Sportsmen Hope To Save Pine Log WMA
Bartow County rezoning effort could jeopardize a large portion of the Wildlife Management Area. Public meetings scheduled for Feb. 7 and Feb. 9 in Cartersville.
Georgia Wildlife Federation (GWF) and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) are calling on hunters, anglers and all who enjoy the outdoors to voice strong opposition toward the proposed rezoning of the 19,000+ acre property. The proposed zoning conversion to an overlay district will completely eliminate or, at best, reduce the WMA footprint by more than 60% and convert most of the acreage to mining and commercial uses in the Stamp Creek Basin.
Pine Log WMA, located 50 miles outside of Atlanta near Cartersville, is a popular recreation area for Atlanta and North Georgia residents. The property, leased to the State of Georgia for more than 40 years, was recently listed for sale. The proposed rezoning initiative enables significant commercial development that contemplates reducing the WMA to a maximum of 5,000 acres and creates over a million square feet of commercial buildings, millions of square feet of warehouses and thousands of residential units.
“Pine Log WMA has provided critical access to public hunters and anglers from the Atlanta area,” said Nathan Henderson, chair of Georgia Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, “and it also offers solace for recreationists outside of the big city.”
Stamp Creek Basin, which flows through the Pine Log WMA, harbors two federally protected fish species, the Cherokee darter and Etowah darter. Pine Log WMA offers fishing opportunities for redeye bass and trout, as well as hunting opportunities for deer, turkey, duck and other small game. Additionally, numerous other plants, fish and animals depend upon this critical exurban habitat. These species and the public depend on the WMA remaining manageable and accessible— aspects that are not contemplated in the current development plans.
“Pine Log is not just a great place for hunting and accessing trout streams, but it’s also a terrific place to get out and enjoy a day of fresh air and wildlife viewing,” said Mike Worley, president and CEO of GWF. “The hiking, biking and equestrian trails make it a favorite escape for many in the area.”
According to the Bartow County website, public meetings are scheduled for Feb. 7 and 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the commissioner’s hearing room, courthouse main floor, 135 W. Cherokee Ave, Cartersville. All concerned citizens are urged to attend.