Posted: Saturday, June 21st 2014 at 11:00am
Carter State Park celebrates first year, looks forward to growth in second
GAINESVILLE – Don Carter State Park quietly turns one-year-old on July 15th.
However, don’t take that statement at face value; it is a trope: a true statement whose very words belie other realities.
In point, the one-year-old park holds scores of century old trees, and the tranquil serenity enshrouding the 1316-acre biome is repeatedly interrupted by the hundreds-of-thousands of visitors who have passed through its gate.
Will Wagner is the Park Ranger at Georgia’s newest state park and he spoke briefly at the annual meeting of the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau held Tuesday in the cool shade of one of the park’s pavilions.
“We are edging towards the number that looks like it’s going to be about a quarter-of-a-million visitors in our first year,” Wagner said proudly. “We are excited about that.”
“We actually saw our visitation from April double into May,” Wagner added. “We’ve never seen that happen in a state park.”
And like most one-year-olds, Don Carter State Park continues to grow.
“One of the things we just started on Memorial Day weekend…is our kayak rentals. They’ve been extremely popular,” Wagner said. “We’re excited because those kayak rentals are the beginning of a huge paddling-program that we’re doing here at the park.”
“We hope to open up some kayak trails that explore to the north and to the south. We’re part of the 36-mile Upper Chattahoochee water trail.”
The park currently features 44 campsites, eight 8-person cottages, four picnic shelters and a dozen primitive campsites available for rental.
Wagner drew laughter when he touched on the primitive camp sites, saying, “We said…let’s build a dozen of them, we really don’t know how they’re going to do, and they’ve been booked almost every single weekend. No water; no electricity; they’re for a very special crowd.”
“We are also soon to embark on developing a 25-mile trail system out here…just a lot of good things going on…and a lot of stuff yet to come. Feel free to get involved,” Wagner invited.
Wagner invited everyone interested in helping the only state park on Lake Lanier grow to attend their “Friends Group” convocation on Thursday, July 17th, under Pavilion 4 at the park. “The Friends Group really adds that character to the park that opens up the door for a lot of events,” Wagner explained.
For information on the park or the upcoming Friends Group meeting contact the park at (678) 450-7726.
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