Grady Spann accepts top job with NWA Land Trust

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,002 views 

Fayetteville nonprofit Northwest Arkansas Land Trust (NWALT) said Wednesday (May 25) that former Arkansas State Parks director Grady Spann is its new CEO and executive director.

Spann, who has relocated to Northwest Arkansas, succeeds Terri Lane, who has helmed the organization for the past decade. Lane will move into her new role as the director of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation later this summer.

“It is an honor and a privilege to join the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust team of professionals,” Spann said in a news release. “It is an incredible opportunity to serve all the people in NWA to preserve and protect iconic sites such as natural habitats, stream and watershed lands, public access to natural areas and cultural sites and local food and farms. I look forward to being part of the mission and vision of NWALT that will serve generations of Arkansans.”

Spann retired last year as director of Arkansas State Parks. He started his career there in 1993 as superintendent of Parkin Archeological State Park and rose to director in 2016.

Before working for Arkansas State Parks, Spann served in the U.S. Army for nine years as a military tactical intelligence and counterintelligence officer.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Grady as the next leader of the land trust,” Lane said. “It has been my life’s passion to grow the organization over the past ten years, and I feel really good about handing it over to someone as experienced and passionate as Grady. I can’t imagine a better fit for the future of the land trust.”

According to a news release, under Lane’s leadership, NWALT became the first accredited land trust in the state, has grown to protect over 6,000 acres of land across 40 properties in Northwest Arkansas, opened five public preserves, and provided conservation education programs to thousands of students and lifelong learners.

The land trust’s service area includes 13 counties in Northwest Arkansas, with a core focus on Benton, Carroll, Madison, and Washington counties.