April 2012 News from Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

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April 2012

1864 Confederate Flag Returned to Georgia

April 21 Ceremony at Fort McAllister Historic Park

To celebrate the return of an original flag that once flew above Fort McAllister, the coastal park will host a ceremony and re-enactment at 11 a.m. on April 21.  The flag was found by a Union soldier’s great grandson, who generously donated it to the park earlier this year.  Read about this fascinating discovery and join the ceremony at Fort McAllister Historic Park in Richmond Hill.

On the same weekend, the Great Locomotive Chase will be highlighted at Allatoona Pass Battlefield near Red Top Mountain State Park in Cartersville.  Historians will tell the story of Union soldiers stealing The General in 1862.  Old-timey life will be showcased nearby at the park’s historic cabin on Lake Allatoona. Join us April 21 and 22.

Operation Migration

Georgia Mountain BirdFest

May 4-6 at Unicoi State Park

Next month, bird lovers will flock to Unicoi State Park & Lodge for north Georgia’s only major birding festival.  More than 60 field trips, guided hikes and hands-on activities are open to birders of all ages and skill levels. Joe Duff of Operation Migration will be the keynote
speaker, telling about his experience of guiding hand-raised Whooping Cranes via ultralight on their first migration.  Registration ends April 23 and the cost is $135 for the entire conference.  Visit www.gamtnbirdfest.com or call 706-878-2201 ext. 305.

Rediscover the Rails

Tourist Train goes to Presidential Farm, Quirky Museum and Global Village

When the SAM Shortline Excursion Train pulls out of Georgia Veterans State Park in Cordele, passengers forget their worries for a while, sit back and connect with their fellow travelers.  Riding in vintage cars, they watch pecan
SAM Shortline Train
groves by their windows as the train rolls down the tracks.  Along the way, the train stops at Habitat for Humanity's Global Village, a telephone museum, shops and President Jimmy Carter's boyhood farm.  View the 2012 schedule and buy tickets at www.SamShortline.com.

Save Money When You Visit

If you are a frequent State Park visitor, you can save money with a $50 annual pass or Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites membership.  You’ll be exempt from paying the daily $5 parking fee at nearly 50 state parks.  ParkPasses and memberships are available in State Park offices.

Ramsey Family

First-Time Campers Explore Ft. Yargo

Congratulations to the Ramsey family from Mississippi!  They were our very first "First-Time Campers."  The Ramseys visited Fort Yargo State Park and other places in Georgia during their spring vacation.  Want to try out camping for the first time?  Choose from six parks in our $45 "First-Time Camper" Program (which includes gear!).

April 2012 Calendar for Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

Below are just some of the many events scheduled for this April.  View the complete calendar at GeorgiaStateParks.org/events.  (Families, bring your little ones to our Easter Egg Hunts across Georgia!)


Full Moon Hike (held monthly)
Friday, April 6, 8:20 p.m. – 10:20 p.m.
Saturday, April 7, 9:15 p.m. – 11:15 p.m.
Tallulah Gorge State Park – Tallulah Falls
Enjoy the gorge in the magical, shimmering light of the full moon. The hike will begin at the Interpretive Center, following the North Rim Trail, with a descent of the Hurricane Falls Trail staircase to the suspension bridge over Hurricane Falls. This is considered a strenuous hike, consisting of approximately 1.5 miles and 1,099 steps. Register in advance. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 754-7981.

Wildlife Show
Saturday, April 7 and 21, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Fort Yargo State Park - Winder
Enjoy a live wildlife demonstration featuring native and exotic animals. Sponsored by Friends of Fort Yargo and presented by Earthen Excursions. Located at the amphitheater in Campground 1. $3 plus $5 parking. (678) 963-8891.

Wild about Wildflowers
Saturday, April 7, 14, 21 and 28, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen
Enjoy a guided hike each Saturday in April while learning about the wildflowers currently are blooming. Register in advance. $5 parking. (706) 878-2201 ext. 305.

Spring Wildflower Fest
Saturday, April 14 through Sunday, April 15, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge – Dawsonville
Take a wildflower identification hike and participate in wildflower themed kids-crafts. Enjoy a variety of activities as we celebrate the arrival of spring at the park. $5 parking. (706) 265-1969.


Flashlight Egg Hunt
Friday, April 6, 8 p.m.
Crooked River State Park – St. Marys
Bring your family, friends, flashlights and baskets to Crooked River's Egg Hunt in the Dark. Grand Prize...a two-night cottage stay at Crooked River. $3 plus $5 parking. (912) 882-5256.

Sunset Tour in the Okefenokee Swamp
Thursday, April 12, 7:15 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Stephen C. Foster State Park – Fargo
Watch the sunset, listen to owls, see bats fly overhead and observe herons coming in to roost. Once the sun goes down, see the stars come out and catch a glimpse of our neighboring planets. We'll even look for alligator eyes to glow red. Call ahead to confirm details. $20 - $25 plus $5 Refuge Fee. (912) 637-5274.

Dark Sky Star Party
Thursday, April 12, Friday April 13, and Sunday, April 15
Stephen C. Foster State Park – Fargo
Without any light pollution, the Okefenokee Swamp is one of the best places in the Southeast to view stars and planets. Members of the Northeast Florida Observatory Foundation will bring high-powered telescopes so you'll get an exceptional view of our night sky. Register in advance. $3 plus $5 parking. (912) 637- 5274.


Moth Party
Saturday, April 7, 8:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge
One of the little known joys of studying natural history is setting up a blacklight and watching for moths after dark. Discover Life is recruiting naturalists to participate in a Spring Natural History Survey to explore impacts such as climate, pollution, invasives and diseases. $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.

Easter At The Park
Saturday, April 7, 2 p.m.
Reed Bingham State Park – Adel
Friends of Reed Bingham will be sponsoring an Easter egg hunt with more than 2,000 eggs. Afterwards learn about egg-laying reptiles and make Easter arts and crafts. $2- $3 plus $5 parking. (229) 896-3551.

67th Commemorative Ceremony for FDR
Thursday, April 12, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site – Warm Springs
Pay tribute to President F.D. Roosevelt on the anniversary of his death at the Little White House. Amputee triathlete Scott Rigsby and Four-Star General Larry Ellis will be guest speakers. This event also includes a Color Guard and music by the U.S. Army Infantry Center Band. Free admission from 9 a.m. until noon. (706) 655-5870.

Train to Plains Classic Car Show
Saturday, April 14, 9:30 a.m. – 6:20 p.m.
SAM Shortline Excursion Train -- Cordele
Ride a tourist train over Lake Blackshear to the 4th Annual Plains Classic Car Show and Jimmy Carter National Historic Site.  You’ll have plenty of time to explore beautiful cars and the president’s boyhood farm before the train returns to Georgia Veterans State Park. Groups and parties welcome. www.SamShortline.com

Amphibian Monitoring Workshop
Saturday, April 14, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Magnolia Springs State Park - Millen
Want to learn about Georgia's rich diversity of amphibians and help protect lakes, streams, and wetlands? Georgia Adopt-A-Stream will teach you about volunteer salamander and frog monitoring. It's bound to be a hoppin' experience! Register in advance. $5 parking. (478) 982-1660.

Astronomy Program
Saturday, April 21, 8:30 p.m.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park – Pine Mountain
Join presenters from Coca-Cola Space Science Center (Columbus University) at our amphitheater on Highway 190 to view the stars above. The evening will include star talks, star maps, and viewing of the night sky. $5 parking. (706) 663-4858.

Pine Mountain Trail Day Hike
Saturday, April 28
F.D. Roosevelt State Park – Pine Mountain
Join a member of the Pine Mountain Trail Association for a 5-mile guided hike. Meet at WJSP TV Tower parking lot. Hiking will be from Pine Mountain Trail to Rocky Point parking lot. Wear hiking boots and bring drinking water. $5 parking. (706) 563-0497.


Native American Tools & Weapons
Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site - Cartersville
Learn from an expert how to make, use and care for ancient tools and weapons. See why their uses often meant survival. Also explore the earthen mounds and visit the museum. 3.50-5.00 (770) 387-3747.

Torchlight Tour
Saturday, April 14, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site – Cartersville
See Etowah as people did long ago. Step back in time as you walk a torch-lit path and explore illuminated mounds, including the 63-foot high Mound A, home of the highest Etowah chief. $3.50-$5.00 (770) 387-3747.

Spring Butterfly Hike
Sunday, April 15, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Join a park ranger when many flowers are in bloom and butterflies like hairstreaks and zebra swallowtails abound. Meet at the Park Nature Center. Hike is a rugged 2-mile loop. Bring a digital camera and get great photos of an incredible landscape, interesting and beautiful wildflowers, and the butterflies that frequent the flowers! Register in advance. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Candle Light Hike to the Mill
Saturday, April 28, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs
This mile-long guided night hike is easy to moderately difficult and goes inside the Civil War era textile mill ruins of New Manchester. Candle lanterns will be provided. No children under 6 years or dogs permitted. Space is limited and is on a first-come first-serve basis. Meet and register at the Interpretive Center. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.
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