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The Trail Foundation names new executive director to lead growth

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The Trail Foundation names new executive director to lead growth

AUSTIN—The Trail Foundation, the nonprofit organization that works to protect and enhance the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, the 10-mile path through the heart of Austin, has named a new executive director.

Heidi Cohn, director of development for Austin-based Hill Country Conservancy since 2014, will be the new leader of TTF effective June 1.

The Butler Trail is the hub of Austin’s 130-mile trail system, circling Lady Bird Lake and passing skyscrapers, neighborhoods, sports fields, and cultural attractions. With more than 2.6 million visits annually, the Trail is one of Austin’s most popular recreational attractions, and has an economic impact of $8.8 million annually.

One of the most acclaimed and visible projects by The Trail Foundation is the Boardwalk, the broad 1.3 mile path that completes the 10-mile loop of the Trail, half over land and half elevated above wetland areas. The Boardwalk was completed in 2014 with $3 million in private donations raised by donors to TTF.

Cohn joins The Trail Foundation at a pivotal and exciting time, says Brian Ott, the Foundation’s interim executive director, and is the perfect candidate to lead the organization in fulfilling its long-range vision.

“Heidi has the ideal combination of experience in the preservation of important natural spaces, raising private funding, and working collaboratively with city staff, elected officials, business leaders, volunteers, and our other constituencies,” Ott says.

The Trail Foundation has ambitious goals for the next five years, as Austin and the number of visits to the trail continue to grow, and the need to protect as well as enhance the Butler Trail grows with it, says TTF Board Chair Cassie Gresham.

“Heidi is not only poised to lead the Foundation’s continued growth but will play a major role in the projects currently underway, including the new Trail Bridge at Congress Avenue, Trail-wide ecological restoration work, and enhancements to the East side of the Trail,” Gresham says.

Cohn is the third leader in The Trail Foundation’s 14-year history, succeeding Ott, who was appointed as TTF’s interim executive director following Susan Rankin, who served as ED for 10 years.

“We are incredibly sad to see Heidi go, but are also so grateful for her contributions to our organization,” says George Cofer, executive director of Hill Country Conservancy. “It’s no surprise that others in the community recognize her for the special talent she is. The Trail Foundation will be in good hands, and we look forward to our continued partnership with TTF.”

About The Trail Foundation

The Trail Foundation’s mission is to protect and enhance the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike-Trail at Lady Bird Lake, the 10-mile lush, urban path in the heart of Austin that gets more than 2.6 million visits every year. Since its founding in 2003, The Trail Foundation has achieved restoration and beautification projects to the Trail’s infrastructure and environment, while honoring the original vision of the Trail’s founders and ensuring its vibrancy for generations to come.

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