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In the late 70’s, Floyd C. “Doc” Watkins a Professor of Southern Literature at Emory University purchased 34 picturesque acres on the North Oconee River in Lula, Georgia. Doc quickly became friends with his new neighbors, the Wilson’s, whose family owned the property over 100 years ago. In 2000, Doc’s son Kirk and his wife Leah purchased the property. Kirk and Leah had a vision for the Old Mill Farm to become the nucleus of NORTH GEORGIA CANOPY TOURS™. The couple made improvements to the property and purchased additional adjacent land. In 2001, Kirk constructed an amateur 200 foot zip line which gathered mixed reviews from the family and from the cows Bethel Wilson was then keeping on the property.
In July 2007, Kirk, Leah, and Leah’s two children vacationed in Costa Rica and enjoyed a canopy tour through the rain forest. As Kirk and Leah were both afraid of heights, zipping at heights through the canopy in a rain forest was quite a challenge. This adventure gave impetus to the vision.
Kirk and Leah called on professionals to build the REAL Canopy Tour they desired for Old Mill Farm. Soon after their return home, Kirk and Leah purchased 66 adjacent acres. By October 2007, John Walker of Bonsai-Design visited the property and provided a preliminary course design for a Canopy Tour. The search for investors began.