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County honored for preservation of Sawnee Mountain
Judges laud project as example for others
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Forsyth County News
Forsyth County won a top prize for the preservation of Sawnee Mountain during the fourth annual County Excellence Awards.

The honors are sponsored by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and Georgia Trend magazine.

Jerry Griffin, the association’s executive director, said the awards highlight “outstanding projects that focused on maximizing cost savings and other efficiencies, which are essential for the challenging times that we face.”

The Sawnee Mountain Preserve includes 963 acres with three miles of hiking trails, a visitor center, amphitheater, tree house and canopy walk.
Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Kinsey said it was “an honor to receive the award.”

“We feel like the preserve is one of the nicest facilities in the county,” he said.

County leaders plan to spend $1.8 million from green space bonds and $1.7 million in 1-cent sales tax funds to expand the preserve.

Expansions could include more parking, trails, restrooms and a pavilion. Money will also go to restore other structures on the property.

“It’s good to win this award,” Kinsey said. “We certainly appreciate it.”

Other award recipients were nearby Dawson and Gwinnett counties, as well as Bulloch, Heard, Lamar, Liberty and Webster counties.

Winners were selected by an independent panel of judges who reviewed projects they believed other counties throughout Georgia could learn from.

The Sawnee Mountain visitor center, which opened a year ago, includes a library and electronic resources about the mountain, its plants and animal inhabitants.

E-mail Frank Reddy at