“Barefoot Forest Ranger” Arthur Woody made an extraordinary contribution to Fannin County and all of the north Georgia mountains when he fought to create and protect the vast resources of the Chattahoochee National Forest in the early 1900’s. Woody, a Fannin County native, helped replenish the dwindling population of whitetail deer in the forest and introduced new species of non-native trout in the streams. His work was the foundation for the richness of the Georgia mountain experience today.
The Chattahoochee National Forest covers 749,689 acres in north Georgia, managed by six ranger districts. Over 40 percent of the land in Fannin County is national forest land (106,000 acres). 40,006 acres are located in the Cohutta Ranger District and 66,097 in the Toccoa Ranger District. The forest began when the forest service purchased 31,000 acres in Fannin, Lumpkin and Union Counties from the Gennett family in 1911 for $7 per acre.
The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests have 37 developed recreation areas, 500 developed campsites, 200 picnic sites, 6 swim beaches and 530 miles of trails. There are more than 500 wildlife and fish species in the forest. Almost 100 percent of cold water stream fishing on public lands occurs within the Chattahoochee national forest. 90,000 fishermen generate over $43 million in revenue for Georgia from national forest land.* The forest receives more than 10 million visitors each year.