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Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club Schedules Outing at Cartersville Ranch, LLC

MEDIA ADVISORY

Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club Schedules Outing at Cartersville Ranch, LLC

Members and Supporters to Hike Dobbins Mountain and Learn About Controversial U.S. 411 Connector

WHO: The Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club, an organization that empowers Georgians to preserve, protect and enjoy our environment, is celebrating Earth Day this year by going back to its John Muir (founder of the Sierra Club) roots. The organization is hosting a hike on Dobbins Mountain, as part of a larger series, so members and supporters can learn about the sensitive habitat and threatened species that will be impacted by the U.S. 411 Connector.

WHAT: Attendees will hike and learn about the Georgia Department of Transportation’s proposed route (Route D-VE) for the environmentally damaging highway, which is planned to cut through Dobbins Mountain. The mountain is located on the beautiful 1800-acre Cartersville Ranch, LLC and is home to a 100-acre conservation easement and historic mine. As currently designed, the mountain, easement and mine will be destroyed by the road and two local watersheds – that are home to the threatened and federally protected Cherokee darter – will be negatively impacted.

WHEN: Saturday, April 9, 2011 – 9 am to 12 pm.

COST: To support the Georgia Chapter’s work to protect these environmentally sensitive and vital habitats a suggested donation of $100 is requested per participant, per trip. Attendees are encouraged to be as generous as possible, as it will help support the organization’s conservation work across the state.

WHERE: Cartersville Ranch, LLC

2051 US Highway 411 NE

Cartersville, Ga. 30121

(See map for additional details)

VISUALS: Chapter members and supporters will hike the scenic property on and around Dobbins Mountain. Attendees will see abundant wildlife and plant life on the ranch property and mountain. Sections of the proposed right-of-way and centerline will be flagged so visitors can see (up close) Route D-VE.

SIGN-UP: To sign-up for the outing/hike, visit the Sierra Club website and/or contact Outing Leader Lee Thomas at lat1028@yahoo.com.

Dobbins Mountain - future location of GDOT's proposed U.S. 411 Connector

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GDOT Studying Up to Three Modified Routes for the US 411 Connector

Excessive Cost, Environmental Concerns and Pending Lawsuit Cited As Reasons for Study

(Cartersville, Ga. – March 3, 2010) – The Coalition for the Right Road, an organization of Georgia citizens committed to making sure the US 411 Connector is built less expensively, safer and with minimal environmental impact, announced today the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is studying up to three modified routes for the connector. The proposed route, Route D-VE, has been reported to cost taxpayers nearly $280 million – making it $182 million more than the 2.5 mile shorter, less environmentally intrusive design, Route G.

According to a recent media report, one of the modified routes would link the connector to SR 20 and another would connect the road to US 411/SR 61. Both modified routes would provide motorists prompt access to I-75 and remain far quicker than existing routes SR 20 and US 41 through Cartersville.

If a modified route was selected, federal agencies have indicated the road would not lose its funding. Additionally, GDOT would only be required to complete the environmental studies for the modified section, thus eliminating any notion the project will have to start completely over.

“This is a very positive development for residents of Bartow and Floyd counties, said Richard Chalifoux, member of Coalition for the Right Road. “It means that GDOT is serious about potentially saving taxpayers millions of dollars, preserving several environmental and historic resources and getting motorists to I-75 faster. We appreciate the state listening to our concerns about Route D-VE and hope they select one of the modified routes.”

GDOT’s proposed route, which faces several, lengthy legal hurdles, would destroy Dobbins Mountain, a historic mine and a 100-acre conservation easement. Additionally, the required blasting of Dobbins Mountain will introduce acidic drainage into nearby stream and tributaries, which will needlessly harm the threatened and federally-protected Cherokee darter and other sensitive species.

Mary Martin, member of Coalition for the Right Road, stated, “It’s important to understand, the coalition is not against the road; just the current route (which mirrors the route that was previously stopped by a federal judge). We realize motorists need this road, but not one that unnecessarily burdens taxpayers and causes irreparable damage to the environment. The coalition applauds GDOT and Board Member David Doss for trying to find a compromise of sorts to help alleviate concerns about the road’s excessive cost and further project delays.”

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About the Coalition for the Right Road

Coalition for the Right Road (CORR) is an organization of Georgia citizens committed to making sure the US 411 Connector is built with minimal environmental impact and at the lowest cost to taxpayers. CORR is opposed to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s current plans for the 411 Connector – Route D-VE – because of its high cost, inefficient interchange and environmental destruction. The coalition is committed to raising awareness of shorter, cheaper and less destructive routes, and is open to anyone who shares these concerns. For more information, visit www.coalitionfortherightroad.org or find us on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

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Georgia Land Trust, Inc. to Monitor and Protect City of Euharlee’s Conservation Easement on Dobbins Mountain

We obtained a full copy of the release about the agreement between the City of Euharlee and the Georgia Land Trust, Inc. to manage the conservation easement. Read more about the announcement below.

Georgia Land Trust, Inc. to Monitor and Protect City of Euharlee’s Conservation Easement on Dobbins Mountain

Conservation Leader to Monitor and Steward 100-Acre Significant Wildlife Refuge in Bartow County

(Euharlee, Ga. – March 1, 2011) – The Georgia Land Trust, Inc. (GLT), a non-profit 501(c)(3) conservation organization headquartered in Savannah, Ga., announced today that it has signed an agreement with the City of Euharlee to assist in the monitoring and stewardship of a 100-acre conservation easement on Dobbins Mountain. Last year, the city designated the easement in Bartow County as a significant and permanent wildlife refuge.

According to the agreement, the GLT, which protects more than 110,000 acres of land in Georgia with conservation easements, will utilize its staff to further the goals of protecting the refuge property. The group will conduct regular site visits (with city officials) and will update the baseline ecological condition report as needed. Additionally, the GLT will make annual presentations to the city on the status of the refuge and will provide instruction for Euharlee employees or representatives on implementation of the wildlife habitat management plan.

“We are excited about helping to protect this beautiful and environmentally pristine land on Dobbins Mountain,” said Katherine Eddins, executive director of the Georgia Land Trust, Inc. “The wildlife refuge is positioned in one of the largest contiguous tracks of hardwood forest remaining in the Pettit Creek watershed. The watershed directly impacts the City of Euharlee and flows into the Etowah River. Our involvement helps protect these vital resources for future generations.”

The primary purpose of the refuge is to preserve wildlife and wildlife habitat in perpetuity. The refuge will protect downstream water quality and headwater tributaries that support the threatened and federally protected Cherokee dater. Additionally, it preserves 100 contiguous acres of hardwood forest from encroaching development and is of sufficient size to serve as a wildlife corridor and habitat for sensitive species.

Eddins added, “The Euharlee wildlife refuge advances Bartow County’s policy of avoiding development in environmentally sensitive areas, preserving natural resources and allocating at least 20 percent of land to green space.”

The conservation easement is a legal agreement between the property owner and the easement holder (the City of Euharlee) to limit development on the property. The parcel is located between SR 20 and US 411 in Cartersville and was created as a conservation easement by Cartersville Ranch, LLC.

About Georgia Land Trust, Inc.

Georgia Land Trust, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) conservation organization headquartered in Savannah, Ga. dedicated to protecting land for present and future generations, primarily by helping private landowners establish conservation easements on family and investment lands. Georgia Land Trust protects more than 110,000 acres in Georgia. Georgia Land Trust, Inc. and its affiliate organizations, including Alabama Land Trust, Inc. and founding organization The Chattowah Open Land Trust, Inc., permanently safeguard more than 172,000 acres of land with more than 480 conservation easements, thereby protecting more private land than any other regional conservation group in the southeast. Learn more at www.galandtrust.org.

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