In 1763, the King of England granted William Hopeton 2,000 unspoiled acres situated along the southern bank of the Altamaha River in what is now Glynn County, Georgia. For more than two centuries, the property was held by private owners, a succession of wealthy landowners and businessmen (and, briefly, some idealistic Shakers) who modified the land to suit their needs and tastes – rice fields, sugar mills, canals, homes, hunting cabins, swimming pools, formal gardens, carriage roads, and even an airstrip. Former owner William du Pont (yes, of those du Ponts) constructed tracks for training his thoroughbreds. He died on the grounds of his beloved winter estate, known as Altama, in 1928. When his family sold the property in the 1930s to Cator Woolford, the founder of Equifax, Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate Company handled the transaction – $100,000 in cash, about $1.5 million in today’s market. The sale was the result of a concerted effort by founder George Blanchard to extend his company’s reach all the way to coastal Georgia and South Carolina. Blanchard and Calhoun also was a selling agent for neighboring St. Catherine’s Island in the early 1940s; current president Tom Blanchard III keeps the elaborate sales “scrapbook” his grandfather produced, which details the island’s many features, in his office. These days, the tide has turned; ecologically significant coastal properties are more frequently targeted for preservation instead of promoted for sale. St. Catherine’s Island is owned by a foundation committed to sustaining the island’s natural environment and promoting research, education, and conservation programs. And du Pont’s beloved Altama? The biologically diverse property now belongs to all of us, the citizens of the great state of Georgia, and is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Where wealthy capitalists once kicked up their heels, gopher tortoises, red cockaded woodpeckers, and eastern indigo snakes prosper among the wiregrass, tidal wetlands, and towering longleaf pines.