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Land near mountain river added to national forest

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 9, 2014 at 10:34 am •  Published: January 9, 2014

CLARKESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Land near a popular trout fishing river has been added to the Chattahoochee National Forest in the mountains of northeast Georgia.

Officials with the nonprofit Trust for Public Land say the addition of the 21 acres in Habersham County will give the public easier access to the Tray Mountain Wilderness Area and the Soque River.

The San Francisco-based Trust for Public Land said it worked with the U.S. Forest Service to purchase the property from Rabun County Bank following a foreclosure.

Protecting the Soque River property increases public access to thousands of acres of publicly owned national forest, Curt Soper, the trust's Georgia state director, said in a statement.

"This particular stretch of river is also home to a significant population of brook trout, Georgia's only native trout species," Soper said. "And the Soque River contributes to the quality of drinking water for millions of people downstream in Georgia, Alabama and Florida."

The Soque River, about 30 miles in length, is considered a vital headwater tributary to the Chattahoochee River, part of Atlanta's primary drinking water supply, the trust said in announcing the land purchase.

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