About Our Wilderness

[Photo] Sunlight shines through the tree canopy of the Cohutta Wilderness
Sunlight streams through the tree canopy of the Cohutta Wilderness.

Just as the existence of wilderness has helped shape the character of our nation, it has also shaped our state. Many people aren’t aware of Georgia’s vast wilderness, which includes 14 Wilderness Areas covering more than 486,000 acres. Georgia ranks 15th in the nation for the percentage of land dedicated to wilderness. And along with Florida, Georgia has - by far - the largest amount of wilderness of any state in the southeast.

The Forest Service oversees 10 of Georgia’s amazing Wilderness Areas which together make up 15% of the Chattahoochee National Forest. These places represent some of the most geologically and biologically unique places on our planet. They offer opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation -- including hiking, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, photography, and off-trail exploration. They give us time to reflect and find solitude and solace to offset the busy world around us. They provide clean water and air, habitat for animals, and healthy landscapes for rare and endangered species to thrive.

Wilderness benefits everyone, whether you visit a wilderness or simply appreciate the continued existence of areas where the Earth and its community of life are not controlled by humans.

The future of wilderness lies in the hands of the citizens that care about them.  Groups like the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards program of The Wilderness Society, the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, and Team Conasauga, among many others not mentioned, are helping us to put “boots on the ground” to help manage wilderness and engage the next generation in wilderness stewardship.

Wild and Scenic Rivers 

In 1968, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act established the National Wild and Scenic River System. In 1974, Congress designated the Chattooga River a wild and scenic river becuase of its outstanding scenery, recreation, wildlife, geologic, and cultural values. While not the same as wilderness, wild and scenic rivers are carefully managed to protect them.