New Land for Bond Swamp Refuge (GA)

173 acres protected along the Ocmulgee River

The Trust for Public Land transferred 173 acres to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to add to the Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, a nature refuge just 10 minutes from downtown Macon. The acquisition completes the protection of almost 1,700 new acres for the refuge.

Bond Swamp will serve as the conservation and environmental education center for the Ocmulgee Heritage Greenway, a proposed 42 mile greenway along the Ocmulgee River which will extend from Julliette, through Macon, and south to Robins Air Force Base. In addition to the current acquisition, the Trust transferred 785 acres to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in June, 1999, and in March, the Trust acquired 733 acres for the swamp as part of Georgia’s Rivercare 2000 program.

The refuge provides habitat for black bear, bald eagle, American alligator and a host of water fowl and songbirds. In an unprecedented partnership, the land will be protected by the State of Georgia and leased to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Plans call for the swamp to be open to the public for the first time since it was established in the early 1980’s.

“We are proud to be part of this exciting community initiative,” said Rand Wentworth, Director of the Atlanta Office of the Trust for Public Land. “Thanks to the work of many partners, the Bond Swamp Refuge will provide wonderful educational opportunities for school children throughout Central Georgia and will protect an invaluable natural resource for future generations.”

In addition to the Trust for Public Land, more than 30 public agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses and civic organizations have joined forces to plan the Ocmulgee Heritage Greenway, including; the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the City of Macon, Bibb County, the Macon Water Authority, the Peyton Anderson Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. The Nature Conservancy assisted with the initial acquisition to protect the swamp in the early 1980’s.

The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to improve the quality of life in our communities and to protect our natural and historic resources for future generations. Founded in 1972, TPL specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiation, public finance, and law to protect land for public use. Working with private landowners, communities and government agencies, the Trust has helped protect more than 1,500 special places nationwide for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, playgrounds, historic landmarks, and wilderness areas. The Trust has protected over 1 million acres of land, including such national treasures as George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, Thoreau’s Walden Woods, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. In Georgia, the Trust has helped preserve Cumberland Island, Ft. Frederica on St. Simons Island and the Chattahoochee, Ocmulgee, and Chattooga Rivers.

Posted on 1/4/00