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Georgia's Hidden Wonder: The Broxton Rocks

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posted on May, 22 2010 @ 01:47 AM
Hello to my fellow tree hugging, dirt worshiping nature friendly friends of ATS.

I'm joking.. conservation doesn't have to be just for the liberals.

Just a little about me before I get started:

I grew up in the area pretty close to where I live now in Southeast Georgia. There is no place like home.. so they say.. and I am so happy to be back here. I work with Georgia's Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. I am passionate about the land here, and I just wanted to share with you one of nature's hidden treasures right here in my backyard.

The Broxton Rocks:

Sculpted over centuries by the waters of Rocky Creek into a myriad of fissures and shallow ravines, Broxton Rocks is a haven of unique habitats for plants rarely found in the southern United States. There are more than 500 species of plants native here. The preserve protects a rugged sandstone outcrop that extends for approximately four miles in southeastern Georgia. The rock system is the largest single extrusion of the Altamaha Grit, a band of subsurface sandstone that underlies about 15,000 square miles of Georgia's Coastal Plain.


A rock outcropping in south Georgia's sandy, coastal plain is unusual enough. Add a few plants that don't normally grow in the area — some native to the tropics, others to the Appalachian Mountains — and you have a natural wonder.

That's the Broxton Rocks, an alluring, mysterious and somewhat dangerous place, where the nation's most venomous snake slithers amid mosses, ferns and colorful flowers, and large poison ivy leaves glisten in sunbeams streaming through the trees..

..Botanists have come from all over the United States to study the rocks' 530 plant species, some of them threatened or endangered, and geologists marvel at the fractured sandstone rocks along a secluded four-mile stretch of Rocky Creek, a tributary of the Ocmulgee River, about 170 miles southeast of Atlanta.

It also is a home for about 100 bird species, plus a host of mammals and reptiles..

..The rocks are part of a 15,000-square-mile band of subsurface sandstone known as the Altamaha Grit. They were pushed up by shifts in the Earth's tectonic plates eons ago. During wet periods, the creek gushes over the rock ledges to form roaring waterfalls, a rarity in south Georgia. When it's dry, the flow slows to a gentle trickle.

Douglas naturalist Frankie Snow recognized the ecological importance of the rocks in the 1980s, when it was a popular swimming hole and picnic spot littered with cans and beer bottles. He persuaded the Nature Conservancy to purchase a core area in 1992 and began cleaning it up.

The Conservancy added another 756 acres in 2002, bringing its total to 1,528 acres.

That land, plus another 2,271 acres owned by Coffee County and the Georgia Forestry Commission, make up the 3,799-acre Broxton Rocks Preserve..


I grew up in this area, and I've spent countless hours at the rocks in thanks for the beauty that I have the opportunity to visit at any time that I please. Sure, there are plenty of places in the world with beauty, but I am forever humbled by the fact that I live so close to such a rare, natural beauty that is the Broxton Rocks.

Here are a few pictures.. (You can find some more online, and I will be down there next week cleaning up some trails and will take some pictures of my own to add.)


Little Falls:

Piedmont Azalea:


Georgia Plume:

Marshallia Ramosa:

Spiranthes Tuberosa:

Phemeranthus Mengesii:


And my best friend: the Gopher Tortoise:

And finally, a short presentation at a meeting of Friends of Towns Bluff Park, a group of fine people that I am proud to call my friends and fellow committee members, by a young lady from the local 4-H club:

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 02:41 AM
beautiful! natures designs are awe inspiring. lovely pictures

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 02:43 AM
I just noticed that the pictures were more centered while the text wasn't. Can anyone tell me how I can fix that in the future? This was my first real thread, other than posting some breaking news, and I was very frustrated that I couldn't make it look better.


posted on May, 22 2010 @ 07:07 AM
Thanks for sharing this with us. Some very interesting plant pictures too. Piedmont azalea looks very similar to the ones we have here in virginia, which incidentally just finished blooming.
When I think of south eastern georgia I think of swamps and barrier islands, not botanicals that would be found in the applachians. Congrats on your line of work, it is very important and I commend you for it.
The nature conservancy is the probably the best environmental organization going today, I have no qualms about sending them financial support. My wife's ex was the NC lands manager here in VA and has told me about many of the rare things protected by their land purchases.
good stuff!

posted on May, 22 2010 @ 08:40 AM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Yes, the Piedmont Azalea is one of few that we have at the Rocks that are a rare find here, and are native to the Appalachians. I am not a botanist, so I can't tell you each one, but there are at least 7 or 8 that are more in a more natural area up your way. It is also home to several plants that are native to the tropics.. brought up river on lumber runs.

Where I work on the Bullard Creek WMA, we have several invasive exotics, the most pesky being the Cogongrass of Asia, brought originally into Alabama in shipping crates, but later planted to help stop erosion and feed cattle.. however the cattle would not eat it. It is not only a problem to other exotics and some wildlife, it is also a huge fuel for forest fires.

Thank you for your kind words and donations to the NC, I am rather partial to them as a member.

Wow, talk about derailing my own thread..

Sorry about that.

Broxton Rocks is also home to the indigo snake, one of my favorites by the way, and the NC is doing a great job in making sure they have a safe and natural environment to grow in.

Is Michael Lipford your wife's ex? or was it a prior director?

Meh, anyway, thanks for your reply and kind words.

posted on May, 23 2010 @ 10:40 AM
reply to post by broahes

Thanks for the reply Broahes. Larry Smith is the land manager for the state natural heritage division. He USED to work for the NatCon...

My mistake.
Both the Xyris and the Marshallia are really neat plants, never seen anything like them before.
Do your tortoises burrow? and have their co-habitator species as well ( rattlers, gophers, toads, etc)?
Where in GA is this located?
If I should go visit my friends down in Orlando I'll make it a point to spend an afternoon there exploring.

posted on May, 23 2010 @ 12:05 PM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Yes, our Tortoises burrow. There aren't too many rattlers in the area, not as many as you would find in the opposite side of the county where it is more sandy.. but there are some. The eastern diamondback is all over this area for the most part, and we have found a few in abandoned burrows. LOTS of toads.

There is a map on the right hand side of this page that you can zoom out on to see the location much better that I could explain to ya.

The area is closed off to the public except for tours. I could set you up with a private tour, just let me know in advance. You would be amazed at how many people that have lived in this area their whole lives and don't even know it's there.
Anyway, the folks around here are friendly and the beauty here can't be described with pictures.

Glad you took interest. Take care.

posted on May, 24 2010 @ 08:19 PM
reply to post by broahes

Thanks so much, I hope to be able to take you up on your kind offer. I leave little track behind so you'll be glad you brought me along

More nature threads!

Ah - I had a great nature walk today in my local swamp. I was watching a pair of wood ducks when a female black duck with 3 young comes wandering by. About a minute later a raccoon shows up on the beaver dam where the black ducks were and swims after them. They all disappeared into the arrowheads so I don't know what followed but it was sure cool to see.

[edit on 24-5-2010 by Asktheanimals]

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 01:47 PM
I have lived all over GA (Atlanta, Athens, etc. All of the happening places in this state.

But you know what? None of those cities come close to comparing to my beautiful little slice of Earth here in rural Middle GA.

I can walk into the woods right now and be blown away by the natural beauty of this great place.

I really appreciate your post and bringing a piece of our paradise to those here on ATS that aren't aware of our unique and magnificent flora/fauna!

[edit on 25-5-2010 by susp3kt]

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 02:06 PM
reply to post by susp3kt

Not far from me..

Glad you enjoyed the thread. I am shocked at the amount of people that were born and raised in the same county as this area and didn't even know this gem was there.

Anytime you are in or around Coffee County, let me know ahead of time and I will be glad to take you down there. The land is no longer freely open to the public due to misuse of the land. The few pictures posted here don't do it justice.

Glad you enjoyed, and I agree.. we live in a BEAUTIFUL state.. filled with gem areas.


posted on May, 25 2010 @ 03:26 PM
reply to post by broahes

Coffee County eh? Not too far from here at all. I was born and raised here in Wilkinson County, and most likely will die here, as I don't plan on leaving again.

City life is entertaining, but I guess I'm getting older and love the slow-paced lifestyle of rural living nowadays. People still have morals and standards around here.

Maybe I will take you up on the offer to visit soon. An even better idea would be a Georgia-resident ATS hiking trip. Not necessarily on your land, I don't know how you would feel about inviting ATS-folk that you do not know to your place.

Maybe to a National Park here in GA? You live pretty close to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge!

Much love.

[edit on 25-5-2010 by susp3kt]

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 04:06 PM
reply to post by susp3kt

I would like that a lot. And this isn't my land.. I hope I didn't come across as implying that. I actually live a county over in Jeff Davis. Most of the area is owned by the Nature Conservancy, and about 800 acres belongs to Coffee County.

I think an ATS hike would be a great thing to do for local members. I suggest somewhere like the Warm Springs area SW of Atlanta. The FDR Park is great and I know some land we could camp on that is backed up to the park with no charge.

Good idea.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 04:10 PM
Nature really does sooth the soul doesn't it, beautiful pictures. I would love to hike that territory unfortunately I live quite far away from there. Nevertheless it looks beautiful and calming.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 04:39 PM

Originally posted by broahes

A rock outcropping in south Georgia's sandy, coastal plain is unusual enough. Add a few plants that don't normally grow in the area — some native to the tropics, others to the Appalachian Mountains — and you have a natural wonder.

Does this micro-region have a unique USDA hardiness zone rating compared to the macro-region?

Back in Michigan there was an area outside of the Detroit metro area that was I think 2 zones warmer than the surrounding areas where there's lots of greenhouses and even aquaculture.

EDIT: Ah, there it is:

[edit on 25-5-2010 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss]

posted on May, 26 2010 @ 02:37 AM
I keep trying to find a better map, but it's late and I'm tired.. this is the best I could do:

Region Zone Map

The area in question is in the little dip between zone 8a and 8b, so I guess the answer to your question would be yes. I will try to find a map of the micro-region, but tonight I am tired. Thanks for the question and interest.

[edit on 26-5-2010 by broahes]

posted on May, 26 2010 @ 03:12 AM
very nice, I am from GA and never knew about this.

I like that brunette Holly in the video better, wow oh wow

posted on May, 27 2010 @ 01:08 AM
reply to post by xstealth

Umm, you realize she is 16 right?

You should have a visit sometime. The Altamaha is a wonderful exploration as well.

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