Georgia's national forests are said to be a hiker's paradise. Winding trails lead visitors through scenic mountains and rolling hills, by wild rushing rivers and cascading waterfalls. However, such a bucolic environment wasn’t always like this. In the mid to late 19th century a considerable amount of the forest was ravaged. Janet Barger detailed these events at the October 2011 meeting of the Lumpkin County Historical Society.
Janet discussed the early history of Georgia, a tale of abuse and overuse of the fragile ecosystems. She took us through the ravages of gold mining with the use of high pressure water cannons that could easily and quickly devastate a hillside. Timber companies also contributed by clear cutting many areas and moving on. Erosion and other mining activities also took their toll. In short, the lands that now make up Georgia’s beautiful National Forests became the land nobody wanted.
This scenario played out across America as it became a rich developing country. Fortunately, the overuse of natural resources was realized and action taken to make sure of their future availability. Janet discusses these still evolving changes in her presentation and the unique features of Georgia's national forests that make these lands a place of exploration and wonder. They are unique lands rich with recreation opportunities, history and spectacular scenery.
Here is her presentation:
In 2007, its centenial year, the US Forest Service created a documentary called the Greatest Good dealing with the struggle of managing the nation's resources among significant change. The first episode gives a good overview of the nation as a whole which in many ways is representative of the events that took place in North Georgia. It happens to be a fascinating series that consists of 14 episodes that may well hook you into watching it all.
Posted 28 Nov 2011 by Manny Carvalho
Images by Manny Carvalho and Janet Barger