FAYETTEVILLE, August 26, 2021 –  The Southern Conservation Trust (SCT) today announced it has donated 120.37 acres of land to Newton County, Georgia and Rockdale County, Georgia for a new park and nature area. The land protects frontage on a perennial stream that flows into the Yellow River and will protect the water resources downstream. This property will be the future anchor for Newton County and Rockdale County trails and green space projects. 


“For twenty-eight years, we have worked to protect land and provide public green space in Georgia,” said Katie Pace Quattlebaum, the Executive Director for the Southern Conservation Trust. “This donation is another important step in bringing nature to our communities and we couldn’t be happier that the developer saw fit to protect this land through a permanent conservation easement.” 


The property donated to Newton County is 80.04 acres and the Rockdale County piece is 40.33 acres of a 120-acre parcel that had been approved for development in the past. The group that bought it planned to hold until the market was ready for development and then sell or develop.  In this case, because they held it for so long, the owners of the land were able to make a gift and really help the community from a recreational perspective. The Southern Conservation Trust worked with the developer to place the full 120 acres under a perpetual conservation easement in December of 2018.  The easement placed was unlike most and restricted the use of the property to public recreation.


“After walking the property we realized it was ideal for public passive recreation,” said Nick Kilburg, the Director of Parks and Education for the Southern Conservation Trust. “Our parks focus has always been Fayette County, but as we’ve expanded in recent years we’ve had great success identifying future public lands in other areas during the conservation process.”


Newton County Board of Commissioner, Nancy Shultz was essential in securing this donation from the Southern Conservation Trust for her district.


“This new donation of 80 acres is a perfect example of how the Southern Conservation Trust is working to conserve land and provide access to nature in Georgia and the southeast,” said Nancy Shultz, Newton County District 3 Board of Commissioner. “SCT’s gift is a giant step towards the preservation of green space in Newton County and creates a legacy for future generations.”


“The 40 acres donated to Rockdale County is adjacent to the existing Earl O’Neal Sports Complex and will add a passive nature element to this already established and heavily utilized park.  Water resource and greenspace preservation are key elements of the ARC’s Green Communities Program of which Rockdale is a Silver Certified Member. “This donation from Southern Conservation Trust is a welcome addition and falls right in line with County initiatives to improve the quality of life for our citizens,” said Oz Nesbitt, Rockdale County Chairman.  


The Southern Conservation Trust protects private and public lands throughout the southeast. Founded in 1993, SCT has protected more than 57,000 acres in 11 states just since 2016. In Georgia, SCT has protected more than 32,000 acres, including 1,200 acres of public nature areas, with an additional 400+ acres of public lands currently in progress. SCT depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and businesses. 


The Southern Conservation Trust is a 501(c)3 non-profit land trust that currently accepts conservation easements on land throughout the southeast.  In addition to conserving lands, SCT operates 8 public nature preserves and environmental education programs in Fayette County, Georgia and is opening the Fayette Environmental Education Center in Fayetteville, Georgia in the summer of 2021. Learn more about the Southern Conservation Trust at www.sctlandtrust.org.