Land Trust Closes on Second Phase of Musgrove Property
The St. Simons Land Trust has closed on the second phase of its acquisition of a portion of Musgrove, the former home of Nancy Reynolds Bagley and of her son, Smith Bagley, on St. Simons Island.
Under a three-phase agreement with the seller, the Brenn Foundation, this acquisition is the second of three parcels that will total 260 acres of the 450-acre property. The first phase totaled 58 acres, and the second phase adds another 90 acres.
The Campaign to Preserve Musgrove is looking to raise the final $2.8 million toward its $11 million goal. That will enable the Land Trust to pay the total $10.65 million purchase price and pay for improvements to open the property to the public. The Brenn Foundation will return approximately $1.5 million to the Land Trust to fund a stewardship endowment to support the property's perpetual care.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) committed to acquire and hold a perpetual conservation easement on the property, permanently preserving Musgrove from development. Funding for the easement was obtained by DNR's Nongame Conservation Section through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Coastal Wetland Grant program, in recognition of Musgrove's ecologically important maritime forest and other habitats. The easement dedicates the property for both wildlife habitat and recreational activities.
The Land Trust expects to close on Phase 3 by the end of 2017.
"We are in an exciting time for the Land Trust. This parcel of Musgrove is a big addition to the protected lands on St. Simons Island. We are especially grateful to Nicole Bagley of the Brenn Foundation and Jason Lee of DNR for their tireless work to make this happen. A transaction of this nature is very complicated and takes a major effort by all parties," said Land Trust Executive Director David Pope.
Although the Land Trust is bound by contract not to open the park until all three parcels have been acquired, planning work has begun on improvements such as nature trails, a fishing platform, and a launch for small boats.
"The park will be open every day, and we expect it to be a wonderful addition to the community," said Board Chairman Frances McCrary. "And I'm happy to report that once we have acquired all 260 acres, the Land Trust will have protected 1,036 acres on the island."
"My wife, Brenda, and I are thrilled to be able to play even a small role in protecting and preserving the natural beauty of St. Simons Island for future generations through a donation to the Land Trust Musgrove campaign," said Jack Kilgore, a member of the Land Trust Board.
Donors wishing to help are invited to support the Land Trust at www.sslt.org. Memberships and gifts may be mailed to P.O. Box 24615, St. Simons Island, GA 31522. For further information, please call (912) 638-9109.