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Forever Wild adds nearly 10,000 acres in Coosa Co.

MONTGOMERY (AP) — The Forever Wild Land Trust has purchased nearly 10,000 acres of mountain and aquatic habitat along the Coosa River to protect it from development, state conservation officials announced Monday

The 9,800 acres, located near Rockford, is part of the Coosa Wildlife Management Area and one of the largest areas purchased since the Forever Wild program’s began in 1992.

Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley, whose agency will manage the land, said the acreage was acquired from the Hancock Timber Resource Group.

Greg Lein, an agency official who directs the Forever Wild program, said such acquisitions are increasingly becoming a necessity.

“For a variety of reasons the amount of land available to the public for hunting and recreational use has steadily declined,” Lein said. “This beautiful tract of land, within easy driving distance of a large portion of the state’s population, offers wonderful recreational opportunities and has important environmental protection aspects as well.’

Lein said the Coosa property is home to areas of mature mountain longleaf pine, and the state plans to extend the existing mountain longleaf pine ecosystem by about 3,000 acres.

“We not only will be protecting red-cockaded woodpeckers, but also will be restoring an important mountain longleaf pine ecosystem,” he said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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