Tall Timbers Works to Protect the Flint River
By Kevin McGorty, Tall Timbers Land Conservancy Director
The beautiful Upper Flint River passing through Talbot County, Georgia includes some of the best hot spots for anglers fishing for endemic shoal bass. The 5,900-acre Big Lazer Creek Wildlife Management Area is one of those hot spots. Along this portion of the river, the public is afforded scenic views of spectacular hardwood forests and bluffs. Tall Timbers recently closed on two conservation easements from brothers Stan and Roger Lumsden on their property called Flint River Plantation that will now protect an additional 3.5 miles of river frontage on 1,572 acres in this area.
The picturesque Flint River as seen from the Lumsden family conservation easements in Talbot County, Georgia.
Portions of the property have been in the Lumsden family since the Antebellum Period, but additional parcels have been acquired from timber companies. The brothers are carefully restoring the land which is used primarily for recreational hunting (deer, turkey, quail, waterfowl, and dove) and sustainable timber production. Pine timber is being thinned and prescribed burning is typically performed on a two-year rotation throughout the property.
The two easement tracts protect several plants, animals, and natural communities of significant biological importance in the state and the Flint River basin. The Special Natural Areas of the easement properties comprise rich forest communities of Southern Piedmont hardwoods that support rare and uncommon herbaceous plants such as fringed campion, relict trillium, and wild ginger. These forests also support numerous migratory and non-migratory bird species of special interest including fox sparrow, hermit thrush, and orange-crowned warbler. The Flint River (throughout its length) has been designated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as a High Priority Waterway. Additionally, in 2009 the Flint River was named the second most endangered river in the United States. The Washington D.C. based American Rivers organization noted the threats to the river with renewed calls to dam the Upper Flint as further water supply for the Atlanta region.
Tall Timbers holds a number of easements along the river, and is working closely with private landowners and the Flint RiverKeeper to protect this natural treasure for this and future generations.
Stan Lumsden (right) and his brother, Roger Lumsden, have donated conservation easements to Tall Timbers along the Upper Flint River. Stan serves on the Board of the Flint RiverKeeper organization.