Fri., July 17, 2009 1:59pm (EDT)

Land Conservation Project Complete in Southwest Georgia
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 5 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area (photo from The Conservation Fund)
Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area (photo from The Conservation Fund)
Georgians, you now own a huge swath of land in southwest Georgia to be conserved forever.

Nearly 8500 acres of forest and wetlands along Lake Seminole and the Flint River now belong to the state.

Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area cost so much it had to be bought in 3 phases beginning in 2007; the final completed this week. The price tag was more than $38 million.

Curt Soper with the Georgia Land Conservation Program says it’s worth it.

“Besides the size of it, it's the quality of it. It’s way down in the southwest corner of the state which is the heart of Long Leaf Pine country. And along with it a number of endangered species like Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and Gopher Tortoises”

Soper says the state put up $15 million in conservation grants, and the private sector shored up most of the rest.

They bought it from a timber company that used it to harvest wood for the paper industry and to conduct tree growth experiments with fertilizers.

It’s now a place for Georgians to fish, hunt and hike, managed by the Department of Natural Resources.