Conservation program buys land

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DALLAS, Ga. --- More than 4,000 acres in McIntosh County will be set aside as part of a $92.9 million land conservation package announced Wednesday by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

The three land purchases, which also include a 6,900-acre tract in Paulding County and 8,400 acres in Decatur County, are part of the Georgia Land Conservation Program signed into law by Mr. Perdue in 2005. That state will spend $34.7 million for the land, with private foundations, the federal government and local taxpayers kicking in an additional $58.2 million.

"All three of these purchases represent the ideal kind of partnerships that we envisioned when we created the Land Conservation Program," Mr. Perdue said at a news conference on the banks of Corley Lake, site of the Paulding County purchase.

The McIntosh County purchase includes land near the Altamaha River and the U.S. Marine Corps' Townsend Bombing Range.

In all, 4,162 acres will be protected as part of the Fort Barrington Tract at Townsend Wildlife Management Area, named for a Colonial-era fort on the river's banks. The state will spend almost $2.1 million on the project, with other contributions including $2.1 million from the federal government, $2 million from the Nature Conservancy and $550,000 from the Georgia Wetland Trust Fund.

Mr. Perdue said the total area is home to 120 rare or endangered species. The property will be owned by the Department of Natural Resources. As a wildlife management area, it will offer recreational activities including hunting, fishing and hiking.


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