For seven miles along the Chattahoochee River in Coweta County, a ribbon of hardwood forest makes the most delightful part of the new Chattahoochee Bend State Park. In the old pine plantations behind, the next generation of diverse trees are starting to sprout.
Oak, and later on, some other trees, like maybe birch or hornbeam and some maples and native bamboo and sweetgum and I don’t know what all dominate the four-mile trail along the river. There are some privet thickets choking out the native plants/biodiversity in spots … but it’s not really that bad.
Saw and heard several woodpeckers. That’s pretty nice, ecology-wise, because woodpeckers need dead trees. Standing dead trees indicate that the forest, copse, woods, have been there a while mainly undisturbed. Also heard some kind of dove, I believe, that wasn’t a mourning dove.
Much of the park property used to be pine plantings for paper mills, the park ranger told me. Sure enough, visible from the road is plenty of acreage in ranks and rows of identical-size pine trees. These vistas and some of the campsites lack … visual delight for now.
But under the pine trees, little oaks and sweetgums are coming up. That’s the next step toward a diverse, deciduous forest.
The park opened in July & the state spent something like $8.3 million on the place.