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Pine Mountain Ridges

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About the Pine Mountain Ridges

The Pine Mountain Ridges are a small region of ridges located in western Georgia, towards the southwestern end of the Piedmont.

This region consists of long, mostly straight ridges, open hills, and some irregular plains. The ridges here are steep and narrow, rising 300-400 feet above the typical Piedmont terrain to reach elevations of 1,300 feet. There are also steep gorges where the Flint river cuts through this region. The ridges here are capped with erosion-resistant quartzite. This region mostly has red clay soils, like much of the surrounding Piedmont, although soils here tend to be a bit rockier and are thinner; bedrock outcroppings are common at ridgetops, and the higher-gradient streams here tend to have more rocky or gravelly bottoms than streams in the surrounding regions.

This region was presumably mostly originally covered with oak-hickory-pine forest. There was a small amount of montane longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) along the ridges.

Currently this region is a mix of wild forest with some pine plantations and pastureland in the valleys. Montane longleaf pine has mostly been eliminated by a combination of logging and fire suppression, and there has been little effort to protect or restore this species here. There are some small towns here, including Hamilton, and Manchester, but for the most part this region is sparsely populated. The namesake Pine Valley is actually located outside this region. There is a small amount of protected public land here, located within F.D. Roosevelt State Park.

This region is entirely surrounded by the Southern Outer Piedmont; the borders of this region are somewhat gradual, but in places are clearly marked by where the stream drainage pattern and dissection of the terrain shifts from steeper drainage away from the tall ridges, to the more typical diffuse drainage pattern of the rest of the Piedmont.

References

1. Griffith, G.E., Omernik, J.M., Comstock, J.A., Lawrence, S., Martin, G., Goddard, A., Hulcher, V.J., and Foster, T. "Ecoregions of Alabama and Georgia (color poster with map, descriptive text, summary tables, and photographs)", U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA (2001) Web.