Easement Protects 11 Acres on Chattahoochee
Fulton County, GA – In early 2005, the Trust for Public Land donated and assigned a conservation easement to the National Park Service (NPS) that not only permanently protects an important piece of the Chattahoochee River corridor, but also enlarges the size of the NPS headquarters for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
“Three years ago, we conveyed 56 acres with 2,550 feet of river frontage along the Chattahoochee to the Park Service,” says Chris Deming, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. “Now, this newly-created easement provides a critical link between NPS’s headquarters to that land, almost doubling the area around park headquarters that can be used for recreation.
Over the past several years, federal and state legislatures created Georgia’s River Care 2000 program and other initiatives to expand and protect the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. In the 1970’s, the Georgia General Assembly enacted the Metropolitan River Protection Act (MRPA) to prevent and control activities that contribute to floods, flood damage, erosion and siltation. This conservation easement, donated to TPL by Fulton County on 11 acres along the river off of Roberts Drive in Sandy Springs, goes one step further in helping ensure that this portion of the Chattahoochee is protected. Fulton County still holds title to the property itself, which will be managed by NPS pursuant to the terms of the conservation easement imposed on the property by the County.
“Were it not for the cooperation of the federal, state and local governments working with TPL to resolve some of the issues surrounding this property, it would never have been preserved,” Deming added. “That it was preserved highlights, in a very visible way, the importance of public-private “partnerships” and the great things that can happen when governments and the private sector work together.”
Kevin Cheri of the National Park Service agrees. “It’s genuinely invigorating to see all factions working closely together to make something like this happen. Fulton County clearly understands the importance of preserving green space and has been extremely helpful in accommodating thoughtful land conservation efforts.”
“Putting that property under a permanent conservation easement and conveying that easement to the Park Service makes a lot of sense,” says Fulton County Commissioner Tom Lowe. “The property is a real scenic gem and a wildlife habitat worth saving. And the fact that it is in the Chattahoochee corridor means we are also protecting the quality of our drinking water while providing educational and recreational opportunities for the general public.”
Commenting on the on-going protection of the Chattahoochee, Commissioner Lowe added, “This section of the ‘hooch is in good hands. The Park Service has a long and outstanding record of being good stewards of our parklands and open space along the river.”
The Chattahoochee River Land Protection Campaign was started in the mid 1990’s. The goal of the campaign is to protect central Georgia’s drinking water and provide recreational opportunities by creating a 180-mile greenway along the banks of the Chattahoochee- a greenway that would stretch from Helen to Lake Lanier to Columbus, Georgia. As appreciation of the river’s unique value rises in both public and private circles, the Trust for Public Land, along with its other conservation “partners” (including federal and state environmental leaders, local officials, citizen groups and private land owners), continues to protect endangered lands along the Chattahoochee River. No other natural resource plays such a vital role in the life of so many Georgians, providing drinking water to more than four million people.
To date, more than $160,000,000 has been raised for the Chattahoochee River Protection Initiative and over 70 miles have been protected along the river, representing over 48 separate land acquisition transactions and 13,280 acres. Added to previously existing parkland, over 146 miles of riverbank are now preserved.