The previous owner of the Bush Head Shoals property, J. Rex Fuqua, opposes plans to turn the riverside land into a park for all-terrain vehicle riding.
Fuqua wrote a letter to state officials and Gov. Nathan Deal calling the idea “environmentally irresponsible and embarrassing.”
David Barker, who lives next to the Bush Head Shoals property, shared the letter at Tuesday’s public meeting on the park plans.
In the letter, Fuqua, an investment tycoon, said that he sold the property to The Nature Conservancy for less than half its appraised value. The Nature Conservancy then transferred it to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for a future state park.
“My motivation in accepting the seven-figure reduction in price was to insure that this property would remain in its pristine, undeveloped state,” he wrote. “It is one of the most beautiful tracts of land that I have ever seen, and I was happy to make a significant contribution toward its protection in order for future generations to enjoy it.”
Fuqua said he’d only learned of the plans recently.
“I cannot imagine a use more inconsistent with my intent in selling this property to The Nature Conservancy,” he wrote. “I am extremely perplexed and confused as to how this plan by the DNR has evolved.”
Also writing in opposition was the Holland Ware Charitable Foundation. The foundation owns thousands of acres to the southeast and north of the Bush Head Shoals property, according to the letter.
“We are firmly against this proposal,” trustees of the foundation write. “The proposed park is not conducive to conservation of any kind… The destruction of the land and the natural resources is extremely irresponsible.”