Fronting the Altamaha River in Appling County in southeastern Georgia, Moody Forest Natural Area protects 4,426 acres of diverse natural communities, including the only known example of an old-growth longleaf pine-blackjack oak forest. As many as 350 acres of the site are home to 200 to 300-year-old longleaf and slash pines, and trees older than 600 years grow in the cypress-tupelo sloughs.
Two trails provide access to visitors. The 2-mile Altamaha River Trail passes by bald cypress, swamp dogwood, and basket oak. The 3-mile Tavia's Trail, named in honor of the Georgia program's first director, Tavia McCuean, descends from the pine-wiregrass uplands down to the floodplain. A number of rare and imperiled species inhabit the area, including red-cockaded woodpeckers, gopher tortoises, and Eastern indigo snakes. Visitors might also spot white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, yellow-bellied sliders and Mississippi kites.
Forming the first public-private land management partnership in Georgia, the Conservancy paired with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2001 to create the preserve. Georgia rangers patrol the site, and volunteers have helped with a number of preservation activities like trail creation, facility construction, and tree planting. The Conservancy also works with the Georgia DNR to maintain a regular regimen of prescribed fire.
To learn more about Moody Forest Natural Area, click here to download a factsheet.
The preserve is open to the public and contains two interpretive walking trails. For more information, contact preserve manager at (912) 366-9549.
1. Drive approximately seven miles north of Baxley on US-1/GA-15.
2. Turn right onto Lennox Road (at the BP Station).
3. Proceed down Lennox Road and turn left onto Spring Branch Road.
4. Continue on Spring Branch Road to a T-intersection with East River Road.
5. Turn right onto East River Road and drive for approximately one mile.
6. The Upland Loop Trailhead is on the left, just before the intersection with Jake Moody Road.
7. The Moody Forest Natural Area office is approximately one mile down East River Road.