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Ellicott Rock Wilderness Extension

Ellicott Rock Wilderness Extension

Approximate size (acres): GA 3,945; NC 827; SC 1,932
Old-growth known (acres): GA 14; NC 0; SC 276

Unique among United States Wilderness areas, the Ellicott Rock Wilderness includes portions of three states – Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The Wilderness takes its name from a stone at the convergence of those states where in 1811 surveyor Andrew Ellicott chiseled “N-G” (North Carolina-Georgia). Starting from that point on the eastern bank of the Chattooga River, he surveyed the boundary between those two states to resolve a border dispute.

The extension runs southwest from the Wilderness along Burrells Ford Road, a route noted for its bird diversity that also provides primary access to the upper Chattooga River. Laurel Creek runs straight through the western portion of the extension. The straightness comes from the Warwoman Shear, a massive crease in the earth that extends all the way to the Helen area. However, Laurel Creek is better known for its eponymous corundum mine. From 1873 to 1893, the mine was one of the world’s two leading producers of corundum, a mineral used in bulk as an industrial abrasive but better known for its gem forms, ruby and sapphire.

Today, other streams in the area are popular for camping and fishing. A 181-foot-tall white pine growing on the banks of Laurel Creek was the tallest known tree in Georgia. The tree has since lost that title (see Five Falls), but with continued growth may soon regain the crown.

Help us protect this 16,000-acre oasis of waterfalls, old-growth, rare species, panoramic views, and world-class trails.

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