U.S. Forest Service managers on the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests anticipate a busy season as the majority of recreation sites have reopened to visitors after being closed for the winter. Visitors may notice improvements to many sites thanks to the work of volunteers and recreation enhancement fees.
“After the long wet winter, people like to get out and enjoy the woods again, and we’ve been working hard to get our roads, trails, and campgrounds ready for the upcoming season,” says District Ranger Ryan Foote, on the popular Chattooga River Ranger District.
“We received well over 100 inches of rain across this Forest over the past year, and unfortunately some roads and trails received significant damage. We ask that while visitors are enjoying the forest they recreate responsibly and practice ‘ Leave No Trace ‘ and ‘ Tread Lightly! ‘ principles,” Foote added, citing two national campaigns to protect the forests from damage.
A popular location to visit includes Morganton Point on Lake Blue Ridge, which offers camping, picnicking, hiking, boating, water skiing and fishing. Mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders may visit Dry Creek Trail System, which offers 26 miles to enjoy on the Armuchee Unit in Northwest Georgia. Further South in the piedmont region near Eatonton, Ga., Lake Sinclair is a popular destination on the Oconee Ranger District.
On the only national forest in Georgia, smartphone and tablet users can plan their trips by using the forest’s free mobile app that helps locate sites for camping, picnicking, hiking, swimming and other fun activities on Georgia’s national forests. The app also delivers forest news and alerts so visitors can stay informed about changing conditions while on the go.
Most roads closed for the winter season have also reopened, but motorists are advised to consult the official motor vehicle use map or call the nearest Forest Service office to confirm the status of specific roads. Road closures can occur at any time, which will be posted on the website under “Alerts & Notices” at www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/conf/alerts-notices.
Visitors can also go to the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests website at www.fs.usda.gov/conf or contact a Forest Service office for directions, information about recreation areas, safety tips, news and special events. Contact a local Forest Service office by calling:
Blue Ridge District Office, Blairsville, Ga. – 706-745-6928
Chattooga River District Office, Lakemont, Ga. – 706-754-6221
Conasauga District Office, Chatsworth, Ga. – 706-695-6736
Oconee District Office, Eatonton, Ga. – 706-485-7110