AUSTIN, TEXAS – November 2, 2023 – The Trail Conservancy (TTC) announced today that Heidi Anderson will step down as Chief Executive Officer of the organization at the end of December 2023 after seven transformative years at the helm.
Under Anderson’s visionary guidance, TTC achieved important milestones and implemented extensive capital projects and the inception of a vast ecological restoration initiative. Anderson has also been the driving force behind the newly adopted Arts and Culture Plan and has significantly elevated TTC’s role as a conservancy for the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and surrounding parkland.
“Heidi’s remarkable leadership not only shaped the present state of The Trail Conservancy but also laid a strong foundation for its future,” expressed Andy Austin, Board Chair. “Her dedication to enhancing the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail has been nothing short of inspirational. While we will miss her greatly, we are excited for the next chapter and remain committed to preserving this treasured community asset.”
Over its two-decade journey, TTC has passionately raised private funds, leading to the creation of impactful infrastructure projects such as the Boardwalk and Congress Avenue Bridge, alongside vital conservation efforts, including native plantings and shoreline restoration. These initiatives propelled TTC to become the primary steward of the Butler Trail, a cherished space that now welcomes over 4.9 million visitors annually.
Claire Hempel, Board Chair-Elect, reflects on the Trail’s journey, stating, “The Trail has become an iconic landmark in Austin, a testament to the community’s love for nature and outdoor green spaces. We are grateful for Heidi’s leadership guiding the Trail from a foundation to a conservancy, and we are eager to build upon this legacy, ensuring that it remains a vibrant and welcoming space for all.”
In 2022, under Anderson’s stewardship, TTC entered into a groundbreaking Park Operations and Maintenance Agreement (POMA) with the City of Austin, taking on the responsibility of maintaining, operating, and programming the park. This significant development marked a new chapter in TTC’s history, solidifying its commitment to the community and resulting in a name change from The Trail Foundation to The Trail Conservancy.
“When I joined The Trail Conservancy, the organization was poised to grow to a new level. We were a small and scrappy group doing important work to improve the Trail, but the need was great and growing, and we were struggling to keep up. Now, as a formal partner with the city, we can better serve this iconic space and ensure it is sustainable as Austin continues to grow,” shared Heidi Anderson. “As I reflect on my time with The Trail Conservancy, I am filled with immense gratitude for the unwavering support of our board, staff, volunteers, donors, and partners. Together, we have fostered a strong sense of community and connection to nature. While my chapter with TTC is coming to a close, I am excited to see how the organization will continue to flourish, making a lasting impact on both the Trail and the Austin community.”
With the increasing demand for green spaces in urban areas, the role of TTC has never been more vital. Visits to the Trail have surged alongside Austin’s growing population and tourism, emphasizing the necessity of TTC’s stewardship.
CEO Heidi Anderson adds, “Serving The Trail Conservancy has been an extraordinary honor. I am proud of the solid foundation we built and the strong working relationship we have with the City of Austin and the Parks Department, and I am confident that the team will continue to make great strides in preserving and enhancing this beloved space.”
Other major milestones achieved under Anderson’s leadership include:
Developed a Strategic Plan that quadrupled the organization’s budget and staffing model.
Developed a strategy for identifying and prioritizing park needs, resulting in an evolving menu of improvements.
Negotiated a 25+ year agreement with the City, establishing TTC as the primary steward of Town Lake Metropolitan Park on which the Trail sits.
Rebranded the organization to The Trail Conservancy.
Established the Corgan Canopy Fund to allow TTC to increase its capacity for capital improvements.
Completed a capital campaign to provide a permanent home office for the organization.
Completed capital campaigns for multiple projects, including the Rainey Street Trailhead, Holly Project, Butler Shores, and others.
Launched a capital campaign for the Seaholm Waterfront.
To ensure a seamless transition and continuation of this incredible momentum, Hanna Cofer, TTC’s current COO, will serve as interim CEO while TTC’s Board of Directors conducts a comprehensive national search to identify the next leader to steer the organization forward. The position will be officially posted on the TTC website in the coming months, marking the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in the Trail’s history.
TTC remains steadfast in its mission to protect, enhance, and connect the Butler Trail for the enjoyment of all, with a bright future ahead, filled with potential, growth, and continued community connection.
The Trail Conservancy
The Trail Conservancy’s mission is to protect, enhance, and connect the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake for the benefit of all. The Butler Trail is the 10-mile lush, urban path in the heart of Austin that gets more than 4.9 million visits every year. Since its founding in 2003, The Trail Conservancy 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.