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Thrifts Ferry

Thrifts Ferry

Approximate size (acres): GA 7,466; SC 5,471
Old-growth known (acres): GA 17; SC 29

Thrifts Ferry is unusual among Mountain Treasures areas in its relatively gentle terrain. Moderate slopes lead down to low gradient streams, though there are steep slopes especially along the Chattooga River. This area embraces several miles of Section 3. For all of that length, whitewater rafters parallel hikers on the Chattooga River Trail, “one of the ten best river trails in America” according to Backpacker magazine. The Chattooga River Trail ties into the Bartram Trail, which provides connections to Rainy Mountain, Rabun Bald, and eventually North Carolina.

The area provides even better connections for wildlife as an integral link in the chain of wild areas along the Chattooga River. The South Carolina side of the area, particularly around John Mountain, provides the best wildlife connection between the Chattooga and the extensive wildlands around the Chauga River.

This area was logged hard around the turn of the 20th century, but retains much of its natural character. Licklog Creek, the largest tributary on the Georgia side, and many of the smaller tributaries have entirely forested watersheds. That condition protects natural flow patterns and high water quality. Shortleaf pine has declined throughout its range, but remains common in this area. Here, they grow at exceptional rates not found in other parts of north Georgia. One small white oak stand also escaped the logging. Both the stand’s low elevation and deep, moist soils make it remarkable for north Georgia old-growth.

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

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