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State of Georgia

  • Georgia's land area of 57,906 square miles makes it the largest state east of the Mississippi River (24th overall). The total area of the state's three largest counties-Ware, Burke, and Clinch (2,565 square miles)-is greater than the area of the entire state of Delaware (1,954 square miles).
  • Georgia falls within five major physiographic regions: the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northeast, the Ridge and Valley Providence and the Cumberland Plateau in the northwest, the Piedmont across Georgia's center, and the Coastal Plain in the south. Elevations range from sea level to 4,784 feet at Brasstown Bald in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge mountain area features the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,100 mile hiking trail ending in Maine. The mountain range's peaks were once higher than the Rockies, but some 100 million years of erosion has worn them down to about a quarter of their original height. Nonetheless, the mountains attract millions of visitors each year, particularly in the summer and fall.
  • The Piedmont area is home to the red clay soil of Georgia and its rolling hills and valleys. Southwest Georgia is known for its abundant farmland. The Coastal Plains feature the tidal swamps and lowlands of the coast and the northern reaches of the Okefenokee Swamp. Georgia's beaches are popular with vacationers.
  • The Piedmont and the Coastal Plains are separated by the Fall Line, an imaginary line marked by waterfalls and rapids, where rivers abruptly descend from the upland terrain to the lowland. This line also divides the diverse species of birds, trees, and plants found in Georgia.
  • The Fall Line's shoals and rapids hindered the progress of early traders and farmers traveling upriver, forcing them to switch to another method of travel. As a result, settlements developed at these points, and most grew into trading towns. Meanwhile, the falling water proved to be beneficial because it could be harnessed to power textile mills and other industry. Four of the state's principal cities-Columbus, Macon, Milledgeville, and Augusta-were established at the Fall Line where the Chattahoochee, Ocmulgee, Oconee, and Savannah rivers, respectively, drop to the Coastal Plain.
  • Over 60% of the state's land area is forested. The forests tend to modulate the flow of water, filter it, and decrease erosion and sedimentation.
  • All of Georgia's rivers are formed either within the state or along its boundaries; no river flows into Georgia from another state. The Altamaha, Savannah, and Chattahoochee have the highest average flow rates. Among other major rivers are the Flint, Oconee, Ocmulgee, Coosa, Ogeechee, and Satilla. Recently, there has been a growing concern regarding Georgia's water resources due to drought conditions and population growth.
  • Georgia has more than 70,000 acres of park land, on which the state operates 44 state parks, 5 public golf courses and 14 historic sites. State parks in Georgia receive more than 20 million visitors a year.

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