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Big Week At Panola Mountain

Author: Jody "Wildrice" Rice
Date: December 07, 2007
Saturday, December 1st
The Panola Mountain State Park Monthly Tree Climb

The first Saturday in December was a beautiful day, just right for the more than forty climbers who showed up to explore the limbs and branches in “Naomi Ruth”, Panola’s signature climbing tree. The climb began at 1 p.m. and ran for three hours until 4p.m.

Several groups from various clubs and Cub Scout troops showed up to climb and a few family groups were there also.

The park hosts an open climb on the first Saturday of every month and is run by State Park staff and volunteers.

Tuesday, December 4th
The Panola Mountain State Park “Plant A Tree” Project.
The old Southernness Golf Course was purchased and turned over to the Panola Mountain State Park for stewardship. The property that made up the golf course was to be reestablished into the natural forest that once existed there 300 years ago and was home to wood ducks, bear, deer, and the other wildlife that make up a dynamic and healthy ecosystem.

The nearby Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area has brought many stake holders (Panola Mountain State Park, Home Depot, The Conservation Fund, Hands on Atlanta, Tree Atlanta, and the Georgia Forestry Commission) together to start the process of taking the former well manicured golf course and returning it to a healthy diverse southeastern forest.

Over 50 volunteers that included Home Depot employees and Georgia Tech Trailblazers arrived at Panola Mountain State Park early on December 4, 2007 to plant 600 native trees of Georgia in a six acre flood plain area on the old golf course.

After the trees were planted, participants enjoyed a free-flying birds of prey program, fly fishing basics, and a tree climbing event which served to allow the worn out and dusty tree planters to experience how these trees can eventually benefit the public and our natural resources.

In time, the whole flood plain (around 70 acres) will be reestablished with over 5,000 trees. It is hoped that more tree planting events will occur in the midland and upland areas and that an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 trees can ultimately be planted.

The December 4 event was only the beginning for restoration and reforestation of the area.

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