Big Canoe is recognized by Georgia Audubon as a nature preserve. Even before the community was given that designation, Big Canoe had established a policy based on respecting and protecting native wildlife. Guests and residents are strongly advised to review the guidelines designed to maintain our community’s natural beauty and ensure everyone’s safety.

Preservation of Big Canoe's
Natural Environment

Big Canoe’s rich environmental heritage owes much to the work of Dr. Robert B. Platt. Recruited by Big Canoe’s original developer, Tom Cousins, in the early 1970’s, Dr. Platt came to live in Big Canoe for almost twenty years. He served as Ecologist on Mr. Cousins’ staff, and it was his vision that this community be developed to permit residents to live in harmony with nature. Among his legacies is our Architectural Control Committee, which he planned and organized, and served as Chairman for many years. Two of Dr. Platt’s enduring legacies can still be appreciated today. The first is the Robert B. Platt Museum, which is located on the second floor of the Big Canoe Lodge on Lake Sconti. There you will find display cases featuring many animals and plants native to Big Canoe, including a rarely seen bobcat, an elusive coyote, and a beautiful family of wild turkeys.

The second is the Robert B. Platt Native Plant Botanical Garden, which is part of the Meditation Park that also includes the Scout Hut, the Big Canoe Chapel Cemetery, and the Terraces Amphitheater. Here you’ll find a beautiful natural spring and reflection pool, a half-mile Nature Trail, and a genuine log cabin that was occupied by a family in Cherokee County back in 1840!

Dr. Platt proved to be far more than just an environmental consultant to Mr. Cousins. He promulgated the rules and regulations that are still serving us today. Beginning with the concept that “No matter what we build here, it must look like it belongs in the woods,”

Platt set Big Canoe upon an unprecedented course, toward a unique

community that truly has learned to live in harmony with nature. In his first communications with new residents, Dr. Platt stressed, "Conservation is a personal responsibility to be accepted by each property owner.”

“Big Canoe is an architecturally and environmentally controlled community. These controls, established by the General Covenants and Restrictions of Big Canoe, are a part of the conditions of ownership of property and of home construction in our community.” Two examples of important controls are the restrictions on vista pruning, and the limitations on landscaping. Dr. Platt loved trees, and he was keenly aware of how important our trees are to the beauty and the quality of life here. He also insisted that we use indigenous trees and plants so as not to introduce foreign invasive species. If you have any questions about our Architectural and Environmental Control Standards please reach out to Treena Parish at or Ron Davis at 

Bear Country Living

Seeing bears in Big Canoe is a privilege we all share. Disrespecting them is a safety concern for not only the bears, but also for us, our pets, our property and other wildlife.