The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) manages several land properties throughout the state. All of them operate under a multiple-use Forest Stewardship management plan taking into account the various wood product, wildlife, recreational, soil, water, aesthetic, historical, and cultural resources of the area. Some of the forests are available for public recreational activities.

Bartram Forest


2,113 acres
State land tract
Baldwin and Wilkinson Counties
Milledgeville office: (478) 445-5164

The Bartram Forest is owned by the State of Georgia and managed with Forest Stewardship multiple use concepts by the GFC. This concept integrates timber, wildlife, recreation, soil, water and aesthetics into one workable plan.

Presently, 1,600 acres are suited for growing timber and predominantly planted with pine trees. Wetlands, made up of creeks and beaver ponds, utilize over 270 acres. The Baldwin Seed Orchard has 100 acres.  Right-of-ways (natural gas, electric, and highway/roads) make up the balance. The proposed “Fall Line Freeway” will use 477 acres at some point in the future.

Public uses of the Bartram Forest include hiking and mountain biking. The property is a Wildlife Management Area that allows archery hunting only.

Broxton Rocks Forest


350 acres
State land tract
Coffee County
Waycross office: (912) 287-4915

The GFC manages Broxton Rocks Forest as a multiple use tract with timber as the primary objective. Strong consideration is also given to soil and water conservation, wildlife and the landscape value of restoring longleaf pine. 290 acres are suited for growing timber and predominantly consist of planted loblolly and longleaf pine trees. Bottomland hardwoods, made up of creeks and drains, utilize 52 acres. The forest is named after roughly nine acres of rock outcrops that are a unique feature to the region. Prior to the state’s ownership, the property was owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy as part of its Broxton Rocks conservation priority area.

The GFC board recently approved the inclusion of this property as a foot travel only access tract as part of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Flat Tub Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This property has a fairly easy walk (approximately .5 mile) to some of the famous “Broxton Rocks” outcroppings.

Visit the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website for information on hunting opportunities and regulations for the Flat Tub WMA located in Region 6.

Dawson Forest


10,130 acres
City of Atlanta land tract
Dawson County
Dawsonville office: (706) 265-3707

A cooperative project of: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Georgia Forestry Commission, and Georgia Department of Natural ResourcesWildlife Resources Division

The Dawson Forest is owned by the City of Atlanta and managed by the GFC. The Commission plays a Stewardship role for the City by using conservation practices that minimize damage to the forest caused by human and natural forces. The Forest produces timber, wildlife habitat, clean water into the Etowah River watershed, and many opportunities for people to experience recreation and education.

Directions from Georgia Hwy 400:
Take Hwy 400 to the Dawsonville Outlet mall red light. Turn west onto Dawson Forest Road. Continue straight for approximately 3.8 miles until the intersection/stop sign. Proceed straight through intersection for approximately 1 mile to South entrance gate. Proceed through gate and Parking Area/Trailhead will be just ahead on the right.

Forest Management

The Forest is managed using guidelines from the Dawson Forest Stewardship Management Plan. This Plan designates practices to be applied to each forest stand for the next 30 years. For example, areas of the forest composed mostly of pine tree species will be thinned before they start to die from overcrowding. Areas of mature pine will be harvested and reforested before heavy mortality begins in the old trees. Other practices, such as prescribed burning and herbicide treatments, are applied when specific improvements in the composition of the plant community are desired. The Stewardship Plan also includes the logistics of road maintenance and access control.

Funding for care and management of the Forest is provided by the owner, the City of Atlanta. All incomes received from the Forest are returned to the City.

Wildlife

Through a cooperative agreement between the GFC and Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Dawson Forest City of Atlanta Tract is designated as a portion of the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The Wildlife Resources Division maintains twenty-eight wildlife food plantings and regulates all hunting on the forest. For more information concerning the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area, consult the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Recreation

Trail Schedule
Dawson Forest Trail Map
NOTE: Any organization wishing to use Dawson Forest for a group event is required to contact the Forest Manager for a special use permit.

Trail use is allowed by the general public as follows:

  • Hiking – permitted anywhere on the Forest during all times the Forest is open. There are TRAIL USE RESTRICTIONS during hunting seasons.
  • Horseback riding and mountain bike (bicycle) riding – permitted on designated trails only. Riding is not allowed during firearms deer hunting days, and not before 10:00 a.m. during deer archery and spring turkey hunting days. Horseback and bicycle riding are also not allowed anytime the Main Gate is closed. Vehicles towing trailers must park at the trailhead parking area near the Main Gate on Dawson Forest Road. A trail user fee is required. A daily fee can be deposited in a collection tube at the trail head, or an annual pass can be obtained from the DNR Wildlife Resources Division NE Georgia office (download annual pass application). All collected funds are used in trail maintenance and management.
  • ATV or off-road vehicle use is not permitted except for allowable ATV use during small and big game hunting as described in the Georgia DNR Hunting Regulations. Vehicles are restricted to open roads only.
  • Primitive camping is permitted ONLY in designated camping locations in the forest on days it is open. Camping is restricted to 14 consecutive days or less. There are no restroom or garbage collection facilities with the exception of the “porta-jon” at the trailhead. Users should practice good conservation in all outdoor activities. Anything packed in should be packed out, trash included.

Education

Scouting groups and other organizations are encouraged to use the area for outdoor education. The GFC staff is often available to provide educational programs concerning the management of our forests. The Commission supports the growth and production of renewable resources while provide a healthy environment for people, wildlife, and plants.

Maps & Resources

Base map Dawson Forest City of Atlanta Tract

Trail Schedule

Dawson Forest Trail Map

Georgia DNR hunting map for Dawson Forest (Dawson Forest is located in Region 2)

Georgia DNR hunting regulations (Dawson Forest is located in Region 2)

Area maps (Dawson Forest is located in Region 2)

Public Use Regulations

NOTE: Hunting maps are also available from the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division and from the Check-in Station on Highway 53 west of Dawsonville during firearms deer hunts.

Dixon Memorial State Forest


35,000 acres
State land tract
Ware and Brantley Counties
(912) 287-4915

The 35,000-acre Dixon Memorial Forest is the largest tract owned and managed by the Georgia Forestry Commission. This unique property is on the northwest side of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, is comprised of about one half wetland type ecosystems and the other half upland forest types. The stewardship management plan includes provisions for timber production as well as providing for longer rotations, with multiple thinnings and prescribed fires to benefit wildlife. Dixon Memorial Forest is also heavily used for research and educational purposes.

The forest is managed as a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division (DNR-WRD) and is one of the largest WMA’s in the state. Approximately 170 acres of food plots, 55 acres of natural openings, 250 Wood Duck boxes, and 45 acres in MARSH waterfowl impoundment are maintained for wildlife.

Hunting

  • The WMA is open to the public from August 15 through May 15 for game hunts
  • Game species include white-tailed deer, black bear, dove, turkey, and small game
  • A GFC and DNR-WRD constructed gun range is located on Crews Blvd. off Hwy 177 near the Swamp Park entrance

Education

The forest is the location for several university and cooperative forestry research projects including:

  • Acid rain/fertilization
  • Palmetto production
  • J-root planting
  • Genetic crosses of pine species
  • Thinning management
  • Pine oleoresin production
  • Biomass regimes that allow for traditional products

The Herty Building at Dixon Memorial Forest can be reserved for natural resource educational programs or other events. Please contact the Forest Supervisor for availability and reservations.

Recreation

Maps & Resources

Georgia DNR hunting regulations (Dixon Memorial is located in Region 6)

Area maps (Dixon Memorial is located in Region 6)

Hightower Forest


142 acres
State land tract
Dawson County
(770) 531-6043

Hightower Forest provides education services for teaching student groups of all ages to learn about the importance of forests and forestry. The Etowah River runs through the forest. The forest is also the location of the Georgia Forestry Commission’s Dawson County Fire Control unit.

Paulding Forest


10,000 acres
City of Atlanta land tract
Paulding County
(706) 265-3707

Forest Manager, Georgia Forestry Commission
(706) 265-3707
4500 Hwy. 53 East
Dawsonville GA 30534
e-mail: tpage@gfc.state.ga.us

Wildlife Management Contact
(706) 295-6041
Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
2592 Floyd Springs Rd. NE
Armuchee, GA 30105

A cooperative project of: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Georgia Forestry Commission, and Georgia Department of Natural ResourcesWildlife Resources Division

The Paulding Forest is owned by the City of Atlanta and managed by the GFC. This Forest is managed to produce timber products, provide a wildlife habitat, and protect it from natural and human-caused damage. The Paulding Forest is not one large tract of land separated from other private land holdings. It is actually composed of several tracts within close proximity of each other. Each tract is surrounded by privately owned land. This arrangement of private and Paulding Forest lands across the landscape of Paulding County must be given special consideration when performing forest management practices, such as prescribed burning and timber harvests.

Forest Management

Forest management activities on the Paulding Forest include:

  • total timber harvests
  • selection harvests
  • tree planting
  • natural reforestation methods
  • prescribed burning

These activities are scheduled to simultaneously produce renewable wood products, increase the quality of habitat for several species of wildlife, and increase forest health and growth.

Funding for care and management of the Forest is provided by the owner, the City of Atlanta. All incomes received from the Forest are returned to the City.

Wildlife

Through a Cooperative Agreement between the GFC and Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Paulding Forest is designated as a portion of the Paulding Forest Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division maintains wildlife food plantings and regulates all fishing and hunting on the Paulding Forest WMA.

A wildlife check-in station and bulletin board has been established on the Forest by the Wildlife Resources Division. It is located 4 miles west of Dallas on the north side of Highway 278.

Recreation

Several types of outdoor recreation are allowed on the Forest, including:

  • hiking
  • bird-watching
  • primitive camping
  • outdoor photography
  • canoeing
  • fishing
  • hunting

There are no restroom or garbage collection facilities. Users should practice good conservation in all outdoor activities. Anything packed in should be packed out, trash included.

Fishing and hunting are regulated by the Georgia DNR as explained in the wildlife section.

Canoeing opportunities are on Goldmine Lake and the Twin Lakes. Portage is required from the end of the maintained roads.

Primitive camping is allowed anywhere on the Forest. However, vehicle access is limited to open roads. Camping is restricted to seven consecutive days or less.

Horseback riding, ATV (all-terrain vehicle) use, and motorized dirt-bike use are NOT allowed on the Forest.

Resources

Base Map – Paulding Forest

Georgia DNR Hunting Regulations
Hunting maps are available from the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division and from the Check-in Station during firearms deer hunts.

Area Maps (Paulding Forest is in Region 1)

Spirit Creek Forest


725 acres
State land tract
Richmond County
Milledgeville office: (478) 445-5164

Spirit Creek Forest is an actively managed forestland just 30 minutes from downtown Augusta, Georgia. It features 300 acres of wetlands, planted loblolly pine stands, and bottomland hardwoods. Spirit Creek Forest is a working forest. This means forest management methods are used to provide multiple benefits that include:

  • timber production
  • wildlife habitat
  • soil and water conservation
  • aesthetics
  • educational opportunities