Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Public Can Have a Say on Old Fort Expansion; Plan Would Add 173 Acres to Frederica National Monument

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Public Can Have a Say on Old Fort Expansion; Plan Would Add 173 Acres to Frederica National Monument

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

ST. SIMONS ISLAND | There are about 10 days left for the public to let the National Park Service know their opinions on a proposal to expand Fort Frederica National Monument by 173 acres.

Park Service officials held a public meeting on the subject Thursday night at Fort Frederica to take comments from the 35 or so people who attended. Anyone else with an opinion can make it by mail or on the Park Service's planning website.

In the opinion of Ben Slade, the president of the St. Simons Land Trust, the expansion is a good idea. After all, the Land Trust has been holding onto about 20 acres on the park's northern border and wants it to become part of Fort Frederica.

Asked how long the Land Trust would hold onto the land, Slade said, "As long as we have to.'' The Land Trust's preference is for the Park Service to buy it so that the nonprofit conservation organization could move on to other projects.

The Land Trust has a very favorable interest rate on the loan it used to secure the land, but, Slade said, "We'd rather have those monies to go into other acquisitions."

Most of the expansion would be to the south of Fort Frederica's boundaries where the Frederica River takes a sharp turn to the east. That's where a cannon battery stood on a point to protect the 18th century fortified English town of Frederica from invaders.

Protection is needed now against development. The historic park consists mainly of foundations, a powder magazine and a small standing portion of tabby barracks. When the Land Trust acquired the 20 acres, it essentially snatched it from developers who planned a 35-house subdivision there. The view of woods would have been replaced with one with houses, Slade said.

"It would have been slap up against an 18th century site. [Preserving] it,'' Slade said of the current forested buffer, "maintains that sense of isolation out there. …

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