Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
Sunset on Arabia Mountain. Photo by David Akoubian.
Located in DeKalb County, just 20 minutes from downtown Atlanta, Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area is widely valued for its granite outcrops, abundant wildflowers and quiet streams. A “National Heritage Area” is a place designated by Congress where natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography. The Fund’s work with a variety of partners in DeKalb and Rockdale Counties, including the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area Alliance, is part of a larger effort to save green space around Atlanta.
Known as the “crossroads of the South,” metropolitan Atlanta has reached a critical turning point. Growing faster and sprawling farther than any human settlement in recent United States history, Atlanta has been losing an average of 500 acres of forests, farmland and green space to development each week. Today, Atlanta has fewer acres of preserved open space per resident than any other metropolitan area of similar size and density.
We’re acting to preserve the best of the area’s parks, greenways and wild lands, or its green infrastructure, as a planned network of natural areas. The first, and perhaps most critical acquisition, was a major addition to Arabia Mountain Park that formed the foundation for a larger network of green space.
We worked with community leaders and partners to protect a total of 2,173 acres, which nearly doubled the size of the park and created part of a corridor linking Arabia Mountain to nearby Panola Mountain State Conservation Park. Combined, the two parks constitute the largest natural area in DeKalb County. The preserved lands provide opportunities for trail systems, heritage preservation and education, recreation, and ecosystem and wildlife protection.