Georgia Water/Laws/Heritage Trust Act of 1975

Georgia Heritage Trust Act of 1975,, O.C.G.A. §§ 12-3-70

General Description


The Georgia Heritage Trust Act of 1975 seeks to preserve certain property in Georgia with unique natural characteristics, special historical value, or particular recreational value.

Legislative Intent & Purpose


The Georgia Heritage Trust Act asserts that it is an urgent public need to preserve important and endangered elements of Georgia's heritage. In addition, the legislation declares that the custodian of all submerged cultural resources shall be the Department of Natural Resources, and defines policies for reporting finds of all such resources as well as permitting methods for recovery operations.

Function of the Act


The Act created the Heritage Trust Commission, composed of 15 members appointed by the Governor who represent a variety of interests and expertise. The Commission served as an advisory body to the Governor and to the Board of the Department of Natural Resources, making recommendations concerning the identification, designation, and acquisition of heritage areas. Although this Act is still in Georgia law, the Commission's term expired and the implementation and administration of many of the goals of the Act has been superseded by the Heritage 2000 Program.

Area of Applicability (definitions)


Heritage Area: Any area of land, marsh, or water that has been identified by the board as having significant historical, natural, or cultural value.

Submerged Cultural Resources: All prehistoric and historic sites, ruins, artifacts, treasure, treasure trove, and shipwrecks or vessels and their cargo or tackle which have remained on the bottom for more than 50 years, and similar sites and objects found in the Atlantic Ocean within the three-nautical-mile territorial limit of the state or within its navigable waters.