This is a replica of the old McIntosh House on the McIntosh Reserve. (AJC file photo/Bill Robinson)

Combining history and nature in a Carroll County park

I am as big a fan of historic preservation as I am a strong supporter of nature conservation. When I can combine the two interests during an outdoor outing, I am a happy camper.

Such was the case last weekend when several fellow hikers and I, all members of the Over the Hill Hiking Group based at Oak Grove United Methodist Church in Decatur, went on a 5.5-mile trek in the McIntosh Reserve near Whitesburg in Carroll County.

The 527-acre Reserve, a splendid park owned and managed by Carroll County, is packed with fascinating history and rugged, natural beauty. Our walk took us along a scenic stretch of the Chattahoochee River, through a rolling hardwood forest, along the edges of peaceful wetlands and across a huge open field.

Making the hike even more enjoyable was our keen awareness of the historic events that had taken place there and had major impacts on the future of Georgia. Park Manager Daryl Johnson had given us a riveting talk about those events before we set out on our trek.

The Reserve, Johnson noted, is named for Chief William McIntosh, Jr., a prominent Creek Indian leader and planter who owned most of what is now the Reserve, which he called “Acorn Bluff.” On the land, McIntosh built a two-story log house, which also served as an inn.

It was the house in which he was assassinated in 1825 by his own people for signing the second Treaty of Indian Springs, which ceded all of the Creeks’ extensive native lands in Georgia and Alabama to the U.S. government.

The government allowed McIntosh to keep his plantation as a gift for signing the treaty. His fellow Creeks, though, loathed him for giving up their lands, and the Creek National Council ordered his assassination and that of other signatories to the treaty.

A decade later, the government forced the Creeks, along with the Cherokee and other Southeastern tribes, to move to Oklahoma.

BIRD COUNT: Next weekend, Feb. 16-19, is the Great Backyard Bird Count. Check it out at

IN THE SKY: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: The moon will be new on Thursday. Jupiter and Mars rise out of the east just after midnight. Saturn is low in the east a few hours before dawn; it will appear near the moon on Sunday night.