Cooperatove Conservation Project

Callaway Conservation

Conserving Working Forests

Location: Southeastern Region: Georgia

Project Summary: The Ida Cason Callaway Foundation protected 2,507 acres of forest. Forest restoration, education and recreation activities continue under the terms of the conservation easement.
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Montane Longleaf Pine
Resource Challenge

The tract is located in the middle Chattahoochee River watershed, which flows out of Atlanta.  The Georgia State Unified Watershed Assessment indicates this impaired watershed is in most need of restoration.  A stream bank revetment project is underway with the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Located between metropolitan Atlanta and Columbus Georgia, near a major Interstate corridor, this large tract is know locally as the "Preserve".  It adjoins the Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park and contains rare Montane Longleaf Pine.  A notable mix of species common to the Appalachian Mountains, Piedmont and the Coastal Plain are also found here. 

The mission of the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation is to educate people about the living world around them through educational workshops, seminars, lectures, exhibits and a variety of interactive experiences.  Traditional use of the property includes forest management, wildlife management, recreation and education.  Callaway entered the project to protect and maintain the longleaf pine forest and the plum-leaf azaleas on the land.

Examples of Key Partners

The Conservation Fund conducted a planning assessment resulting in a comprehensive plan for 14,000 acres of undeveloped land owned and managed by the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation.  To avoid ever selling another piece of the "Preserve", the Foundation decided to apply for a Forest Legacy conservation easement.  Harris County applied to the Governor's Greenspace Program based on a 33% growth rate and the need to preserve green spaces.  The Pine Mountain Forest Legacy project was funded at about $4 million in federal funds and the project closed in December 2004.  Seventy-five percent of the project was federal money and 25 percent was a local match, with the Home Depot Foundation putting up $25,000 and the remainder coming from a donation of the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation land holdings.

Also supporting the project was the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, The Georgia Conservancy, The American Forestry and Paper Association and Columbus State University/Oxbow Meadows.

Results and Accomplishments

2,507 acres of working forest land along the ridge west of Callaway Gardens was placed under a perpetual easement.  Controlled public access is allowed for recreation and environmental education.  Donations fund such notable things as annual field trips for approximately 30,000 school children, the protection of endangered plants and animals, and equipment like binoculars, microscopes, nature films and resource books to help naturalists educate children and adults about sustaining a healthy environment.

The forest lands are under sustainable management following Sustainable Forestry Initiative protocols.  The project links public forest lands to protected private forests.  Restoration of the Montane longleaf pine ecosystem is underway.


Traditional forestry is partnering with environmental groups; their common goal is to protect important forests from uncontrolled urban sprawl.

Project Contact
Buford Sanders
Forest Legacy Coordinator
Georgia Forestry Commission
1055 East Whitehall Road
Athens, GA 30605
LuAnn Craighton
Director of Land Stewardship
Ida Cason Callaway Foundation
PO Box 2000
Pine Mountain, GA 31822

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