By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bombing range buffer worries Long officials
State gets 6,900 acres for Townsend WA
Placeholder Image
The state recently acquired land in Long County for increased wildlife conservation and to provide a buffer around the Townsend Bombing Range.
According to a Sept. 29 news release from Gov. Sonny Perdue, Georgia recently bought 6,911 acres in Long County as part of the Townsend Wildlife Management Area. The property is in the lower Altamaha River floodplain and, according to the release, is one of the most valuable ecological corridors in the state.
The parcel, which runs along a 10-mile stretch adjacent to the Altamaha River, will serve as an environmental buffer around the bombing range.
State officials have said the buffer is necessary, but many Long County representatives and residents think the land acquisition is the first of many that will hurt the county. A proposed expansion of the bombing range’s training area has drawn a surge of opposition from government entities and citizens.
Long County Tax Assessor Beverly Johnson said the estimated annual revenue the county will lose as a result of the 6,911-acre purchase will be around $42,950.
That estimate concerns County Commissioner Wallace Shaw. “It’s just another take-away for Long County,” he said. “I don’t know what the state and the federal governments are doing, but if they keep taking land, they’re going to put us out of business.”
Commission Chairman Bobby Walker is worried taxpayers will suffer if the expansion goes through. “The current acreage that has already been lost cost you, as the taxpayers, over $300,000 per year. And all we get is timber tax from Fort Stewart for the 24,000 acres that were taken from Long County. Now the federal government is proposing to take in excess of another 30,000 acres for the expansion of the TBR,” he said.
Currently, there are five possible proposals for expanding the range. Depending on the proposal, the additional acreage in question varies from 11,948 acres to as high as 51,580 acres in Long and McIntosh counties.
Recently, the Long County Board of Education, the chamber of commerce and the county commission addressed the expansion during their respective meetings. The three entities oppose the project because of the negative financial impact officials believe it will have on the county.
“If they are going to continue taking land from us, we should get some manner of reasonable compensation,” Shaw said.
Walker encouraged area residents to make their feelings about the expansion know. “Citizens of Long County, please get out and voice your opinion. Contact your congressman and senator, who, I feel, are two of the best at their jobs that we could possible hope for,” he said.
According to information provided by Marine Corps Air Station-Public Affairs Officer Chad McMeen, the Townsend Bombing Range expansion is necessary to meet modern training requirements and to insure the safety of the community.
McMeen said a study is being conducted to identify and evaluate the project’s potential negative effects on the environment and the community. After the results are released next fall, the PAO officer said, there will be a series of public meetings and community members will be invited to offer feedback.

Sign up for our e-newsletters