The newly-minted city of Johns Creek boasts a sweet site to get away from it all — Autrey Mill Na-ture Preserve and Heritage Center. An example of grassroots activism at its finest, the historic Autrey Mill site was snatched from the clutches of developers in 1988 and taken under the wing of a commit-ted core of volunteers. The site was formally handed over to Johns Creek by Fulton County in 2006.
The 46-acre preserve is now a paradise of walking trials, waterways and forests. Historic buildings have been relocated and arranged in a village, and replicas of Native American structures add to the atmosphere. A visitor’s center is home to resident animals, including frogs, turtles, rabbits, ducks and an indigenous fish exhibit. Autrey Mill Board Member Karen Daniel is particularly partial to the pre-serve’s African spurred tortoise, who she affectionately calls “Princess Pebbles.”
As summer settles in, Autrey Mill is awash with activities such as scout and kids’ camps. A cooking and crafts camp is scheduled for July 28, and updated info can be found on the website. October will bring the popular Spooky Mill Halloween attraction, and both Girl and Boy Scouts will be vying for merit badges at Scout Day in November.
“So many people drive by [Autrey Mill], and never come up the hill to experience both the beauty of nature and the wonder of historic buildings,” Daniel said. “It is constantly evolving.” Daniel would like to invite everyone to partake of the evolution that is Autrey Mill. Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center is located at 9770 Autrey Mill Road, Johns Creek, 30022. Call 678-366-3511 or visit www.autreymill.org.