About

The Oconee River Land Trust (ORLT) was created in 1993 to protect land along the North and Middle Oconee Rivers, which flow through ORLT's home in Athens, GA. Our focus has expanded to the conservation of land and waterways throughout Georgia and beyond. We now protect over 42,000 acres of land in 49 Georgia counties and one county in South Carolina.  

We work with private landowners to protect natural forests, wetlands, swamps, and working farms and forests through conservation easements. Conservation easements are permanent, voluntary agreements that permanently restrict certain uses to protect the land's conservation values.

Permanently conserved land provides a number of public benefits, such as:

  • Preservation of wildlife habitat

  • Supporting communities' health and well-being through recreation

  • Contributing to clean water and air

  • Providing scenic view

  • Ensuring access to farm and forest products.

Learn more about Conservation Easements

History

Oconee River Land Trust (ORLT), a land conservation nonprofit, was founded in 1993, with an initial focus on conserving land along the two rivers that flow through Athens, GA (the North and Middle Oconee Rivers) in order to help the protect the rivers’ water quality and to aid the fledgling local greenway effort. Over the next few years, ORLT’s focus expanded to protecting land and waterways throughout Georgia and even into South Carolina, including natural forests, wetlands, swamps, and working farms and forests.  ORLT now protects 42,275 acres of conservation land through 204 CEs in 49 Georgia counties and one South Carolina county.

 

Permanently conserved land provides a number of public benefits, including the preservation of wildlife habitat, supporting communities' health and well-being through recreation, contributing to clean water and air, providing scenic views, and ensuring access to farms and forest products.

 

ORLT uses a number of approaches to protect land. Our primary tool is to work with private landowners who donate a conservation easement (a permanent, voluntary agreement).  We have also accepted donations of important conservation land, and worked with local governments to acquire land with grants.