Georgia hunters rejoice: You’ve now got nearly 11,000 additional acres to enjoy and you’ve got the Army and The Nature Conservancy to thank for it.

Sound like strange bedfellows? Well, not so much.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources opened the gates to the Chattahoochee Fall Line Wildlife Management Area near Fort Benning last month.

Located near Columbus, the 10,800-acre property was acquired from willing buyers by The Nature Conservancy and assistance from the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program.

In May, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources bought 8,800 acres of that land from the Nature Conservancy (who retained 2,000 acres) and created the Chattahoochee Fall Line WMA which will be managed jointly by the Georgia DNR and the Nature Conservancy.

The land surrounds Fort Benning, an active U.S. Army facility, and will serve as a demonstration site for longleaf pine restoration efforts in addition to providing hunting and recreational access.

The Army Compatible Use Buffer Program requires lands near the facility to meet compatability requirements with the post’s national security mission.

“The Department of Defense is funding the acquisition of land outside the boundaries of Fort Benning and by buying this land outside of the post, it ensures that the land is not developed in ways that are not compatible with the Army’s mission,” Kevin Kramer, Georgia DNR region supervisor for Chattahoochee Fall Line Wildlife Management Area.

And there’s more good news coming: More public hunting opportunities are expected to be available soon near Fort Perry.