SPRING CREEK WETLANDS PRESERVE
Spring Creek Preserve is a 200-acre water quality and wildlife habitat improvement project built and maintained by Dalton Utilities. The wetlands preserve compensates for streams and wetlands that were altered or destroyed by construction of the Haig Mill Water Reservoir. The wetlands were constructed in abandoned farmland on the southern floodplain, and the existing bottomland hardwood swamp and upland forest are protected throughout the rest of the site. The preserve is located along Spring Creek, which originates about one mile upstream at Deep Springs and flows downstream to the Conasauga River. The preserve supports a secondary trout stream and is the breeding ground for several endangered fish species. Dalton Utilities owns both the upland forest and the bottomland (or wetlands). Many of the wildlife living in the upland forest feed on the life in the wetlands. The Spring Creek Wetlands Preserve was created under a Protective Covenant, which means the property will remain protected forever, regardless of future events or change of ownership.
Spring Creek Wetlands Preserve is open to the public at no charge. The wetlands preserve, located in northwest Whitfield County, is owned and maintained by Dalton Utilities as an environmental education area.
Spring Creek Wetlands Preserve is open on weekends from 9 AM until 6 PM for self-guided tours on Saturday and Sunday. It is open by appointment only on weekdays. Guided tours may be arranged by calling Dalton Utilities’ Marketing Department at 706-278-1313 or by email.
A trail system runs through the wetlands on both the east and west sides of Spring Creek. Visitors are encouraged to observe the plants and wildlife with convenient trail markers (that look like large rocks). Arrows etched into rocks point walkers in the direction of the trail (T) or the parking area (P), should they become disoriented. Other rocks have numbers etched into them that correspond to information in the Spring Creek Guide to Interpretive Trail Markers.
What is a wetland?
Wetlands, such as those found at Spring Creek, function as important water storage areas during floods and droughts, act as water purification systems, and serve as valuable breeding grounds and homes for wildlife, especially amphibians (frogs, toads and salamanders).
A wetland is an area where water shallowly covers the land or saturates the soil for at least several weeks of the year during the growing season. Wetlands dominated by trees are called swamps. Most of the Spring Creek floodplain is in a swamp dominated by oaks, red maple, and green ash and is partly underwater in late winter or after heavy rains. A wetland dominated by herbaceous plants is called a marsh. The constructed wetlands are now marsh but they will eventually become a forested swamp over the years.