October 16, 2017

Sansavilla Wildlife Management Area Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

HORTENSE, Ga. — The Department of Natural Resources announced the closing of the final phase of land purchased for the Sansavilla Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ceremony took place at 1:00 PM on site with a program of speakers representing many of the partners on the project: The Conservation Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in addition to DNR Commissioner Mark Williams and Director Chuck Williams of the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Sansavilla WMA is a 19,500-acre area located in Wayne and Glynn counties. The area has been a part of the Wildlife Management Area system for more than forty years as a leased property. Its popularity stems from fishing opportunities, wildlife watching spots, canoeing, boating, and hunting for deer, turkey, and small game species. The property also includes a boat ramp for access to the Altamaha River.

The property is home to multiple wildlife species and at least seventeen federally or state-listed endangered, threatened, or species of concern. Notably, this site is considered a high priority area for the revitalization of the gopher tortoise, a species where widespread efforts are in place to preclude a federal Endangered Species Act listing. The diverse habitats, in addition to 2,600 acres of high priority Longleaf Ecosystem Restoration areas, show the value of protecting the property for the Department of Natural Resources and its partners. Georgia DNR purchased the property from The Conservation Fund with assistance from The Nature Conservancy in several phases. The purchase was funded through donations from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Knobloch Family Foundation, and grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service “Forest Legacy” program in addition to state bond dollars. Furthermore, with funding from the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program, the United States Marine Corps purchased a restricted use easement to buffer the Townsend Bombing Range. The total cost was $36,000,000.

Quotes from Speakers and Partners

Mark Williams, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Natural Resources 
“Sansavilla is one of the region’s most popular WMAs for hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Thanks to our generous partners, Sansavilla is now protected forever and will continue to provide incredible outdoor opportunities for Georgians and also serve as important habitat for seventeen of the most vulnerable species we are working to protect.”

Johnny Isakson, U.S. Senator, Georgia
“The Sansavilla Wildlife Management Area is a popular and beloved spot for Georgians that also provides not only recreational opportunities, but also meaningful wildlife and land conservation for a number of threatened or endangered species. Thanks to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Legacy Program, along with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program funds, we are able to celebrate turning this land lease into an outright purchase. I join with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources along with its many partners in celebrating this wonderful occasion that will help ensure the permanent protection of this treasured land.”

Buddy Carter, U.S. Representative, West Virginia’s 3rd District
“This is an exciting day. The Sansavilla Wildlife Management Area is important for recreation, conservation, and our timber industry. This was definitely a team effort and I am happy I could be a part of it.”

Colonel Timothy Miller, Commanding Officer, U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
“We are proud to be a part of the team effort to protect Sansavilla. The conservation of this critical property along the Altamaha River provides needed encroachment protection that will enhance our training at Townsend Bombing Range and will ensure our pilots and crew are prepared for today’s enemies and tomorrow’s conflicts.”

Andrew Schock, Georgia State Director, The Conservation Fund
“We are honored to assist the State in the protection of this large landscape of working lands that will support local forestry jobs, critical wildlife habitat and longleaf pine restoration, while ensuring public recreational access. This success required a strong private-state-federal partnership; and we thank Georgia’s U.S. Congressional delegation—Senators Isakson and Perdue and Representative Carter—for supporting federal funding programs that were critical to this accomplishment: the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides funding for the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, and the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program.”

Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia
“Congratulations to our partners at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and The Conservation Fund on today’s dedication, which marks a significant achievement that adds more critical land to the 50-mile conservation corridor along the Altamaha River and helps protect habitat for threatened and endangered animals like the gopher tortoise, Georgia’s state reptile.”

About the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

The mission of the Department of Natural Resources is to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources for present and future generations, while recognizing the importance of promoting the development of commerce and industry that utilize sound environmental practices.    


Amber Carter | 404-615-7169 | amber.carter@dnr.ga.gov