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Exurbanites are invading Macon County, and the rest of Appalachia for that matter. Don’t be alarmed, they’re generally docile, but the ramifications of their settlement could mark, and to an extent already have marked, a permanent change in the region’s social, natural and ecology landscape.

The exurbanites — a name coined by former Playboy editor A.C. Spectorsky and used as a title for his book — are a group of people who choose not to settle in the city but rather in the country.

Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, an experimental research station for the U.S. Forest Service outside Franklin, celebrated its 75th anniversary this month.

The 5,500-acre forested basin in southern Macon County has been fertile ground for research into how forests behave — and more specifically how the creeks within a watershed respond under different conditions.

“Cutting-edge research at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory has led to the development and adoption of ‘best management practices’ that promote cleaner and more abundant water supplies for people in southern Appalachia and beyond,” said Jim Reaves, director of the Forest Service Southern Research Station.

Since its establishment in 1934, Coweeta scientists have examined different aspects of forest ecology and conducted several, landmark studies that have changed the way forests are managed.

From the best way to protect streams from erosion when building roads to projecting the fallout from climate change, much of what we know today about stream flow generation on steep forest lands has resulted from the work of Coweeta scientists.

This Must Be the Place

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