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The Preserve
The Preserve
The Preserve
The Preserve


In 1991, a group of Pickens County residents organized in an attempt to convince Georgia Pacific not to exercise their timber rights on the steep southwestern slopes of Burnt Mountain. Their successes empowered them to form a nonprofit land conservation association named the Oglethorpe Wilderness Land Trust (OWLT).

In 1998, the OWLT changed its name to the Mountain Conservation Trust of Georgia (MCTGA). That same year, with MCTGA as the applicant and Pickens County as the sponsor, $750,000 in Transportation Enhancement (TE) funds from within the Georgia Department of Transportation was awarded for the purchase of 756 acres of the Burnt Mountain acreage.

During this same time frame, some adjacent land (now known as Monument Falls) was sold to an out-of-state developer. Fearing the worst, Pickens County agreed to provide a match of the TE funds to assist MCTGA with purchase of the remaining lands on Burnt Mountain.

By 2000, Phase I of land procurement was completed with the transfer of 396 acres into Pickens County ownership. In 2001, an additional $750,000 was awarded to complete the purchase of the remaining 360 acres of Phase II. In addition to the now protected 756 acres of Phase I and Phase II lands, 327 adjoining acres have been placed under conservation easement to create what is known as the Burnt Mountain Preserve.