Chattahoochee River NRA Addition Protects 8-Mile Corridor Along the River

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in suburban Atlanta is growing by 47 acres, which will nearly complete an eight-mile corridor of conserved public land along the river, The Trust for Public Land and the National Park Service announced today.

The Sugar Hill, Georgia, property off State Route 20 includes 1,700 feet of frontage along the Chattahoochee River. An outstanding cold water fishery, it is the most pristine section of the park. In 2011 brown trout were self-sustaining in these waters for the first time in recent memory.

“The Chattahoochee River NRA is a wildly popular outdoor destination for the more than three million people who visit each year,” said Curt Soper, Georgia state director of The Trust for Public Land. “Protecting this land and finally connecting two pieces of the park will give people and their families more access to enjoy the river and to get outdoors.”

The National Park Service has prioritized the 47-acre property as an addition to the NRA for many years and The Trust for Public Land purchased it and 70 additional acres in October 2014. In January 2015, the 70 acres were sold to the City of Sugar Hill for use as a local park and natural area. These remaining 47 acres became part of the National Recreation Area today.

“This is an extremely important addition to the park,” said Bill Cox, superintendent of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. “Purchasing property adjacent to the river is the single most important thing we can do to protect water quality in the Chattahoochee River. Now that this critical property has been purchased, it also becomes possible to work with interested partners in developing a continuous greenway trail that can provide for recreation and increase the support for protecting this incredible resource we have here in metropolitan Atlanta.”

The Trust for Public Land purchased the 117-acre property for $5.2 million. The City of Sugar Hill paid $1.5 million for its 70-acre portion and the National Park Service paid $385,000 for its portion, using funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the federal government’s main source of funds to protect land. The balance of the land costs were provided through philanthropic gifts to The Trust for Public Land as part of the Chattahoochee River Land Protection campaign.

LWCF, which was created by Congress in 1965, is funded not through taxes, but through royalties paid by energy companies for offshore gas and oil drilling. The program expired late last year but Congress recently extended the program for three years.

This is the second Chattahoochee River conservation project completed by The Trust for Public Land this month. On February 1 the City of Johns Creek announced a 133-acre addition to public lands near Rogers Bridge Trail and planned trail connections to nearby Duluth.