521 Arnold Road is a small parcel on the south-end of the island at the corner of Arnold and Demere roads. The previous owners had initially bought the property with the intention of building a home on it, but they could not bring themselves to cut down a beautiful 200-year-old live oak at the center of the lot. In June 2014, the Land Trust acquired the property at significantly less than market value due to the sellers’ wish to see the land remain undeveloped. The great oak that saved the corner from development was often referred to as the “hiring tree” during the middle of the 20th century because of the day laborers who often stood in its shade as they waited to be hired for hourly employment.
In January 2015, the Land Trust acquired a one-acre parcel on the corner of Frederica Road and General Oglethorpe Road. Thanks to unrestricted membership gifts to the Land Trust and the nearby homeowners’ associations of Sea Palms West, Sea Palms East, and Marsh Point, the Land Trust was able to maintain this scenic property, its tree canopy, and save it from potentially being developed into three or four home sites.
In 2005, the Land Trust purchased an abandoned former gas station adjacent to the intersection where the heavily trafficked Frederica Road/Demere Road roundabout is now located. The project was a major undertaking that required the removal of underground gas tanks and tons of hard surfaces. More than $800,000 were quickly raised from the community and generated 900 new members to the Land Trust. The Sea Island Company designed the landscaped greenspace where the commercial site once sat, creating a beautiful, green contrast to an otherwise developed area.
Protecting 1.78 acres on Frederica Road that could have been developed into many home sites, the Land Trust purchased the Stollaway Property for half its market value. Wooded wetlands and a great many trees were saved in the process, providing an important buffer to neighboring residents and preserving the character of Frederica Road. Learn more about Stollaway’s history HERE.
The St. Simons Land Trust accepted a conservation easement on 80 acres of land south of the Cloister Reserve on Sea Island. The Land Trust has partnered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Greenlaw to monitor the property and ensure that it remains undeveloped in perpetuity. The protected area is a habitat for rare and threatened species, a part of the dynamic dune system, is adjacent to salt marsh that is protected by the state, and is surrounded by the ocean, a tidal creek and Gould’s Inlet, while also providing a scenic view from Gould’s Inlet on St. Simons Island. These are all important factors that led the Land Trust to accept the conservation easement in 2015.
Not far from the Historic Harrington Schoolhouse, between North and South Harrington Roads, are a total four acres of greenspace – two acres on both the west and east sides of Frederica Road. The acreage on the west side was donated by the Sea Island Company in 2002, when it challenged the Land Trust to acquire the two acres on the east side of the road. This beautifully landscaped little “preserve” contains walking paths and seating. And it’s a peaceful place to catch one’s breath before reaching the roundabout at Frederica and Lawrence Road and heading north to the Land Trust’s larger properties and preserves.
The Wildlife Drive property is located adjacent to the entrance to the Land Trust’s John Gilbert Nature Trail along Frederica Road. The Land Trust acquired these two acres with 500 linear feet of frontage of heavily wooded property in 2008. The parcel was purchased for $685,000 using funds from neighboring property owners, the Land Trust Board of Directors, and membership income, plus funds from the partial sale of another property needed for public improvements. This acquisition met the highest priorities of the Land Trust’s Greenprint, protection of scenic character and tree canopy along major roads serving the island. It also gives the Land Trust the option to expand or enhance the John Gilbert Natural Trail.
Preserving hammocks in perpetuity is important to the scenic character of the island and helps to ensure the quality of its ecosystems in the future. In addition, hammocks (or small, wooded elevated areas that are surrounded by wetlands and marsh) provide habitat for many types of maritime wildlife. Realtor and lifelong St. Simons resident Frank DeLoach donated 2.37 acres of hammocks on the north-end of the island from the marsh-front development, Stillwater, that is on the western side of Lawrence Road.
The Land Trust completed this fee simple acquisition in 2020 in a partnership with the Kings Point Property Owners Association, Inc. The tract had a conceptual plan for 4 residential homes within the Kings Point Subdivision. Thanks to a generous donor, and in collaboration with the Kings Point POA, the Land Trust was able to acquire and protect this important tract which contains nearly 3 acres of maritime forest and marsh upland habitats that help maintain an important marsh buffer and wildlife corridor. The tract will remain a preserved greenspace with no public access. Its primary conservation purpose is to provide protected habitat and enhance its environmental values, of those of one of the major gateways to the island, by leaving the parcel in its natural state. Read purchase announcement HERE.