Rural Preservation visits the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys

Rural Preservation students observe the Nacoochee Valley from Old Nacoochee Road

On Saturday, October 7, members of Professor Cari Goetcheus’s Rural Preservation class took a field trip to the Sautee and Nachoochee Valleys near Helen, GA.  The intent of the field trip was to expose the class to a place with a long rural history where the community appreciates this “ruralness” and has taken action to protect it.  The Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys have felt pressure from development that threatens the rural landscape.  In the 1980s, an early rural preservation plan was written for the area.  By visiting the site nearly thirty years later, the class was able to see the successes, failures, and current challenges towards implementing this preservation plan.  This field trip also gave students the opportunity to enhance their skills of observation and practice documenting a rural landscape.  

The class began their visit at the Old Sautee Store which sits at the crossroads of the two valleys.  From there the class drove down Old Nacoochee Road where they stopped at various points to discuss viewsheds, growth along creeks, and the essence of rural.  The class also had an opportunity to speak with a long time resident of the valley and the current White County Game Warden to hear their perspectives on rural preservation in the Valley.  The next stop of the trip was the Stovall Covered Bridge where the class discussed early transit in the valley and maintenance to this resource which currently is covered in modern graffiti.  Other stops of the trip included the Stovall House and the Sautee Nacoochee Center.  The last stop of the day was a tour of Hardman Farm, a Georgia State Historic Site that has wonly recently become open to the public.

Hardman Farm State Historic Site

MHP Student Savannah Young discusses the infamous gazebo with a tour guide at Hardman Farm

The group discusses the outbuildings and surrounding landscape at Hardman Farm