Sunset on Arabia Mountain. Photo by David Akoubian
Located in DeKalb County, just 20 minutes from downtown Atlanta, Arabia Mountain is widely valued for its granite outcrops, abundant wildflowers and quiet streams. The conservation of lands at Arabia Mountain 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.
This unprecedented and unmanaged growth galvanized a community, sparking a shared vision that led to a remarkable conservation triumph: a $125 million Parks and Greenspace Bond Referendum. The goal is to create a green infrastructure of linked parks, greenways and wild lands.
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 which is the foundation for what will be a larger network of green space.
Working with community leaders, we recently added more than 300 acres to Arabia Mountain. This builds upon our past efforts that include protecting 940 acres adjacent to the park. The addition of these acres nearly doubled the size of the park and created part of a corridor that links Arabia Mountain to nearby Panola Mountain State Conservation Park. Combined, the two parks will constitute the largest natural area—some 4,500 acres total—in DeKalb County.