Moody Forest
Moody Forest in Georgia Moody Forest © Rich Reid

Places We Protect

Moody Forest Preserve


A unique partnership protects a treasured Georgia landscape.

Moody Forest Natural Area is named for the Moody family, which arrived in Appling County in the mid-1800s and spent much of the next century on the land, living amongst the longleaf pine trees and alongside the Altamaha River.  

Visit the preserve to hike its trails, though, and its name takes on a whole different meaning, one that perfectly encapsulates the ethereal beauty of the 4,426-acre wilderness. Old-growth longleaf and slash pines rise to guard the misty waters of the Altamaha River as it carves through cypress and tupelo swamps. Sunshine filters through dogwoods and basket oaks, tossing light and shadows onto fallen leaves. The sounds of nature are constant: the low call of wild turkeys, the echo of red-cockaded woodpeckers at work and the wind in the high canopy of longleaf pines.

Learn more about this special place from our Moody Forest Factsheet.

A Legacy of Protection

The Moody family knew that the land they owned was special, and through the generations, they made the best choices they could to retain the natural beauty of the forest. In 2000, the property passed to 32 descendants of the original Moody settlers, and they decided to auction the land. The Nature Conservancy outbid a number of timber industry representatives and entered into a groundbreaking public/private land-management partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to create and manage the preserve.

While the Conservancy plans and implements conservation strategies, DNR rangers patrol the site and volunteers help with trail creation, facility construction and tree planting. The Conservancy and the DNR also cooperate to maintain a regular regimen of prescribed fire on the property. In just a decade, those efforts have greatly improved the quality of forest habitat, restored native plant and animal communities and increased the overall diversity of life found on the preserve.

Animals At Risk

Plants at Risk

  • Pitcher plants

Ecosystems at Risk

  • Longleaf pine-blackjack oak woodland
  • Cypress-tupelo sloughs
  • Bottomland hardwood forests
  • Hardwood bluff forest

If You Go

The preserve has been opened to the public, providing the opportunity for thousands of visitors to explore one of Georgia’s most unique and beautiful landscapes.

Two interpretive trails (download trail maps) curl through the preserve, offering more than five miles of year-round hiking—and the chance to spot rare and imperiled species like gopher tortoises and Eastern indigo snakes.

Trail is wheelchair accessible for large tire outdoor type wheelchairs (gravel surface).

Guided tours are offered for educational groups and seasonal hunting is allowed in accordance with state game regulations.

Visitors today—much like the Moodys of yesteryear—will find themselves enchanted by the atmospheric beauty of this forest and all it shelters.