Anyone who has ever taken a walk in the woods in north Georgia knows that the Chattahoochee National Forest is one of the state’s great treasures. But it wasn’t always so.
At the turn of the 20th century, the forest had been abused and overused, the victims of hydraulic mining, overcutting and poor land and wildlife management. In 1911 the U.S. Forest Service purchased 31,000 acres in Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, and Union counties from the Gennett family for $7 an acre. Georgia’s first forest ranger, Roscoe Nicholson, helped to negotiate the purchase. Nicholson and ranger Arthur Woody instituted forestry practices for managing timber, wildlife and recreation resources. The Forest Service managers planted trees, fought wildfires, controlled erosion and reintroduced deer and fish populations that had been virtually eliminated.
The Chattahoochee National Forest now covers almost 750,000 acres in north Georgia, carefully managed and preserved for future generations after it was established by President Franklin Roosevelt on July 9, 1936, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.