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GLYNN COUNTY, GA-The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is negotiating to buy 12,000 acres of timberland in South Georgia for $5.2 million, or about $433 per acre (one cent per sf), and develop the land as wildlife management areas where the public can hike, hunt and fish, according to the state agency.

The Georgia chapter of the Nature Conservancy, based in Washington, DC, is donating $3.8 million for the acquisition, according to Steve Friedman, real estate director the state agency. The balance of the purchase funds is expected to come from federal grants and private donations.

Independent appraisers value the land in Glynn, Wayne, Jeff Davis and Coffee counties at $15 million or $1,250 per acre, based on what would have been near-future commercial development use, persons in a position to know tell GlobeSt.com. The land was formerly owned by International Paper and Georgia-Pacific.

The deal is being done at this time because the state lost out last year in a chance to acquire 304,000 prime acres of undeveloped land in 35 counties across Central Georgia, industrial brokers familiar with the transaction tell GlobeSt.com. Seattle-based Weyerhaeuser Co., which had owned the land, sold it quickly to private land investors. Among the tracts sold was the popular Oaky Woods Wildlife Management Area near Macon.

Three tracts are part of the 12,000-acre deal. They are the Clayhole Swamp in Glynn County and Penholoway Swamp in Wayne County, both home to protected animals; and Broxton Rocks in Jeff Davis and Coffee counties, according to the DNR. Broxton Rocks connects to state land across the Ocmulgee River in Telfair County. The DNR calls the area an important habitat for the eastern indigo snake, the largest snake in North America.

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