Nature Inspired, The Works of James R. Darnell – Wildlife Art Exhibit Open to the Public Monday-Saturday, 10a-3p, through April 19, 2024 – Collaboration between Elachee Nature Science Center and The Arts Council, Inc.

Conservation

in Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve

The 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve is one of Georgia’s largest and most ecologically diverse green spaces.
Elachee’s role in managing The Emerald Jewel of Hall County is an invaluable resource for the region.

Constant Vigil

Over Native Ecosystems

 

Ongoing conservation projects ensure the Nature Preserve is a healthy forest and wetland teeming with native ecosystems. These include collecting research data on wildlife and plant communities, ensuring safety and accessibility among the 12.24 miles of public hiking trails, to monitoring water quality and habitat health. Elachee fields teams with specialized expertise to assess and minimize risk from outside influences that can make thriving ecosystems vulnerable.

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

Important Bird Area

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.

National Old Growth Forest Network

Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve has been identified as having the potential to become part of the National Old Growth Forest Network, which represents less than one percent of the eastern United States’ forests intact long enough to have developed Old Growth Forest characteristics.

Walnut Creek Suspension Bridge

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.

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.

Invasive Weed Management

The Elachee organization works to control exotic invasive plants in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, 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.

Collaborating

for Sustainable Results

Elachee routinely enlists the skills and talents of committed volunteers and community partners in environmental stewardship and conservation projects within Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve.