Dear Friends and Supporters,
With 2017 behind us and a new year ahead of us, we have much to reflect on and look forward to. For the Land Trust, last year was highly successful. We preserved numerous properties, met our fundraising goals, and felt well supported by the community. But now what? Now we execute a plan to protect as many of the remaining undeveloped properties as possible -- in the shortest time possible. This is a big challenge, but also a great opportunity.
Currently, there are approximately 2,000 potential lots on the island that have not yet been platted for development, and approximately 3,500 lots that have been platted but not yet developed. These lots represent thousands of new homes and even more cars. They lead to increases in storm-water runoff, greater needs for sewage infrastructure, and fewer trees, vegetation, and natural habitat for birds and other wildlife. Even more so, there is the subsequent degradation of ambiance and quality of life that make St. Simons Island so special.
Given the consequences we face for the island’s future, the Land Trust has big goals. In early 2018, we will announce and launch a capital campaign to secure protection of a substantial portion of the island’s remaining undeveloped properties, large and small, from south to north. A number of these properties are already under contract, and we are working on securing additional properties. This will not be an easy undertaking. We need to be thoughtful and deliberate in negotiations and realistic about our fundraising capabilities, while also being bold and creative.
The early signs are excellent, and we have willing sellers and committed donors lined up and ready to get us started. After launch, we will need even more support from the community to bring these campaigns to fruition. We look forward to sharing more details as they arise, but in the meantime, we thank you for your sustained support and partnership in protecting one of the most important natural resources on the Georgia coast.
David H. Pope