Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust names new Executive Director

Lance Hardin will become the new Executive Director at the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust (HCLT) beginning May 1, taking over the reins from Dr. Gary Wein who is retiring. 

Wein, who will continue as Executive Director Emeritus through June, was the first fulltime employee at HCLT and has been at the helm of the organization for almost seventeen years. 

Dr. Gary Wein teaches children about the environment and conservation during Founders Day at the Cashiers Historical Society in 2019.

HCLT has grown significantly under Wein’s leadership, from less than 1,000 conserved acres to almost 4,000 acres under HCLT protection. 

“It has been gratifying and rewarding to see the recognition and support from the community during my tenure at HCLT,” said Wein. “We would not have been able to achieve this success without the passionate support from so many residents and visitors and a highly involved board of directors dedicated to conserving our area’s outstanding natural resources.”

Wein added that he’s confident HCLT is in a position to handle the road ahead.

“I feel good about where the Land Trust is and can retire knowing that HCLT is equipped to handle the conservation challenges that lie ahead. I am leaving the organization in very good hands.”

Hardin brings to HCLT a strong business background, having spent more than two decades as a “big-4” tax and advisory consultant. 

A love of the Highlands’ regional culture prompted him to return to school for a graduate degree in Appalachian Studies, during which he conducted historical research on HCLT properties.

“I am so excited about the opportunities to continue HCLT’s mission,” said Hardin. “The organization and staff have never been stronger, but our area’s natural resources are facing unprecedented pressure from development and other forces – HCLT’s conservation efforts have never been more vital!”

Hardin and his wife, Gwyn, reside in Highlands.

Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the natural heritage of the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau for future generations.

HCLT protects the unique and diverse array of plant and animal life, scenic views, and rural character of the Plateau through land conservation, stewardship, and education.

To learn how Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, a nationally accredited nonprofit organization, is conserving valuable land resources for all generations, click HERE.

Pictured at the top of the article is recently named HCLT Executive Director Lance Hardin on an EcoTour at High Falls.

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