After 46 years of public access the Pine Log Wildlife Management area is being closed to the public on June 1st.
In April the Bartow County Commissioner approved a new overlay district that rezoned the land owned by the Aubrey Corporation, which contains the Pine Log Wildlife Management Area. Part of that land was leased annually to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources so that the public could access it. However, following this approval the Aubrey Corporation chose to let the current lease expire, which it did on May 15th.
The public has still had restrictive access since that lease ended, however starting tomorrow all access to the Pine Log Wildlife Management area will be cut off from the public.
During meetings where the rezoning case was heard it was stated that negotiations with the state to purchase some of the land was ongoing, and according to an article published by the Atlanta Constitution Journal are still ongoing. However, there has been no deal struck between the Aubrey Corporation and the DNR.
During those public hearings representatives of the applicant stated there were four options laid out for the state to purchase land ranging in size with the smallest option being around 10,000 acres. At the time of those meetings appraisals on the fair market value of the land were still being undertaken.
The concept plans that have been presented by the Aubrey Corporation show everything from mining operations to residential housing being developed on more than 19,000 acres of land. However, this is not something residents of the county would see immediately. It appeared that this is a long stretching plan that could even extend to the year 2050 before it is fully developed. There is still a lot left to be decided with what will happen to this large chunk of the county.
While the future of the land may not be certain, and contingent on any deals brought forward by the state DNR one thing is beyond a doubt. Starting June 1st after 46 years the Pine Log Wildlife Management area will be cut off from public access.