Rio Piedra Plantation: A Georgia Hunting Lodge Steeped in Tradition
Rio Piedra Plantation is located about 25 miles south of Albany, Georgia in what is known as the South Georgia Plantation Belt. The Plantation Belt is an area of about 400,000 acres that stretches from Albany to Tallahassee and contains a number of private Georgia hunting plantations that work together to create an environment where bobwhite quail not only survive, but thrive.
The rich history of the Plantation Belt as we know it today is a fascinating chapter in our nation’s story. During the Reconstruction era and New Industrial Age, wealthy industrialists rode the train as far south as it would go in search of fresh air, warmer weather and good hunting land. They quickly discovered everything they were looking for among the longleaf pines, rolling hills, and sprawling old plantation homes that surrounded the then-emerging winter resort town of Thomasville, Georgia. Soon after the popularity of quail hunting took off with the development of the modern shotgun, many wanted to purchase their own winter retreat in Southwest Georgia. At the time, land in this area was relatively inexpensive due to various factors ranging from depressed crop prices, over-farming and an infestation of the boll weevil. Seeing an opportunity, many of the plantations in the region were acquired by wealthy families from the Northeast and Midwest. Since then there has been relatively little turnover, and most of the hunting lodges in Georgia are still owned by descendants of the very same families that first invested in the area over a hundred years ago.