Etowah River Headwaters

Etowah River Headwaters

Approximate size: 5,702 acres
Old-growth known: 547 acres

One of the largest remaining tracts of old-growth forest in Georgia stretches along the northwestern rim of this Mountain Treasure. Steep slopes deterred early logging efforts. The southern exposure and relatively nutrient-poor geology also favor dry forests of chestnut oak and mountain laurel that lack the tall straight trees favored by loggers. However, a few of the narrow coves and hidden benches on the mountainsides have deeper soils and still support giant tuliptrees, northern red oaks, and other hardwoods.

Contrast those forests with what grows on the richer geology in the northeastern part of the area. Old-growth in the northeastern area is limited to one small track, but towering northern red oaks are common, even on steep slopes. This area also supports several rare species like the globally vulnerable broad-leaf tickseed. The waters flowing out of these forests eventually go on to nourish many rare aquatic animals in the famously diverse Coosa River.

Despite lying only 10 miles northwest of Dahlonega, this rugged and roadless area remains one of the most remote in Georgia. Other roadless areas border three sides, and except for three small inholdings, national forest lands surround the entire area. Although no trail provides access to the large old-growth stand, 3.5 miles of Appalachian Trail traverse the northeastern portions of this Mountain Treasure.

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


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