USFS Looks to Sell Land in Stephens Co.

The U.S. Forest Service is looking to sell land in Stephens County.

On Tuesday, the Stephens County Commission unanimously approved support letters for the potential sale of U.S. Forest Service tracts in Stephens County.

There are three tracts in all that the Forest Service would like to sell, according to county officials. One of the tracts is 204 acres and is located just north of the Franklin County line between State Routes 106 and 184. The other two tracts are near each other, total about 24.5 acres, and are located north of Toccoa near Cedar Creek and Mason Branch.

Thomas Farmer of the Nature Conservancy said that these three tracts are difficult to manage for the Forest Service and are detached from the main part of the national forest.

“At least one organization has visited these tracts to make sure they do not have any conservation value,” said Farmer.

He also said that the Forest Service believes that these tracts are better suited for private or local government ownership, rather than Forest Service ownership.

The Forest Service must still get Congressional approval for the sale before any tracts can be put up on the market.

Once that happens, Farmer said that the properties would go up for sale and the money from the sale would go back to the state of Georgia to purchase other land for Forest Service ownership.

The money does not have to be used to buy land in Stephens County, but must be used in the state of Georgia.

There is no timeline for Congressional approval on the matter.