Covering about 750,000 acres of land in North Georgia, the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River are found at this nature preserve. The forest was created piecemeal, beginning in 1911, from bits and pieces of often environmentally degraded and abused land, and was officially established in 1936. About 15% of the Chattahoochee is wilderness. The national forest supports an estimated 500 species of fish and wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, and wild turkeys.
In 1959, 96,000 acres of land in middle Georgia were added, and the combined forests are called the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests and total more than 865,000 acres. The forest offers a wide range of recreational opportunities such as camping, hiking, and fishing (from native trout to largemouth bass and bream).