Walker County, GA — November 14, 2008 — Lookout Mountain Conservancy (LMC), partnering with the Girl Scouts of Moccasin Bend Council, the Georgia Land Conservation Program (GLCP) and the Open Space Institute (OSI), announced today the conservation of 737 acres on the Lookout Mountain property known by thousands of current and former Girl Scouts as Camp Adahi.
The project not only protects the popular camp that has operated atop Lookout Mountain since 1964; it also represents the second major conservation effort in Walker County in the last 30 days.
The two recently protected properties—Camp Adahi and another adjacent acquisition, the 1,839-acre McLemore Cove property—have filled in the gaps to virtually connect the nearby Zahnd State Natural Area and the Crockford Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area, creating a contiguous, 20,000-acre-plus swath of conserved land.
“The LMC recognized early on the ecological importance of Camp Adahi and its role as a ‘linchpin’ within one of our focus areas,” said Donna Hertlein, LMC’s executive director. “The camp’s protection furthers the possibility of creating a continued swath of conserved lands all the way to Alabama—public and private lands protected forever. This is exactly the type of conservation strategy the Lookout Mountain Conservancy has advocated.”
The projects protected more than 2,500 acres in the county, aiding state and county officials in realizing a longtime vision of a mosaic of conserved lands.
“Walker County has been privileged to be the lead agency and applicant to the GLCP to secure the funding for the conservation easement purchase from Camp Adahi,” said Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell. “In relation to its conservation value, the Adahi tract is one of the richest in not only the northwest Georgia region, but in the entire state. We are very happy to have been involved with its permanent preservation.”
Camp Adahi will be protected by a conservation easement that allows the Girl Scout camp to continue operating while providing permanent protection for its natural features. The property, a largely wooded tract that includes the headwaters of the Little River, was identified as a high-priority conservation area under the Georgia State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP)—a blueprint for habitat protection and conservation that each state has been required to develop.
The camp also holds a special place in the hearts of local Girl Scouts officials, many of whom spent summers there as children.
“Adahi is a wonderful camp on Lookout Mountain that has been home to thousands of Girl Scouts over its 44-year existence,” said Linda Rath, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Moccasin Bend Council. “The preservation of this property is so important to the thousands more who will come to hike, canoe, ride horses and learn to appreciate the beauty of nature.”
The Girl Scouts Council, eager to see the property protected for future generations, generously accepted a significantly discounted purchase price for the easement on the property compared to its appraised value.
The Nature Conservancy in Georgia played a crucial role in the transaction by assessing the conservation values of the property and working with LMC to protect these values through the terms of the conservation easement.
Camp Adahi boasts a number of diverse habitats, including caves, underground streams, woodlands and forests, which provide homes for several varieties of salamanders, cave beetles, Southern Appalachian woodrats and many other plant and animal species.
“The Georgia Land Conservation Program is proud to play a role in protecting the Camp Adahi property,” said Curt Soper, director of GLCP. “This project adds to what is now an almost 20,000-acre block of conservation lands in one of the most beautiful and biologically significant parts of our state. The streams, springs, caves and woodlands found on this property will now be preserved for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations.”
The Camp Adahi and McLemore Cove projects were both funded in part by the Open Space Conservancy (OSC), OSI’s land acquisition affiliate, through its Northwest Georgia Land Protection Fund. OSC granted Lookout Mountain Conservancy $275,000 toward the $1 million purchase of the easement on the Camp Adahi property. Significant funding also came from the Jewell Foundation and Jim Andrews Foundation in Georgia, as well as the Tucker Foundation, the First Tennessee Foundation and the Jobe Family Fund.
“OSI and Lyndhurst embrace a shared belief in the tenets of conservation biology, which call for the identification and protection of cores, corridors and buffers that are essential to the long-term vitality of functioning ecosystems,” said Bruz Clark, vice president of the Lyndhurst Foundation, which, along with the Benwood Foundation, has funded the Northwest Georgia Fund in part. “The protection of Camp Adahi is another important piece of the puzzle in Northwest Georgia to safeguard unique natural areas, in addition to scenic, historic and cultural assets, as a counterbalance to human-induced development.”
"We are pleased to partner with the state of Georgia and other funders to protect these landscapes, which contain high priority wildlife habitat as identified on the state’s nationally respected State Wildlife Action Plan," said Peter Howell, OSI’s executive vice president. "They also are part of an extraordinary assemblage of protected land that is home to diverse wildlife and facilitates a range of human uses as well."