September 2013 E-News

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September 2013

Celebrate “Your State Parks Day” -- September 28


Free Admission & Parking

Put away your wallet and pull out your work gloves.  Visitors to Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites will not pay for parking or admission on Saturday, September 28 as part of the statewide “Your State Parks Day.”  Sponsored by the Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites, with support from REI, the celebration highlights the importance of volunteerism and the many ways that recreation enriches communities.  Parking is normally $5 at state parks, and admission ranges from $2.50 to $10 at state historic sites.

The statewide event includes numerous volunteer projects and family-friendly programs.  Seminole State Park in southwest Georgia will be clearing debris in preparation for a campground expansion, General Coffee State Park near Douglas will host wiffle ball games, and Panola Mountain State Park near Atlanta will hold a river cleanup.  State park golf courses will host events as well.  Additionally, volunteers will go home with a discount coupon for future accommodations.  A list of participating sites and events can be found at  


Take the Canyon Climbers Club Challenge

Canyon Climbers Club members

If you love to hike and enjoy a challenge, our Canyon Climbers Club is a great way to enjoy the fall season.  The club is reserved for those who have scaled to the top of Amicalola Falls, explored the depths of Providence Canyon, braved the swinging bridge in Tallulah Gorge and faced the staircase in Cloudland Canyon.  

To join, stop by any of the four participating park offices and purchase a $10 membership card.  A healthy dose of enthusiasm and sturdy hiking boots are recommended!  Once you’ve finished the four trails and had your card punched by rangers, redeem it for a t-shirt and bragging rights.  No time limit applies, so hikers can take as long as they wish to visit all four parks.


Great Golf Getaways for a Great Price

Georgia State Park golf course

For challenging golf at an affordable price, consider one of Georgia’s State Park courses for your next outing.  We have eight parks with championship golf and pro shops, all surrounded by nature rather than subdivisions.  Our courses offer overnight packages as well, including lodge rooms, cabins or campsites.  Visit for details.

  • Arrowhead Pointe at Richard B Russell -- Elberton
  • Brazell’s Creek at Gordonia-Alatamaha -- Reidsville
  • The Creek at Hard Labor -- Rutledge
  • Georgia Veterans Memorial  -- Cordele
  • Highland Walk at Victoria Bryant -- Royston
  • The Lakes at Laura S. Walker -- Waycross
  • Meadow Links at George T. Bagby – Fort Gaines
  • Wallace Adams at Little Ocmulgee – McRae 

September Discounts for Camping & Cabins

Both George L. Smith and Victoria Bryant state parks offer discounted accommodations this month.  At George L. Smith State Park in southeast Georgia, you can paddle and fish among tupelo trees.  Visitors to Victoria Bryant State Park in northeast Georgia can enjoy hiking, fishing and golf.  Find the latest specials on


Victoria Bryant fishing

What’s Cool & New?

Cloudland Canyon's yurts

Georgia’s newest state park, Don Carter, has opened on Lake Lanier.  A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Monday, September 16.

Camp in style at Cloudland Canyon State Park’s yurts, which are like a combination of tent and cabin.  They’re the perfect choice for those who enjoy being in nature but prefer a soft bed at night.

Smithgall Woods near Helen now has a dog-friendly cabin which can be reserved up to 13 months in advance.

Reed Bingham State Park in Adel offers a primitive paddle-in campsite where guests enjoy their own private island.  Hint: it’s great for small youth groups.

Being in a swamp has its advantages!  S.C. Foster State Park – the western entrance to the Okefenokee – has some of the darkest skies around.  Bring your telescope and explore the night sky.


September 2013 Events

Below are just some of the many programs happening across Georgia.  View the full calendar at




Dirty Spokes Race

September 7

Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen

The Dirty Spokes running race series includes four state parks: Red Top Mountain, Unicoi, Fort Yargo and Victoria Bryant. Dates and distances vary. Race Fee plus $5 parking. (706) 878-2201 ext. 305. 


City of Winder Fire Department 9/11 Memorial XC 5K

Fort Yargo State Park – Winder

This run/walk will raise money for the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation. The course will be on the roadway as well as through the trails of Fort Yargo.  $5 parking. (706) 680-7223. 


Women for the Woods at Buck Shoals

September 14, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen

Share the great outdoors with like-minded women on this beautiful property. Choose between classes in canoeing/kayaking, hiking, fly-fishing, firearms and more. Price includes a fire-cooked lunch. $50 plus $5 parking. (706) 878-3087. 


Mountain Music and Arts & Crafts Festival

September 14, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Vogel State Park – Blairsville

This popular event includes Appalachian, bluegrass and gospel music. There will also be art and craft booths with handmade items for sale, and food concessions provided by Vogel Volunteers/Friends of Georgia State Parks. $2-$5 plus $5 parking. (706) 745-2628. 


Full Moon Suspension Bridge Hike

September 19, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

September 20, 8:15 p.m. – 10:15 p.m.

Tallulah Gorge State Park – Tallulah Falls

Take a mile and a half hike under the full moon. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 754-7981. 


Youth Fishing Days at Buck Shoals

September 21, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen

Children and their special "big person" can fish in a lake stocked with catfish, bass and bream. Fish caught can be kept. Bring your own bait (no corn) and rods. This event is not at Smithgall Woods, but at Buck Shoals, a nearby-unopened state park. Call for directions. Occurs every third Saturday through September. $5 parking. (706) 878-3087. 




Twilight Paddles

September 13, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

September 14, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

September 28, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge

Explore Lake Rutledge on this Ranger-Guided Twilight Paddle. As we scan the sky for Ospreys and maybe an Eagle, and watch the changing colors on the water as the sunsets, we will interpret the role the CCC made in creating this great park in the 1930s. Meet at the Park Office/Trading Post. Register in advance. $15 plus $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.


Americus Adventure Train Ride

September 13, 9:30 a.m. – 4:50 p.m.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train - Cordele

Riding in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage train cars, you can travel across Lake Blackshear, tour Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village and sample peanut butter treats in Plains. Enjoy a mix of romantic yesteryear with the excitement of today’s south as the SAM Shortline Excursion Train runs from Cordele through Georgia Veterans State Park to Americus and Plains, then back. 1-877-427-2457.


Archery Explorer Train Ride

September 14 and 21, 9:30 a.m. – 5:20 p.m.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele

Riding in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage train cars, you will travel across Lake Blackshear to Plains and back. Explore President Jimmy Carter’s boyhood farm (Jimmy Carter National Historic Site), go shopping and sample peanut butter treats. 1-877-427-2457.


Elijah Clark Annual Bluegrass Festival

September 20 - 22

Elijah Clark State Park – Lincolnton

Bring your lawn chairs to enjoy three days of food and bluegrass. Join us for a foot-stomping good time with lots of great music. Rain or shine. $5 parking. (706) 359-3458.


Full Moon Kayak Tour

September 21, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge

Join a guided tour of Lake Rutledge, and enjoy a peaceful paddle under a bright moon. Listen for night sounds, enjoy the night sky, and learn about the history of Hard Labor Creek State Park. Register in advance. $15 plus $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.


The North Face Endurance Challenge

September 28 and 29, 5 a.m. – 6 p.m.

F.D. Roosevelt State Park - Pine Mountain

A hardy test for trail runners of all levels, this North Face Endurance Challenge is on the southern-most edge of the Appalachian Mountain range. The Finish Line Festival features music, refreshments and food, free samples, product trials, demonstrations and raffle prizes from The North Face, GORE-TEX and more. Race fee. $5 parking. 706-663-4858.




Basic Archery

September 7, 7, 8, 13 and 14 

Panola Mountain State Park - Stockbridge

Take aim and hit the bull's eye! Join a certified instructor to learn archery basics. Meet at the cart barn at Alexander's Lake. All equipment provided. If you have your own equipment, cost includes an all-day archery range pass. Ages 9 and up. Arrive 15 minutes early. Participants must register in advance. $10 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.


Atlanta Audubon Society Bird Walk

September 15, 8 a.m.

Panola Mountain State Park - Stockbridge

Bring your binoculars for this gentle hike through the park's Power of Flight area. Basic identification techniques and common birds will be discussed. Good for all ages. We recommend long pants and sleeves. Meet at the Alexander Lake Area. Register in advance. Donations of birdseed are appreciated. $5 parking. 770-389-7801.


Butterfly and Dragonfly Safari

September 15, 2 p.m.

Panola Mountain State Park - Stockbridge

A park ranger will guide this trip into a "wild" grassland habitat, teaming with butterflies and dragonflies. Bring a camera to record the adventure as we navigate through the different grassland habitats. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Register in advance. $5 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.


Archery Tournament -- 3-D and Static

September 21, 8 a.m.

Panola Mountain State Park - Stockbridge

Test your skills on the park’s new archery range.  Register in advance. $15 - $40 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.


Harvest at the Homestead

September 21 and 22       

Red Top Mountain State Park - Cartersville

Fall is a busy time at the homestead. Enjoy toys and games, open-hearth cooking, black-powder weapon demonstrations, blacksmithing, woodworking, contests and more. You can even visit a Civil War camp. $5 parking. 770-975-0055. 




Skidaway Narrows Clean Up

September 22, 9 a.m. – noon

Skidaway Island State Park -- Savannah

Help clean the Skidaway Narrows and Butterbean Beach. Bring your own boat, kayak or canoe. Limited number of kayaks and canoes will be provided. Walking clean-up volunteers are also welcome. Register before September 21. 912-598-2300.


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