TPL Donates Land For New Chattahoochee River Park

September 24, 2011
Atlanta

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) today announced it has donated 22 acres of land to expand the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA). The land, worth $1.45 million and located at the foot of the historic Rogers Bridge in Johns Creek, protects more than 850 feet of the Chattahoochee and will be the future anchor for National Park Service trails and green space.

TPL and NPS will celebrate the donation on Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. with a program at the site that will include local leaders and family fun. Activities will include a community picnic, a scavenger hunt, tree climbing, Frisbee exhibitions, and history and wildlife presentations. The event will be part of National Public Lands Day, which is to raise awareness and appreciation of our public lands.

"For ten years, we worked to save this land because of its beauty, historic bridge and importance to creating a network of green spaces along the river," said Debra Edelson, the Chattahoochee River Program Manager for The Trust for Public Land. "This donation is another important step in turning that vision into reality."

The property donated today is one-half of a 44-acre parcel which had been approved for building 32 homes. The Trust for Public Land bought the first 22 acres last June and sold them to NPS, which used money from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Money for the LWCF does not come from taxpayers, but from funds paid by oil companies to lease oil and gas lands on federal property.

The Georgia congressional delegation, led by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, supported the funding for this effort.

"I would like to commend The Trust for Public Land for its continued commitment to the Chattahoochee River, which holds a very special place in my heart," said Sen. Isakson. "This donation of land is a great contribution to both the environment and the community."

Patty Wissinger, Superintendent of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, said, "This new donation of 22 acres is one more example of how The Trust for Public Land and the National Park Service continue to work together to conserve, expand and enhance the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and other special places in Georgia. TPL's gift is a giant step towards the preservation of green space along the Chattahoochee River and creates a legacy for future generations. The National Park Service is grateful for TPL's leadership and diligence in pursuing this property."

Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker said, "The City of Johns Creek, its neighborhoods and businesses benefit from the donation of this natural oasis in the midst of suburban development in the north Atlanta corridor. We are thrilled our citizens will enjoy access to the Chattahoochee River, and family days along the river."

The land is part of the historic farm owned by the Rogers family, one of the pioneering families north of Atlanta. "We are delighted with the conservation of this parcel and the proposed connected green space along the Chattahoochee as part of our family heritage," said Michael Rogers, a Johns Creek resident and family spokesman. The Rogers family still owns 300 acres next to the newly protected land. The Rogers land includes a farmhouse built in 1838, one of the oldest in the state.

The bridge, the longest single-span bridge in Georgia, was built in the early 20th century, and is a rare example of an unaltered Pennsylvania Design pin-connected metal truss. Due to the rarity and unaltered example of the design, Rogers Bridge is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

The Trust for Public Land protects land for people across the country. Founded in 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres in 47 states. In Georgia, TPL has protected more than 20,000 acres, including 16,000 acres of parks and open space along more than 76 miles of the Chattahoochee. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and businesses.

The National Park Service manages the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, running 48 miles from Buford Dam to Peachtree Creek. The park's natural and cultural resources are nationally significant, and provide significant green space and recreational opportunities in the Atlanta metro-region. The park is one of the busiest National Recreation Areas in the United States, serving over 3 million visitors each year.

The LWCF is the federal government's most important tool for protecting parks and open space. It has helped protect a number of unique places in the Atlanta area in addition to the Chattahoochee. Those places include properties near the Martin Luther King Jr. historic site, along with places such as Cumberland Island.