Chattahoochee River Access Protected (GA)

Atlanta, 3/13/02 – The National Park Service (NPS) and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that they have acquired and protected a prime five-acre tract of land in unincorporated Fulton County that would have substantially reduced the buffer between development and the Chattahoochee River – posing a threat to water quality. If developed, the land that would have become the second phase of a high-end residential subdivision also would have forced NPS to relocate the entrance at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area’s Jones Bridge Unit.

“This acquisition is very important to us because it will prevent impacts on a very significant stream and scenic view along our access road there,” says Kevin Cheri, NPS superintendent of the Chattahoochee park land. “Obtaining this land is a tremendous benefit to our agency and the public that uses the park.”

The land is surrounded by the river, the first phase of a subdivision owned by Pinnacle Residential, L.L.C, Barnwell Road, and the access road to Jones Bridge unit. Thanks to Pinnacle Residential offering to re-orient its plans for the entrance to its housing development, TPL and the developer were able to find a way to prevent the tranquil park entrance road from being converted into a heavily traveled road leading into the subdivision. (TPL, a national nonprofit organization specializing in land conservation, bought the land and conveyed it to NPS.) The acquisition also prevents the park service from having to move its entrance all the way back to the river. The five acres will now remain untouched – safeguarding the stream running through the property, habitat for deer, and the buffer between the development and the river.

Says TPL-Georgia Director Russ Marane, “This acquisition preserves the integrity of an important entrance to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and creates an effective buffer between the river, the park and urban development. We commend the park service for taking yet another step to protect the source of metro Atlanta’s drinking water and one of its favorite recreational destinations.”

Cheri adds that the Jones Bridge acquisition is also important because it completes another transaction in the so called “Blitz Zone” area of the river that is under thegreatest immediate threat to development – the stretch that runs from Buford Dam down through Fulton and Gwinnett counties. Overall, NPS, TPL and partners in the on-going Chattahoochee River Land Protection Campaign have helped protect nearly 70 miles of frontage along the river since the effort began in 1997.

“TPL has been of tremendous assistance to us in being able to negotiate transfers of land much more smoothly that we could with the limited manpower available to us,” Cheri says. “The organization has played a key role in bringing the public and private sectors together to accomplish something that would be considerably more difficult do on their own.”

About TPL: Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate — applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. Across the nation, TPL has saved more than 1.2 million acres of land. In Georgia, TPL has helped protect land throughout the state – including nearly 70 miles along the Chattahoochee River. It has also conserved land on Georgia’s coast and rivers, and in urban centers. For the second year in a row, The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money magazine has named the Trust for Public Land the most efficient conservation charity in the nation, having dedicated 92% of funds to programs in 2001.