Location: Douglas County. Acquired n 2014. Acreage: 159.
Villa Rica Nature Preserve is 159 acres of forest land and wetlands. It is a beautiful forest with a nice mix of pine and hardwoods. It is located in an area of rapid residential development. The picture on the left shows the backside of one of the two large beaver dams. The right side photo is a nice little water run in the center of the property.
On October 21, 2015 this property was donated to the City of Villa Rica Georgia. Details follow:
Donor: Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land
Name of Property: Villa Rica Beaverland
Property Size: 159.25 acres | 2015 Fair Market Value: $704,900 (Douglas Tax Digest)
Location: N.E. of the intersection of Conners Road & Nally Road in Douglas County
Tax Parcel ID: 01800250001
The Property consists of 159.25 acres of undeveloped green space and is bordered by other forested and agricultural lands, single family residential tracts, three residential subdivisions, and one golf course. The Property will be protected from activities or land uses that would have a detrimental effect on the Conservation Purposes of the Property. The Property will be protected in perpetuity through a restricted deed and managed by the City of Villa Rica as an undeveloped natural conservation area in keeping with the Conservation Purposes and the deed restrictions.
The Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land acquired the property in 2014 to provide greenspace and provide for protection and enhancement of natural forest environments and native plant and wildlife species, protection of the wetlands and aquatic resources, specifically adjacent streams, including aquatic life, and an area suitable for forest and wildlife management, hiking, birdwatching, passive recreation and possible education activities related to local history and land use, natural history and natural systems. The Trust permanently limited the property’s usage by deed restriction so as to ensure future uses do not impact the conservation values of the protection of water quality and wildlife habitats, and to provide for the creation of nature-based outdoor recreation opportunities for the general public. The Trust designated that the property will be open for the regular use of the general public at no cost for low-impact nature based recreation opportunities such as hiking, biking, and nature observation along designated trails. When the Trust became aware of the City of Villa Rica’s desire to create a new passive recreation park it was obvious that we should transfer ownership of this property to the City for this purpose.
The City Council will take a formal vote to accept the gift at its public meeting on Thursday, October 29th, 2015.
The Mayor and Council is currently taking applications for its Recreation Advisory Commission. The purpose of the RAC is to make recommendations to the City Council regarding parks and recreation plans, policies, programs and projects. The RAC is composed of seven members who will serve three year terms. Those council-appointed individuals will serve as the steering committee together with the Director of Parks, Recreation and Leisure Services and representatives of the Trust to generate a master plan for approval and funding by the Mayor and City Council. We anticipate field trips to other passive parks throughout the metro Atlanta area to garner ideas in the planning process.
Examples of passive recreation activities: Archery, Bicycling, Camping, Canoeing, Dog Park, Frisbee, Hiking and nature walks, Horseback riding, Kite-flying, Painting, Photography, Rustic picnic areas, Walking and jogging, Wildlife viewing and bird watching
The following criteria may assist with understanding whether an activity is passive, and therefore allowed:
- Will the Open Space resource values be diminished?
- If YES then activity is not allowed
- If NO continue to Criteria 2
- Will event effectively close or significantly limit use of the Open Space in whole or part to the public?
- If YES then activity is not allowed
- If NO continue to Criteria 3
- Will event leave anything behind and/or trace (even chalk marks, flags, litter, graffiti, waste, etc.)?
- If YES then what is the trace?
- If trace CANNOT be removed then activity is not allowed