The Blue Heron Nature Preserve is adding 4 acres in an expansion that may allow it eventually to tie into a wide-spread network of trails connecting city parks.
“We are very excited,” said Nancy Jones, executive director of the nonprofit preserve.
The new property on Land O’Lakes Drive is contiguous to Sarah Smith Elementary School. Its location means it could allow construction of walkways that would connect the preserve to other trails in the area, Jones said.
“There’s just huge potential to open up all our green space around Buckhead,” Jones said.
Eventually, the preserve’s trail can tie into the PATH400 trail and Atlanta’s Belt Line and connect to paths at Chastain Park, Jones said. A trail to Chastain could run along Peachtree Creek, she said.
“Our vision is to expand Blue Heron well beyond our own boundaries by connecting our trails to existing ones all around us,” Jones said. She said connecting to the Sarah Smith school property “links everybody to our property.”
North Buckhead Civic Association president Gordon Certain praised the notion of developing a way to walk to Chastain Park.
“I am excited about having an alternative to driving to the park,” Certain said in an email. “Sometimes, with events in the park, walking is faster than driving. Plus, the walk along West Wieuca Road can be a challenge without a map to tell you which side of the road the sidewalks are.”
Jones said officials from the nature preserve are considering how best to use the new property. Representatives of the preserve have met with small neighborhood groups to discuss its use, she said, and they plan to schedule larger community meetings in the future.
The property, which contains several buildings, could be used for variety of things, she said, ranging from an urban farm to an education center.
The nature preserve announced the purchase Aug. 27. The city of Atlanta bought the property for about $600,000, Jones said, as part of a program to develop a 2-mile-long trail along urban streams to be called the “Blueway.”
With the new acquisition, the Blue Heron preserve grows to 30 acres. The property is a city of Atlanta park operated by the nonprofit Blue Heron Nature Preserve.
“This is a big step in fulfilling our mission of protecting and connecting green space, and encouraging people of all ages to experience nature,” Jones said.
According to the preserve’s website, the new parcel contains the headwaters of Mill Creek, a creek whose name was recently discovered on an old survey map along with a grist mill that once stood on Lakemoore Drive.