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The Church of Eleven22, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based church, has purchased 3,217 acres of Cabin Bluff property in Camden County.

The transition of the Cabin Bluff tract in Camden County to private property under permanent protection is another step closer.

The Church of Eleven22, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based church, has purchased 3,217 acres of Cabin Bluff property.

The tract purchased by the church will not be open to the public, and the sale makes the creation of a wildlife management area possible. Potential uses include wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, kayaking and nature photography, according to officials from The Nature Conservancy and Open Space Institute.

The Open Space Institute (OSI), a new conservation partner in Georgia, has helped to protect over 20,000 acres in coastal Georgia over the past three years. The two organizations are working with a unique collaborative, the Gopher Tortoise Conservation Initiative, to protect and steward lands essential for the rare gopher tortoise with the goal of preventing the federal listing of the species. Cabin Bluff contributes directly to the protection of the reptile.

The state and Navy co-hold a conservation and restrictive easement over the now privately owned portion of Cabin Bluff. The state is expected to take owner of the remaining land in 2021.

“Finding a conservation buyer for Cabin Bluff’s retreat tract was a critical element of our plan to permanently protect this magnificent property,” said Deron Davis, executive director for The Nature Conservancy in Georgia. “We were pleased to learn that The Church of Eleven22 has a long-held reverence for this land and that they embrace the opportunity to care for it.”

The 11,000-acre tract located east of Woodbine was purchased by the two organizations with help from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, Wyss Foundation and private donations.

The purchase also reduces security concerns from nearby Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay and creates a buffer from storm surge and flooding in surrounding areas.

“Cabin Bluff and neighboring Ceylon are significant natural areas in Georgia, and OSI is proud to be a partner in both,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute. “An incredible array of native species will continue to call the property and its waters home, and the public will have more access to the land than ever in its history. I thank TNC and, the state of Georgia, the Wyss Foundation and all our partners and supporters who made the permanent protection of this property a reality.”

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