The Hilliard Plantation Tract joins three other areas (Almo, Blackjack Crossing, and Fort Perry) to become the fourth tract available to the public at the Chattahoochee Fall Line Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Marion and Talbot Counties.
The Hilliard Plantation Tract, which includes five high priority habitat types, has enormous potential for ecological restoration, including expansion of a fire-managed longleaf pine ecosystem beneficial to the red-cockaded woodpecker, gopher tortoise and other imperiled species. Additionally, the area will allow for more public recreation lands for such activities as hunting, hiking, fishing, camping and bird-watching.
The Chattahoochee Fall Line WMA was created through a unique partnership between the DNR, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Army at Fort Benning. Through the Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program, ecologically significant land near the military installation’s border is protected from development that is incompatible with the installation’s national security mission.
A portion of the purchase of the Hilliard Plantation Tract was made possible by state bond dollars, the Knobloch Family Foundation, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant, and a grant from the U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy program through the Georgia Forestry Commission. The remaining cost for the tract was secured with award of the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Challenge Grant through The Nature Conservancy’s work with Fort Benning’s Army Compatible Use Buffer Program and a private grant from Capital One via World Wildlife Foundation.
Management of the WMA will focus on recreational opportunities and restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem which provides important habitat for wildlife.