The mission of the Oconee River Land Trust is to conserve natural lands to protect water quality, preserve wildlife habitat, and enhance the quality of our lives and those of future generation.


Spring 2012 on the Cook Conservation Easement

ORLT has a new home in the historic Leathers Building:
675Pulaski St. #2300, Athens, GA 30601. (Our phone number is still the same 706-552-3138.) The new space is big enough to handle our expanding staff and files.  Stop by and see us if you are in the neighborhood!


The land trust accreditation program recognizes Land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important places and working land forever.  ORLT is applying for renewal of its accreditation.  A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs.  The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applicants.  Comments must relate to how OLRT complies with national quality standards.  These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust.  For the full list of standards, see www.landtrustaccrditation.org/tips-and-tools/indicator-practices.

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org or email your comment to info@Landtrust accreditation.org.  Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accrediation Commission, Attn: Public Comments:  (fax)518-587-7383; (mail)36 Phila St., Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.  Comments on ORLT’s application should be submitted by June 1, 2014.

ORLT begins 2014 with over 5,500 acres permanently protected! See our latest newsletter for more details.


ORLT members before the hike

Thank you to the members who attended ORLT’s  Fall Hike and Annual Membership Meeting on October 26, 2014.  The morning cold did not deter members who were able to hike Walter Cook’s forested 42 acre conservation easement in Jackson County, enjoy cookies and cider, and learn about ORLT’s work in 2013.  Thank you to all those who helped with the event and to all those hikers who attended!

Tree scavenger hunt creator and winners


Yes, there was cake too!

ORLT in the News!

See ORLT in the national news in this AP article about Terrafirma, the new conservation easement defense program.

ORLT 2013 Monitoring Day
March 9

After a brief introduction to ORLT’s monitoring program, 17 ORLT members hiked the 310 acre Tallassee Forest conservation easement in Clarke County.  Led by ORLT board members Walter Cook and Chris Canalos, the group walked the property looking for changes, both natural and man-made.  Thank you to all who came out to learn about monitoring and this beautiful property!

ORLT Monitors March 9, 2013

Monitoring Hike, March 9, 2013

It’s monitoring Season!

ORLT’s monitoring interns are starting their work, and will visit most of ORLT’s 35 conservation easements.  Their job is is to walk the properties and make sure there are no problems.  In addition to their work, ORLT is asking its members to help monitor one of its newest conservation easements, the Tallassee Forest (see below for more information about this easement).  Please visit the Event page for more information.

End of Year Update

ORLT completed two land conservation projects in Jones County to round out 2012.  Both properties are located close to the city of Macon, and permanently preserve a combination of hardwood forest, forested stream buffers, and working forests.  The Sawtooth conservation easement protects 308 forested acres that include two streams, a beaver pond and wetland, and well-managed pine forest.  The second year end project, Healy Preserve 2, is the second conservation easement at the direction of Kathy McArthur Floyd and Waldo Floyd III.  With these 243 acres, the Floyds have now protected 1,086 acres, on the outskirts of Macon.  Their property contains streams, hardwood forested draws, pasture and pine forest.  These two projects will  ensure that there will be natural habitat, water quality protection, and working forests even as Macon continues to grow.

ORLT has now protected a total of 4,337 acres in ten Georgia counties.  ORLT’s first conservation easement was completed in 2000, and covered 41 acres along the Middle Oconee.  Now, 13 years later, thanks to committed landowners and members who combine an appreciation of the benefits and beauty of undeveloped land with a deep tie to such land, we have together permanently protected more than ten times that first easement!

310 Acres Along the Middle Oconee River Conserved in Athens-Clarke County

Tallassee Forest - photo by J. Michael Wharton

On November 20th, Taylor Glover donated a conservation easement to ORLT,  permanently protecting 310 acres bordering the Middle Oconee River.  Athens-Clarke County then purchased the property, using greenspace acquisition funds and a grant from the Riverview Foundation.  For more information about this amazing project, the county’s third largest Natural Area, please see ORLT’s latest newsletter.


December 13, 2012
5-7 pm at the Globe
199 N. Lumpkin St., Downtown Athens

Please join the ORLT board and your friends to look back at 2012 and plan for 2013.  We look forward to seeing you!

“Spirit of the Land 2012: Small-Scale Images of the Georgia Landscape”

Thank you to all those who were able to join us at the UGA Botanical Garden for the opening reception and gallery talk by curator Paul Manoguerra.  We appreciate your support and the support of the talented participating artists.  This exhibit celebrates the work we do and our connection to the land.

  The art exhibit and sale continues until September 9th.  We hope you can take a look during your next visit to the Botanical Garden.

   Proceeds from any sales will be split between the artist, the Botanical Garden and the two land trusts, in support of our land conservation work.

Spirit of the Land 2012, Opening reception

Spirit of the Land 2012, Opening reception


ORLT starts the new year having completed three additional conservation easements in 2011, protecting 1,350 acres.  This brings the total number of acres protected by ORLT to 3,477, and the number of conservation easements to 32.  The green landscapes protected by ORLT are located in 10 counties in northeast Georgia, and include working forests, wetlands, hardwood forests, riparian buffers, and agricultural lands.

Jones County conservation easement 2011



Groton Place otter, winter 2012

Can you see the otter that ORLT’s monitor found on her visit to the Groton Place conservation easement in 2012?

More Information about ORLT
For more information about ORLT’s work , please contact Steffney Thompson at 706-552-3138 or at oconeeriverlandtrust@gmail.com.  Remember, with your support, ORLT will continue to steward the 5,756 acres it has already protected, and work more effectively to protect even more green space.

Oconee River Land Trust
675 Pulaski Street, #2300 · Athens, GA 30601

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