Georgia natural resources leaders, including Senator Bill Heath, announced Wednesday the addition of more than 1,050 acres, known as the Howell Tract, to the Sheffield Wildlife Management Area in Paulding County. This newly unveiled tract promises to enhance Sheffield and the adjacently-located Paulding Forest WMA by increasing the available public land and the protection provided to an important ecological area.
In the attached video, Heath explains why the area is important to Paulding County.
“The Paulding and Sheffield WMAs have been identified as one of the Department’s six priority focus areas for habitat conservation in the State so we are excited about the addition of the Howell Tract to this important area,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Williams. “I especially want to thank the generous contributors that helped make this acquisition a reality.”
More than 12,200 acres, located on these properties, are now protected thanks to the partnership between Paulding County and DNR. Both Sheffield and Paulding WMAs are sought out by hunters, anglers, hikers and birdwatchers. Additionally, the Paulding Forest WMA contains a portion of the Silver Comet Trail making it a favorite of bike riders.
DNR will manage the new WMA for hunting in conjunction with the management of the natural habitat. The Howell Tract is heavily forested in a natural stand of timber, including globally rare montane longleaf pine, and a mature hardwood forest. These forests contribute to the high quality water found at Raccoon Creek, located on the property. This creek is one of the most important tributaries within the Etowah basin as it supports viable populations of the basin’s diverse fish. The entire Etowah River system is a high priority area in Georgia’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy.
The purchase of the Howell Tract was made possible by several agencies, including Wildlife Restoration Program funds from the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, a recovery grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Georgia Wetlands and Stream Trust Fund, National Wild Turkey Federation, the Dobbs Foundation, the Mountain Conservation Trust and state bond monies.
For more information on the Sheffield or Paulding WMAs, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/wildlife-management-areas