Grants Awarded for Conservation and Outdoor Recreation


The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the selection of the 2022-2023 Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program “Conserve Georgia” grants for conservation and outdoor recreation projects.

Grants Awarded for Conservation and Outdoor Recreation

ATLANTA, February 24, 2023 --


Selected applicants will now be invited to the second-level application, marking the final level of the application process for their proposals. This cycle will commit $28.7 million in funding to support local parks, trails systems and state-owned lands. Grantees have also committed an estimated $35 million to match grant dollars.

“Since the establishment of the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program, applicants have completed 13 projects totaling $106 million dollars of investment,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Williams. “These projects support parks and trails and protect land critical to wildlife. This year's project slate will expand these efforts to ensure Georgia’s citizens have greater outdoor recreation access than ever.”

The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program is Georgia’s first source of dedicated funding for the conservation of priority lands, the stewardship of state parks and wildlife management areas, and the support of local parks and trails. The competitive 2022-2023 grant cycle produced 55 submissions requesting a total of $107 million dollars in funding. Eligible applicants included local governments, recreation authorities, state agencies and certain non-profit organizations. The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund Board of Trustees reviewed all projects and selected a slate of proposals, which was subsequently approved by the Board of Natural Resources and the Appropriations Subcommittees of the State House of Representatives and State Senate over DNR.

Of the 12 selected projects, six are by local governments for the acquisition, development or stewardship of local parks or trail systems. Five proposals are for the acquisition of conservation land by DNR, and one is for a stewardship project on state lands. The full list of Conserve Georgia grant awards is below. For more information about the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program and these grants, visit

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. For more information, visit

2022-2023 Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program Selections

Carroll County
Expansion of McIntosh Reserve; $1,950,000
Carrol County plans to acquire 429 acre tract to expand the existing McIntosh Reserve Park area by 81% which includes approximately 2,450 feet of frontage on the Chattahoochee River, and priority habitats. This acquisition will preserve historic Creek Native American lands, and enhance recreational opportunities including camping, hiking and paddling along the Chattahoochee River.

Chatham County
Green Island Nature Reserve and Recreational Area; $3,000,000
Chatham County plans to acquire approximately 400 acres of upland located on Green Island. This acquisition by the County will ensure the natural, historical, and cultural resources of the island and surrounding marsh are preserved. The preservation will assure this area which is adjacent to a significant groundwater recharge area is protected from development.

City of Milton
Milton Greenspace: Trails, Hydrology and Habitat; $1,500,000
The City of Milton proposes to develop passive recreational opportunities on a 130-acre city-owned greenspace. This project will construct approximately one and a quarter mile of trail, as well as bridge, boardwalk and wildlife viewing platform. Existing isolated and failing pipe systems will be removed, and bioswales and green infrastructure will be installed to manage stormwater runoff. The property’s natural wildlife habitats will be restored through removal of invasive plant species and planting native species. Nesting sites for birds and insects, plus wildlife habitat education stations, will be installed.

Clayton County Water Authority
Huie Group Camping, Outdoor Learning and Archery; $3,000,000
The Clayton County Water Authority (CCWA) is proposing to develop Huie Group Camping to accommodate groups up to 67 persons. This will include tent platforms, primitive camping area, group shelters, restroom/shower facilities, outdoor classroom, wetland viewing platform, an obstacle course and nature trails. CCWA will also build a competition-level archery facility that includes 20 multi-purpose archery shooting lanes and a seven-station 3-D archery range.

McIntosh County
Fort Barrington / Harper Lake Campground Improvements; $1,190,000
McIntosh County will make major improvements to Harper Lake campground. This project will stop flooding during high-river stage. Construction of ADA-accessible restroom, park ranger’s station, open-air shelter, playground, a new well and lighting will support and facilitate public access to the Altamaha River Paddling Trail. To increase safety, a gate will be installed at the entrance and the entire park will be reconfigured to allow for more campsites.

Wilkes County
Conserving Georgia’s Revolutionary War Victory; $1,423,990
Wilkes County plans to acquire two parcels of land totaling approximately 178 acres to expand the Kettle Creek Battlefield Park. This projects will construct handicap accessible trails, hiking trails of dirt surfaces, mountain biking trails, restrooms, outdoor classrooms/education pavilion, wildlife viewing, RV and primitive camping sites, parking lot and electric park access gate. Monuments, interpretive signage and way finding signage will be installed.

Department of Natural Resources, State Parks & Historic Sites Division
The Conservation Fund Tract Acquisition - Amicalola; $5,100,000
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources plans to acquire 2,077 acres of forested conservation land in Dawson County in order to protect very high priority species and habitats, extend Amicalola Falls State Park’s buffer, and create opportunities for additional fishing, hiking, backcountry camping and wildlife viewing. This property contains high quality creeks, a crucial habitat to protect water quality for the federally endangered Etowah Darter and other at-risk aquatic and terrestrial species occurring in the watershed. Amicalola Falls State Park abuts the Chattahoochee National Forest and provides access to the Appalachian Trail.  

Department of Natural Resources, State Parks & Historic Sites Division
Aurum Tract Acquisition - Providence Canyon; $2,461,350
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will acquire and conserve approximately 1,493 acres known as Aurum Tract in Stewart County. This acquisition will provide a buffer to the west side of Providence Canyon State Park, which will also double the size of the park. This project will conserve and protect rare and high priority species, and will create more hiking, fishing, biking and birdwatching opportunities for the public.

Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division
Chattahoochee Fall Line WMA Expansion; $2,065,000
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources plans to acquire three tracts totaling 2,345 acres in Marion County to expand Chattahoochee Fall Line Wildlife Management Area. These tracts which are currently leased under the Voluntary Public Access Program (VPA) have great populations of deer and turkey. The acquisition will provide an important buffer to Fort Benning and will provide permanent protection to several high priority habitats and species including gopher tortoise.

Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division
Dugdown Mountain Corridor; $5,650,000
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is acquiring three tracts totaling 8,384 acres within the Dugdown Mountain Corridor, one of the most ecologically important corridors in Georgia and Southeast. Streams in the corridor provide critical habitat to a range of imperiled fish, mussel, and aquatic species.  Two of these tracts are currently leased by DNR as Wildlife Management Areas. This project will protect a habitat corridor high in biodiversity for rare plants, bats and aquatic species, and provide outstanding public recreation opportunities, including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, canoeing/kayaking and wildlife viewing.

Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division
Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area Expansion; $570,000
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will use a conservation easement to protect approximately 88 acres in Clarke County, adjacent to the Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area. This acquisition will provide permanent protection to high priority habitats that include state listed plants. Public access will be provided for recreational uses, including hiking and wildlife observation.

Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division
Habitat Restoration on State Lands, Phase 2; $758,965
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources plans to conduct large-scale habitat restoration practices on multiple state-owned properties managed by the Wildlife Resources Division. The project is focusing on Coastal Plain habitats, especially longleaf pine woodlands and savannas and includes reforestation, invasive species treatment and chemical site preparation. These habitats are critical for maintaining healthy populations of many imperiled and high-priority wildlife species identified in the State Wildlife Action Plan.




Media Contact:
Trevor Santos
Deputy Commissioner