Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge to Receive Corporate Land Grant
|Wednesday, August 27, 2003||
Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774
DuPont Donates 16,000 Acres to The Conservation Fund
Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today joined officials from DuPont, The Conservation Fund, U.S. Department of the Interior, and International Paper to announce Dupont's corporate land grant of almost 16,000 acres of company-owned land in and adjacent to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. The land will be donated to The Conservation Fund, which will transfer 5,000 acres to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
"The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a state and national treasure of wetlands, forest, and wildlife. I am pleased to join Dupont, The Conservation Fund, International Paper, and the U.S. Department of the Interior to announce this corporate land grant that will further protect and preserve the Okefenokee," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "Our joint efforts through this public-private partnership will help preserve the Okefenokee for future generations to come while maintaining the vital economic benefit to the local community. Partnerships like the one we are announcing today are vitally important to protect our natural treasures and create greenspace areas throughout the state."
The donation of 15,985 acres is the largest land donation in the history of the DuPont Land Legacy Program, which since 1994 has placed nearly 18,000 other acres of company land into permanently protected status. The largest prior donation, also to The Conservation Fund, was in 1997 and totaled 7,700 acres near Brevard, North Carolina, at the site of what is now North Carolina's DuPont State Forest.
"We believe that our donation of DuPont land in and near Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a concrete example of 'walking the talk' with regard to our company's commitment to sustainable growth and social responsibility," said DuPont Chairman and CEO Charles O. Holliday, Jr. "The refuge is an ecological treasure. Through the good work of our partner, The Conservation Fund, we are confident that the land we are donating will be properly and permanently protected."
International Paper has a long-term lease for the timber and recreational rights of the property. International Paper worked with DuPont and The Conservation Fund to find a solution that would balance economic goals and environmental principles. International Paper will continue to operate a working forest, under sustainable policies, on appropriate portions of the donated property. International Paper, U.S. Department of the Interior, the State of Georgia, and the local community will be the long-term stewards of the property. This will allow the economic benefit of the timber (jobs and tax revenue) to continue to support the local community and the state.
The Conservation Fund acts to protect the nation's legacy of land and water resources through partnerships with other organizations, public agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals. Since its founding in 1985, The Conservation Fund has helped to protect wildlife habitat, greenways, community greenspace, and historic sites totaling more than 3.5 million acres throughout the nation.
"The Okefenokee Swamp, its world-class wetlands and magnificent forestland, is a natural wonder to be treasured by all Americans," said Larry Selzer, president of The Conservation Fund. "With this extraordinary gift, DuPont once again demonstrates its unparalleled commitment to corporate responsibility, sustainable growth and the balance of economic and environmental objectives."
Established in 1936, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge encompasses approximately 396,000 acres. The donated property is located on the eastern side of the Okefenokee in southeastern Georgia near the city of Folkston.