Broxton Rocks Preserve
By SHERRI SMITH BROWN
Protected by the Nature Conservancy, Broxton Rocks Preserve is a haven of unique habitats for plants rarely found in the Southern United States. More than 500 species of plants native to this part of Georgia live among the fissures and shallow ravines carved over centuries by the flowing waters of Rocky Creek.
The preserve protects a rugged sandstone outcrop ecosystem that extends for approximately four miles in southeastern Georgia. The rock system is the largest single extrusion of the Altamaha Grit, a band of subsurface sandstone that underlies about 15,000 square miles of Georgia's Coastal Plain.
Broxton Rocks Preserve also protects: the rare grit portulaca, a Cuban species new to North America; the silky creeping morning glory, which is endangered in Georgia; the state-threatened Georgia plume; the delicate filmy fern, which normally grows in the southern Appalachians; the rare shoestring fern, which is usually found in the tropics; and the green-fly orchid, which normally grows on trees, is found on the rock walls.
As far as wildlife goes, Broxton Rocks is home to turkey vultures, eastern woodrats, great horned owls, screech owls, flying squirrels, the threatened indigo snake, and the state-threatened gopher tortoise.
The 1,650-acre Broxton Rocks Preserve is part of the larger 13,466-acre Broxton Rocks Conservation Area, which is protected and managed by the collective efforts of local landowners, Coffee County, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and other partners. Visits to Broxton Rocks must be coordinated with the Nature Conservancy and the City of Douglas.
Located within Georgia's sandy, coastal plains, the Broxton Rocks Preserve offers plants native to the tropics and the Appalachian Mountains.