by Frank McIntosh
When you own “the prettiest little mountain farm you ever saw,” and your work—raising pure-bred Salers Cattle—is the passion of your life, you start to think about how to protect a place. Joe Colmore’s Walker County, Ga. tract is one of the largest unbroken tracts in an area of increasing fragmentation of property. Located on top of Lookout Mountain, the land is “just full of hemlocks” and, according to Colmore, is the perfect spot for a home site and to raise his 85 “momma cows”. Colmore has owned the property since 1967, when he and his brother got “a hankering to own some land.” After running a summer camp until 1983, Colmore turned to cattle breeding full time. The calves he raises are sold to other cattle businesses for breeding purposes.
While his place is usually a portrait of tranquility, the mothers were weaning calves at the time of this interview. Colmore says it gets a little hectic during weaning but that “everyone will calm down in a week or so.” Like many donors, Colmore didn’t just leap into his conservation easement. He spoke with the Land Trust a while back and said he would call some day. Colmore enjoys sitting on his porch in the night looking out at a view of the pristine woodlands of the nearby Lula Lake Land Trust and Cloudland Canyon State Park properties.
Taking in the miles of darkness untouched by electric lights, he realized it was time to “join this thing” and placed 115 acres of his property, including sensitive areas along Bear Creek, into a conservation easement held by the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust.