaces in their communities.
We are proud and privileged to work with like minded citizens, communities, organizations and municipalities to protect important lands for today and for our children's tomorrow. We believe we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.
Thank you to Hank Ohme, Suzy Downing, Dale Higdon
& Carol Hassell for all our spectacular pictures.