Our mission is to improve quality of life for all by preserving, protecting, and strengthening the fabric of the community through education and the stewardship of land for purposes of affordable housing, conservation, agriculture, and economic development. 

We respond to community-identified needs and build individual and collective power among historically marginalized people. 


Athens Land Trust (ALT) was founded in 1994 by Skipper StipeMaas and Nancy Stangle. At the time, the two women were involved in the development of the Kenney Ridge community, a single-family neighborhood located on 139 acres on Tallassee Road in Athens-Clarke County.

In the course of that project, StipeMaas and Stangle discovered an apparent conflict between their two goals: to protect open spaces, and to keep the housing lots affordable. Believing that both problems required an integrated solution, ALT’s founders created one of the few organizations in the country that is both a conservation and community land trust.

“We don’t think about the land and the role that it plays in our lives. It’s essentially the basis of our shelter and our housing, and it’s how we grow food. The value of having forests and river corridors that are not developed means that we have clean air, clean water. All those things are really important, but we tend not to think about it. We tend to not realize how important it is.”

Nancy Stangle

What is a Land Trust?


Courtesy of National Community Land Trust Network

Athens Land Trust is a Community Land Trust (CLT). “CLTs are nonprofit organizations—governed by a board of CLT residents, community residents and public representatives—that provide lasting community assets and permanently affordable housing opportunities for families and communities.

CLTs develop rural and urban agriculture projects, commercial spaces to serve local communities, affordable rental and cooperative housing projects, and conserve land or urban green spaces.

However, the heart of their work is the creation homes that remain permanently affordable, providing successful homeownership opportunities for generations of lower income families.”

In collaboration with the Athens community, we approach sustainable development with a look toward addressing environmental, economic, and community needs. We aim to combine the tools of conservation land trusts with those of community land trusts to create healthy neighborhoods across Athens and the state of Georgia.

Learn more about our programs, or browse our event calendar. See “Join Us’ for ways to get involved with Athens Land Trust and the Athens community.

In June of 2020, Jaiko Celka Interviewed our co-founder Nancy Stangle on her podcast, Hopefully sustainable, where she meets with leaders in sustainability. Click here to listen to Nancy tell the story of Athens Land Trust and why we believe in a holistic approach to land use.