Geneva Forest gets addition

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 10, 2014

In an effort to preserve some land adjacent to the Geneva State Forest, Rayonier sold 3,600 acres to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, officials announced Wednesday morning.

Officials said the tract is a significant ecological resource and wildlife habitat corridor, home to species such as the red cockaded woodpecker, indigo snake and gopher tortoise.

“We’re proud to partner with the state of Alabama to preserve this land,” said Chris Corr, senior vice president of real estate for Rayonier. “Public-private partnerships like these are vital to enabling us to conserve irreplaceable natural resources while responsibly serving our shareholders.”

The Geneva State Forest Wildlife Management Area Addition is located in Covington County, and spans 3,629 acres.

The area also functions as a corridor for migratory birds, including waterfowl.

According to a release, Rayonier has kept the Geneva State Forest Wildlife Management Area Addition in forest production and safeguarded its wildlife for decades.

Officials say the company continuously assesses the value of its land holdings and works with partners to place the properties in their highest and best use.

Some of these holdings are of such high conservation value that they merit perpetual conservation.

“Thanks to the state of Alabama this unique property will be preserved for generations to come,” said Jeff Ledbetter, Rayonier’s Alabama Resource Unit Leader. “Through a creative and innovative approach, we structured an economically viable transaction that will not only keep the land ecologically healthy but also open to the public to enjoy.”

In addition to its natural resource attributes, the tract is an important link in the Department of Defense—Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability’s flyway and training corridor between Eglin Air Force Base, Ft. Rucker and Ft. Benning, Ga.