Spots on scheduled tours of one of Columbia County's most unusual landmarks already have been filled.
The Nature Conservancy conducts two sets of four tours of Heggie's Rock in Appling during the fall and spring. The spring set is scheduled to begin Saturday.
The outcrop of course-grained granite towers nearly 70 feet above the area and is an example of granite flatrock in Georgia. Stone Mountain is another example of these Piedmont outcrops.
Each tour is limited to 25 people. About 100 people were on a waiting list for the spring tours, said Preeya Philipp, a conservation specialist with The Nature Conservancy.
"A lot of people have been calling and saying they haven't been out there since they were kids, or people who have even said that they've lived in the area for a really long time and never knew it was there," Philipp said.
Without soil, plant life on Heggie's Rock has adapted to the rock's cycles of downpours and searing heat. The rock has natural habitats ranging from dry rock faces to wet seepage areas, according to The Nature Conservancy Web site.
The rock is home to many unique plants and animals, including some that are endangered or threatened, which is why the site is off limits except during authorized tours.
Dr. Judy Gordon, chair of the Savannah River Group Sierra Club, leads regular tours of Heggie's Rock. Philipp said she's passed off many people to Gordon's tours to allow more people to tour the rock. But Philipp said Gordon's tours also are at capacity.
The free tours are scheduled for Saturday, March 29, April 26 and May 3.
For more information about Heggie's Rock, or to join the waiting list for upcoming tours, contact Philipp at (404) 253-7216 or visit www.nature.org.
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