The state has certified Dobbins Mountain in northeast Georgia as a wildlife refuge.
People opposing a plan to cut a highway through the land hope this will force the state Department of Transportation to abandon the route.
Landowners have put up several legal hurdles to the proposed Highway 411 connector route over the past twenty some years.
Their latest roadblock was applying for wildlife refuge status. The Department of Natural Resources has approved it.
Lawyer Henry Parkman who represents the landowners says that means the DOT will have to choose another route.
"Under federal law and the applicable regulations, they are required to move the road if there are feasible and prudent alternatives," says Parkman. "And we know there are feasible and prudent alternatives. In fact, they have studied alternatives."
Parkman says he’s waiting on the Federal Highway Administration to make the final determination.
The DOT says it’s reviewing the new designation and declined further comment. The latest reports indicate it’s exploring another route but hasn’t ruled out the current proposal through the mountain.