Taylor Glover and the Riverview Foundation were honored for their roles in the conservation of the Tallassee Forest, 542 acres of beautiful and ecologically important land along the Middle Oconee River, at a celebration hosted by Athens Land Trust on April 26.
A portion of the property, 310 acres, is now owned by Athens-Clarke County, purchased with funding from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Greenspace Acquisition Program and a grant from the Riverview Foundation. It is protected with a conservation easement held by the Oconee River Land Trust.
The remaining 242 acres were purchased by an individual and are protected with a conservation easement held by Athens Land Trust. The easements ensure that the land will remain in a natural state and continue to provide valuable ecological services into the future. The transaction, which took two years and the efforts of many individuals and organizations, was completed in November 2012.
Speaking at the celebration, Athens-Clarke Commissioner Mike Hamby, who along with Commissioner Andy Herod championed the project, applauded the honorees for their commitment to land conservation and acknowledged the collaboration of local and national environmental advocates and County officials that resulted in the property’s permanent protection.
Taylor Glover, the property’s former landowner, recognized its significant conservation values. He offered it to Athens-Clarke County for purchase at a below-market price through the SPLOST Greenspace Acquisition Program, which was approved by voters in 2005. To supplement the available SPLOST funding, Athens Land Trust located a conservation buyer for a portion of the property and contacted The Conservation Fund about the rest.
The Conservation Fund, a national organization that has worked with local communities to protect more than 7 million acres of land in the U.S., in turn secured the support of the Riverview Foundation, which made a grant to Athens-Clarke County to complete the protection of the property. The Riverview Foundation, a new foundation whose primary mission is land conservation in the North Georgia region, is an offshoot of the Lyndhurst Foundation in Chattanooga. It was established by the Fontaine family—George Sr., Celia, George Jr., Cartter, and Ryan—and is led by Executive Director Bruz Clark.