Lowndes County to purchase land for Troupville Nature Park and River Camp @ LCC 2022-12-13

Update 2022-12-12: Videos: Dollar General rezoning legally must be tabled, Troupville land purchase is for a park @ LCC 2022-12-12.

Lowndes County tomorrow will take a big step and buy 77.14 acres down to the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, adjoining the 49.36 acres including Troupville Boat Ramp already owned south of GA 133 by Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA).

The idea is to combine the two tracts into a 126.5-acre Troupville Nature Park, the dream of landowner Helen Tapp, with trails, signage, and an educational pavilion. It will include a Troupville River Camp on the Withlacoochee just upstream from the Confluence. The project still needs ongoing maintenance funds, but this purchase clears a big hurdle after four years of preparation.

That’s 5:30 PM, Tuesday, December 13, 2023, at 327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor, Valdosta, Georgia, 31601.

[Agenda item, map]
Agenda item, map

The price of $121,500 is dirt cheap at $1,575 per acre, because it’s all flood plain, and there was also some discount from the tax-appraised value of $127,347 because of the conservation easement.

Many thanks to landowner Helen Tapp for organizing the conservation easement and for being willing to sell at such a price. This purchase ensures the land won’t turn into a shooting range or some other inappropriate facility. (There already is a shooting range slightly upstream on the Little River.)

[Banner with Helen, 2018-10-13]
Banner with Helen, 2018-10-13

Here’s a quick tour of the area: https://wwals.net/?p=60011.

[Little River Confluence, 09:35:37, 30.8472453, -83.3474851]
Little River Confluence, 09:35:37, 30.8472453, -83.3474851

This has been about four years coming. Talking to Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter Friday, he indicated that next he wants to see funds secured for park maintenance. He mentioned that when I suggested it was time to start revising the grant application for submission to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP).

Seems to me that raising ongoing funds for this project is the job of One Valdosta-Lowndes, which back in November 2021 told the Lowndes County Commission that Troupville River Camp was first of its “BIG things”.

OVL BIG Things

I’m also going by what Valdosta Mayor Scott James has been telling me for many months. Speaking of which, this project has letters of support from Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center and Tourism Authority, Valdosta Mayor and Council, Lowndes County Commiission, Madison and Hamilton Countie, Florida, the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), two VSU professors, a local architect, and an engineering firm.

It features in the VLPRA revised Master Plan.


Here’s the agenda item from the Lowndes County Commission board packet, obtained by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE) through an open records request.

[BUDGET IMPACT: $121,500.00]
BUDGET IMPACT: $121,500.00


SUBJECT: Purchase of Between the Rivers, L.L.C. Property

Work Session/Regular: Session

DATE OF MEETING: December 13, 2022
BUDGET IMPACT: $121,500.00
() Annual
(x) Capital
() N/A

COUNTY ACTION REQUESTED ON: Purchase of Property from Between the Rivers, L.L.C.

HISTORY, FACTS AND ISSUES: The County has the opportunity to purchase the property currently owned by Between the Rivers, L.L.C. located at the confluence of the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers as depicted on the attached qPublic aerial photograph. The subject property is 71.47 acres per the completed survey. The Parks and Recreation Authority owns the property between the subject property and Highway 133.

The proposed purchase price is $121,500.00. This is the amount of a September 2022 appraisal for the County by Bajalia & Associates. The appraisal considers a Deed of Conservation Easement from Between the Rivers, L.L.C. to Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, Inc.

OPTIONS: 1. Approve the purchase of the depicted property for $121,500.00.
2. Redirect


DEPARTMENT HEAD: Rachel Thrasher

DEPARTMENT: Community Development


[Map: by Lowndes County Tax Assessors]
Map: of Lowndes County parcel 0057 003 by Lowndes County Tax Assessors

Here is an overview of what WWALS proposed back in 2019, in the GOSP grant application: Troupville River Camp, center of Little and Withlacoochee River Water Trail 2019-10-31. That application did not succeed because no cash match was available at that time. Now Lowndes County has funds to purchase the land, which can count towards cash match (if a new applcation is within 18 months of the purchase). Valdosta has similar funds: they both got the money from COVID relief. More cash match is needed: around another $30,000 depending on total project cost. One would hope Valdosta or Lowndes County could produce that much more, after the county is already meeting most of the cash match.

So the big missing piece is how to fund the park ongoing. Previous discussions have included charging a fee of maybe $5 for entrance from GA 133 (St. Augustine Road). Or maybe charging for camping at the River Camp. Florida now effectively does that for its five Suwannee River Camps, by charging for reserving online. But neither of those, alone or combined, seemed to be enough. With enough volunteer help, maybe maintenance costs could go down.

This is what the site looks like in the current WWALS map:

[Land Between the Rivers at Troupville in WWALS WLRWT map]
Land Between the Rivers at Troupville in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

We’re now looking to the local and regional powers that be to come up with the rest of the funding for the eventual park and river camp.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!