Conservation

in Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve

Preserving an Ecosystem, Protecting a Georgia Natural Treasure

Ongoing conservation projects ensure the Chicopee Woods Area Park, and within it the 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, is a healthy forest and wetland teeming with native ecosystems.

Elachee’s constant vigil takes specialized expertise to assess and minimize risk from outside influences that can make thriving ecosystems vulnerable.

From collecting data on wildlife and plant communities, ensuring safety and accessibility among the eight miles of public hiking trails, to monitoring water quality and habitat health, Elachee’s role in managing one Georgia’s largest and most ecologically diverse green spaces is an invaluable resource for the region.

Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve Legally Protected

Elachee Named Trustee in Perpetuity

In 2001, The Chicopee woods Area Park Commission approved a conservation easement for the 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, with Elachee Nature Science Center to serve as the Land Trust holding the easement.

Although designated as a scenic area, used by the public as well as visiting school and children’s groups and day camps, the land was not legally protected from development until the conservation easement was granted. Appointing Elachee as the trustee for the easement in perpetuity means that the Nature Center and the Park Commission will share responsibility for maintaining the Nature Preserve in its natural state.

A conservation easement is a legal document designed to preserve and protect the conservation values of a property. It also maintains the dominant woodland, scenic and natural character of the area, including land and water resources. This protection applies to plants, animals and their habitats, thus prohibiting development that would interfere with the property’s conservation value. However, hiking and educational activities are permitted.

The Nature Preserve is part of the Chicopee Woods Area Park, one of the largest park within a city limit (Gainesville, Georgia) east of the Mississippi River. This is a biologically diverse area with rolling topography and numerous forest types, streams and wetlands.

“This action culminated years of visionary work by the Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission, Elachee and other community leaders who believe that preservation is the best use of this unique resource. It is a tremendous legacy to leave for future generations to enjoy.” – Andrea O. Timpone

Plants and Animals of Chicopee Woods

With volunteer and community partner help, Elachee has compiled the following resources of animals and plants found in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve.

Inspiring the Next Generation

The Elachee organization promotes environmental literacy and stewardship by frequently introducing new program topics that keep each visit to Elachee fresh and exciting. Elachee’s expert educators faithfully integrate aspects of our conservation projects into relevant curriculum for students. When put into context, young minds more easily grasp the work of natural world and its importance. LEARN MORE ABOUT ELACHEE’S SUPPLEMENTAL PREK-12 SCHOOL PROGRAMS

Elachee Community Partnerships in Action

Committed volunteers and community partners have a rich history of joining with Elachee to help make the visitor experience once to remember.

  • The National Audubon Society has designated the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve as an Important Bird Area, recognizing it as an essential area for migrating and nesting birds.
  • Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve is part of the National Old Growth Forest Network, identified among the less than one percent of the eastern United States’ forests intact long enough to have developed Old Growth Forest characteristics.
  • The 140-foot Walnut Creek Suspension Walking Bridge crosses Walnut Creek along the Bridge and Lake Loop sections of the Chicopee Woods Hiking Trail system, making this part of the Nature Preserve even more accessible. This pedestrian walkway was made possible through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Recreation Trails Program.

Collaborating for Sustainable Results

Conservation Strategies

Multi-year initiatives form the groundwork for future sustainability and environmental stewardship within Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve. Examples include:

  • Chicopee Woods Stream Restoration

    Through a watershed assessment, Elachee has set strategic direction for ongoing storm water management, erosion control and stream restoration.

  • Chicopee Woods Invasive Weed Management

    Elachee works to control exotic invasive plants, to restore and protect important wildlife habitats, enhance biodiversity, safeguard high priority (rare) plants and educate the public about the adverse impact of these unwanted plants.

    • Gainesville/Hall County Cooperative Weed Management Area CWMA BROCHURE
    • Invasive Plant Species Control and Habitat Restoration MORE
    • 8 Tips to be Garden-Smart, Plant-Wise CHECKLIST
    • Invasive Plants CHECKLIST