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15 Projects Selected for Grants Through DNR’s Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources today announced 15 projects selected for the 2021-2022 Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program “Conserve Georgia” grants for conservation and outdoor recreation projects.

Selected applicants will now be invited to the Second-level application, marking the final level of the application process for their proposals. This cycle will commit $28.1 million in funding to support local parks and trails systems and state-owned lands. These Grantees have also committed an estimated $20.5 million to match grant dollars.

“During a time of need, Georgia provided our citizens and friends from neighboring states a safe place to recreate, enjoy nature and learn about the rich outdoor opportunities our state has to offer. The approved project grant slate will further improve those opportunities and continue to strengthen Georgia’s conservation efforts,” shares DNR Commissioner Mark Williams.

The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program is Georgia’s first source of dedicated funding for the conservation of priority lands, the stewardship of state parks and wildlife management areas, and the support of local parks and trails. The competitive 2021-2022 grant cycle produced 44 submissions requesting a total of $65 million dollars in funding. Eligible applicants included local governments, recreation authorities, state agencies, and certain non-profit organizations. The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund Board of Trustees reviewed all projects and selected a slate of proposals, which was subsequently approved by the Board of Natural Resources and the Appropriations Subcommittees of the State House of Representatives and State Senate over DNR.

Of the 15 selected projects, eight are for local governments or nonprofit organizations for the acquisition, development or stewardship of local parks or trail systems. Two proposals are for the acquisition of conservation land by DNR, and five are for stewardship projects on state lands. The full list of Conserve Georgia grant awards is below. For more information about the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program and these grants, please visit www.gadnr.org/gosp.

The mission of the Department of Natural Resources is to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources for present and future generations, while recognizing the importance of promoting the development of commerce and industry that utilize sound environmental practices.

2021-2022 Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program Selections

Bryan County
Fisherman’s Co-Op; $3,000,000

Bryan County plans to create outdoor recreational opportunities on a property known as Fisherman’s Co-Op. This project includes construction of boat ramps, a kayak launch, floating boat docks, picnic areas, pavilions, walking and biking trails, and a wildlife observation platform.

Cherokee County
Long Swamp Creek Recreation Area; $600,000

Cherokee County will develop Long Swamp Creek Recreation Area located at the confluence of Long Swamp Creek and the Etowah River. This project will include passive outdoor recreation opportunities consisting of a canoe and kayak launch, fishing, camping, walking trail, outdoor archery range, and wildlife viewing.

City of LaGrange
Ridley Lake Project; $3,000,000

The City of LaGrange is developing a 45-acre inclusive/accessible facility known as Ridley Lake Project. This project will include approximately 1.3 miles of multi-use trails, boardwalks and bridges to wetland areas, ADA inclusive kayak/canoe launch, fishing piers, wildlife viewing areas, pavilions, amphitheater, accessible playgrounds, and a trailhead.

City of Sandy Springs
Trail Segment 2a; $3,000,000

The City of Sandy Springs plans to acquire easements and construct approximately two miles of multi-use trail and boardwalk. This project is a segment of a larger trail system which will connect existing recreational areas and provide opportunities for walking and biking, as well as fishing and wildlife viewing.

City of Tucker
Johns Homestead Dam and Park Improvements; $2,521,800

The City of Tucker will enhance the Johns Homestead Park through construction of new access points, boardwalks, ADA-accessible fishing pier, permanent orienteering course, educational kiosks, and bird viewing blind. The shorelines and stream buffers will be restored through planting native plants and vegetative restoration of streambank. The proposed project will also rehabilitate two existing dams to make the park safer for the users, improve stormwater mitigation, and reduce sediment flowing downstream.

Groundwork Atlanta
Woodall Creek Conservation Corridor; $1,495,000

Groundwork Atlanta, in collaboration with multiple entities, will develop approximately three miles of trail connecting two existing trail systems. This project will enhance water quality by pre-treating stormwater runoff before it enters Woodall Creek and will replant riparian buffers with native trees and plants.

Henry County
Butlers Bridge Park & Stream Restoration; $1,498,459

Henry County plans to design and build a passive recreational park to include approximately 2.4 miles of trail and boardwalk system, kayak launch, and wildlife viewing platforms. This project will provide access to the South River and establish one of the key put-in/take-out locations of the South River Water Trail. The proposed project will also perform a priority 1 stream restoration that will restore the loss of connectivity with the floodplain. Restoration of this stream will reduce erosion and sedimentation and improve water quality in the South River.

Jones County
Jake’s Woods Multi-Use Park; $500,000

Jones County plans to acquire approximately 30 acres of land and develop Jake’s Woods Park. This project will preserve granite outcrops and highlight African-American history and culture through the installation of interpretive signage. Three miles of trail and bouldering and rock-climbing opportunities will be developed.

Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division
Williamson Park (Champney) Public Access Facility; $1,141,692

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources plans to construct a new boat ramp and rehabilitate an existing ramp to accommodate launching more vessels. New canoe/kayak launch platforms and fishing pier will be added. The marsh and wetland buffers will be widened and planted with native trees and vegetation. Bioswales, rain gardens and other green infrastructure will be incorporated to provide onsite stormwater management.

Department of Natural Resources, Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division
Coleman Tract Acquisition, Franklin Delano Roosevelt State Park; $1,757,500

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources plans to acquire approximately 882 acres of property known as the Coleman Tract bordering the northeast corner of Franklin Delano Roosevelt State Park. Obtaining this property will extend the park’s buffer, allow for restoration of the montane longleaf pine forest, and create opportunities for additional hiking and biking trails, backcountry camping and wildlife viewing.

Department of Natural Resources, Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division
Trail Improvements-Sweetwater Creek State Park; $ 2,260,751

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will address the significant safety issues on the Red Trail at Sweetwater Creek State Park by improving accessibility through ADA compliant features, removing eroded structures, rerouting hazardous sections and replacing them with boardwalks and staircases with flood resistant materials. These improvements would make the trail safer and more accessible. This project will improve the viewing access of the historic mill ruins and Sweetwater Creek for those with disabilities.

Department of Natural Resources, Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division
Visitor Center Reconstruction, Vogel State Park; $4,274,579

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will construct a new visitor center at Vogel State Park, one of the oldest, most popular parks in the Georgia State Parks System. This project will support the high amount of visitation and the varying natural resource-based recreational activities the Park offers. The existing visitor center, originally constructed in the 1930’s, will be renovated into a Civilian Conservation Corps Museum to expand opportunities for interpretive programming.

Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division
Langdale Tract, Chattahoochee Fall Line WMA; $562,264

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will acquire and conserve approximately 1,348 acres in Marion County as an addition to the Chattahoochee Fall Line Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This land acquisition project will provide permanent protection to several high priority habitats and species and provide access to hunting and other nature-based recreational activities for the public.

Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division
Habitat Restoration on State Lands; $978,274

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources plans to conduct large scale habitat restoration practices on multiple state-owned properties, including reforestation, prescribed burning, and selective herbicide treatments. The project will be focused on open pine habitats, including longleaf pine woodlands and savannas. These habitats are critical for maintaining healthy populations of many imperiled and high-priority wildlife species.

Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division
Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center Discovery Zone; $ 1,500,000

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources plans to develop Phase Three of the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center (CEWC). This project consists of construction of a Discovery Zone and pavilion that will provide educational opportunities and nature-based recreational activities for guests. A new animal holding facility will provide the capacity to securely house and care for animals used in a variety of educational programs.

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