The St. Simons Land Trust is proud to announce that it has acquired 3.059 acres of thickly forested, marsh-front property along one of the major entrances to the island – Kings Way. Because of the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Land Trust was able to begin conversations in early May with leadership of the Kings Point Property Owners Association, the 501(c)(3) that owned the parcel of heavily wooded, undeveloped land.
The tract has frontage on Kings Way and on Cuyler Lane, which is in the Kings Point subdivision. It also fronts valuable marsh across from the St. Simons Yacht Club and near the St. Simons Sound.
“Because this property is located at the gateway to the south-end of St. Simons, protecting it helps to protect the beautiful forested corridor along Kings Way,” said Susan Shipman, chair of the Land Trust’s Board of Directors and chair of the organization’s Stewardship Committee. “The tract consists of high-quality maritime forest, which is a very important and threatened ecological community not only here on St. Simons but across the South Atlantic coast. The forest, and the marsh upland interface, harbor species of concern such as painted buntings and diamondback terrapin.
“The mature trees provide good perching habitat for bald eagles and wood storks. And the fact that this tract will be preserved in its natural state in perpetuity will also help preserve the health and the lush adjacent saltmarsh.”
Most of the Land Trust’s recent acquisitions have been on the north-end of St. Simons and in the southern mid-island area long Frederica Road. “It has become increasingly difficult to afford and preserve property on the south-end of St. Simons,” said the Land Trust’s Executive Director, Emily Ellison. “And it’s even more difficult to find parcels near the Pier Village where the habitat and natural areas are still intact. We therefore feel extremely fortunate that a generous donor, who knew the environmental importance of this property, and who wanted to protect it from development, provided us with the means to acquire the land in fairly short order.”
Once the Kings Point POA received approval from its membership to sell the property to the Land Trust, the transaction took place quickly. Prior to closing on the property on August 25, the Land Trust’s and the Kings Point POA leadership signed a separate agreement, stipulating that the parcel would remain undisturbed and that it would be protected from future development in perpetuity. According to a recent appraisal, at least four single-family dwellings could have been built on the property. With a chance in zoning, high-density development could have taken place.
“The Kings Point neighborhood is excited to partner with the St. Simons Land Trust to protect this beautiful slice of our island located on Kings Way. The property is over three acres of maritime forest including many mature live oaks, palmettos and marsh grasses. Not only is it a gateway to our neighborhood, it is also the gateway to the entire island. Knowing that this property is now in the hands of the Land Trust gives us comfort that this pristine parcel will be enjoyed by all residents of and visitors to St. Simons and will be protected forever in its natural state.”
— George A. (Shad) Steadman, President, Kings Point Property Owners Association