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From extreme south-central Pennsylvania the Blue Ridge Mountains run to the south and west, including land that ranges from high peaks (such as the Shenandoahs) to rolling hills like those throughout much of the southwest portion of Virginia. In North Carolina the geologically complex mountain range once again reaches lofty heights, with some individual mountain peaks over 6,000 feet, highest in the eastern United States.
In southern North Carolina this high eastern ridge turns west, and continues to Springer Mountain, in southern Fannin County, Georgia. While the Blue Ridge range does continue to the west it is at this point that both the Benton MacKaye
and Appalachian Trail
begin their northward trek along the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. The Benton MacKaye follows the western ridge of the Appalachians while the Appalachian Trail follows the eastern ridge.
The Blue Ridge Range comprises the majority of the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachians are a loose-knit series of mountain ranges that extend from Maine to Alabama and include portions of New Hampsire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticutt, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. These mountains formed the greatest barrier to the westward movement of European and American settlers until the 19th century.
West of the Blue Ridge range is a second series of mountains that runs from West Central North Carolina to Fannin County, Georgia. In Georgia, this range is known as the Cohuttas; further north they are called the Smoky Mountains. The Cohuttas and the Smokies are part of the Blue Ridge province, yet they are actually geologically distinct from the Blue Ridge Mountain Range and quite a bit older.
In Fannin County, Georgia, the Gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Cohuttas rise in the west and the Blue Ridge to the south and east. The Cherokee consided the Cohuttas to be the "poles of the shed," holding up the sky in this, their "Enchanted Land." Many Cherokee would farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains, leaving them during the winter and staying at the Cherokee village of Aska, or "winter home."
These mountains also held wealth for the early settlers. Although agriculture was the major industry in the area, lumber and mining in both the Cohuttas and Blue Ridge Mountains contributed significant income to the north Georgia settlers. Once the lumber had been harvested the federal government bought the mountain land and created the Chattahoochee National Forest.
During the 1930's the Civilian Conservation Corps worked to improve the environmental conditions of the mountains, reforesting areas all across Fannin County. There were two camps listed in Fannin County, Georgia, Camp Sea Creek and Camp Wilscot. Other camps outside Fannin County, specifically Camp Woody in Suches, did significant amounts of work within our county.
Today, more than 100,000 acres of land in Fannin County is managed by the United States Forest Service. The Fannin County Chamber of Commerce and local businesses work closely with the Forest Service in many aspects of the management of the land within our county.
Fannin County, Georgia is known as the Gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains. People from Atlanta, Chattanooga and the entire Southeastern United States think of Fannin County, Georgia as the place to start their Blue Ridge Mountain vacation because of the multitude of outdoor recreational opportunites, the wide array of available lodging, excellent restaurants and easy access to the mountains thanks to the Georgia Mountain Parkway