Land near mountain river added to national forest
January 09, 2014 11:45 AM | 676 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CLARKESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Land near a popular trout fishing river has been added to the Chattahoochee National Forest in the mountains of northeast Georgia.

Officials with the nonprofit Trust for Public Land say the addition of the 21 acres in Habersham County will give the public easier access to the Tray Mountain Wilderness Area and the Soque River.

The San Francisco-based Trust for Public Land said it worked with the U.S. Forest Service to purchase the property from Rabun County Bank following a foreclosure.

Protecting the Soque River property increases public access to thousands of acres of publicly owned national forest, Curt Soper, the trust's Georgia state director, said in a statement.

"This particular stretch of river is also home to a significant population of brook trout, Georgia's only native trout species," Soper said. "And the Soque River contributes to the quality of drinking water for millions of people downstream in Georgia, Alabama and Florida."

The Soque River, about 30 miles in length, is considered a vital headwater tributary to the Chattahoochee River, part of Atlanta's primary drinking water supply, the trust said in announcing the land purchase.

"Our strong partnership with The Trust for Public Land not only helps to protect the Soque River, but allows us to manage the national forest more efficiently and effectively," Betty Mathews, Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests supervisor, said in a statement.

The purchase of the property was also made possible by support from the Turner Foundation and Trout Unlimited, trust officials said.

"The Turner Foundation is pleased to support The Trust for Public Land's efforts to safeguard the Soque River, the habitats and watersheds of the Chattahoochee National Forest, and the public's access to enjoy both," Michael Finley, president of the Turner Foundation, said in a statement.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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