Natural and man-made forces

The expanses of rock that both natural and man-made forces have worn away and the fragile ecosystems that have thrived in the harsh environment for hundreds of millenniums inspire wonder and mystery.

One of the strongest protectors of the natural systems within the Heritage Area is a community of Trappist monks who moved to remote Rockdale County and founded the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in 1944. Their dedication to preserving wetlands and riparian habitats has resulted in hundreds of acres of their land placed in conservation easements. They also actively manage forests and document hundreds of species of wildflowers and birds as well as dozens of species of butterflies and dragonflies on their property.

The Monastery is a place of peaceful exploration and study. Traditionally, monks live a cloistered life but this community welcomes and encourages visitors of any faith. Visitors can experience the Abbey Church, a remarkable concrete structure built entirely by the monks, tour the Monastic Heritage Center or stay longer for a themed retreat.

Communion with nature and the alignment of granite monoliths are the spiritual center of the Heritage Area.