September 2012 News & Events from Georgia's State Parks

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September  2012

September 29 is “Your State Parks Day”

Free parking and admission all day long

Sept. 29 FREE day at GA State Parks
Put away your wallet and pull out your fishing pole. Visitors to Georgia's State Parks & Historic Sites will not pay for parking or admission on Saturday, September 29 as part of National Public Lands Day. Sponsored by the Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites, the celebration brings attention to ways that parks enrich communities, plus the importance of local volunteerism. 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.  At Fort Yargo, mountain bikers will work on trails, at Hard Labor Creek, rangers will lead a wildlife kayaking expedition, and at Unicoi, visitors can help clean up Smith Creek.  A full calendar is posted at (Thank you, Friends, for making this day possible!)

Muddy Spokes Club at Mistletoe State Park

Muddy Spokes Club

Are you up for this biking challenge?

Congratulations to the Allen family from Cherokee County for being the latest group to finish our Muddy Spokes Club Challenge.  James, Stacie and their four children (ages 6, 9, 11 and 13) finished all 11 bike trails in the club, earning “mud-splattered” t-shirts and bragging rights.  “I cannot tell you how much fun we have had,” said Stacie.  “The program took us to parts of Georgia we have never been . . . but I have to say the best part of the whole experience was the fun we had as a family.”  Learn more about the Muddy Spokes Club and our other challenges at

Grandparents Day is September 9

Show the grandparents in your family how much they mean to you with a gift of time instead of things.  Pack a picnic with their favorite goodies, or plan a mini-golf tournament for the family, or go for a nature hike in the woods.  You could even learn to use a GPS together and set off on your first geocaching quest.  Need more ideas?  Check out events posted on, such as the owls program at Amicalola Falls or the butterfly safari at Panola Mountain. 

RV Club

RV Club Rewards Frequent Campers

Frequent campers can save money by joining our free RV Club.  Stay 9 nights and your 10th night is free!  You can also keep up with the latest RV news by liking our Facebook page just for members.  Learn more at

Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge

Top Parks for Leaf Watching

Plan now for fall getaways

When the temperatures start dropping, Leaf Watchers start heading to the mountains for colorful fall foliage. Many of Georgia’s State Parks make it easy to enjoy the best of “leaf season” – offering plenty of places to explore hiking trails, snuggle by campfires and fill photos albums. The parks even provide lodge rooms, cabins, campgrounds and yurts so that travelers can stay overnight, surrounded by spectacular scenery.  Some cabins are booked as early as 13 months in advance, so make your reservations now for this autumn – or even the next.  Is your favorite state park on our list of “Top 10 for Leaf Watching”?  Find out here.

Thomas The Tank Engine

Thomas the Tank Engine Is Coming

October 20, 21, 27, 28, 2012 

Tiny fans of Thomas the Tank Engine can ride a real train when the storybook character pulls into Georgia Veterans State Park in Cordele.  This fun-filled event offers little engineers and their families an opportunity to ride a 15-ton replica of Thomas the Tank Engine. Children will ride along with their favorite hero on his latest adventure as he pulls SAM Shortline Excursion Train down the track. Buy $18 tickets at or 1-866-468-7630.

September 2012 Events – Divided By Region

Below are just some of the many programs happening in September.  Check for a full calendar.

Bear Creek Guided Hike
Monday, September 3, 10 a.m.
Friday, September 14, 10 a.m.
Cloudland Canyon State Park – Rising Fawn
This is a strenuous hike, but we will go slow and enjoy the beautiful scenery on this 9-mile trail. Reservations required. $25 plus $5 parking. (706) 913-7170.
Mountain Music and Arts & Craft Festival
Saturday, September 8, 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. $2-$5 plus $5 parking. (706) 745-2628.
Historical Rock Hike
Saturday, September 15, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Tallulah Gorge State Park – Tallulah Falls
Prepare for a very strenuous hike to see unique rock formations that were named in the late 1800s. We will be hiking off the beaten trail along steep cliffs, down treacherous embankments and rocky terrain. Bring lunch and water. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 754-7981.
Outdoor Adventure Day at Unicoi
Saturday, September 22, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen
Learn how to catch a trout, paddle a canoe and shoot a shotgun, and then try your skills at fly tying and casting, trout fishing, archery, air guns and skeet shooting. Wildlife shows, hunting dog demonstrations and hayrides will be available. $5 parking. 800-573-9659 ext. 305.
Your State Parks Day – New Echota
Saturday, September 29, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
New Echota Historic Site – Calhoun
Join us as we commemorate National Public Lands Day with a morning New Town Creek Nature Trail volunteer project. Pack a lunch for afterwards and tour the historic grounds and buildings of the 1820s (706) 624-1321.
Volunteer Workday at Fort Yargo
Saturday, September 29, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Fort Yargo State Park – Winder
Help improve the mountain biking and hiking trails. Register in advance. (404) 656-6533.
Your State Parks Day – Nandinas, Love’em or Hate’em
Saturday, September 29, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park – Summerville
We will be digging up the last of the Nandinas (an invasive and non-native plant) from around Shelter #4 and transplanting some gardenias in their place. If you love nandinas, you are encouraged to come dig some up and take them home. If you hate them, come help us get rid of them. Bring your own spade and gardening gloves. (706) 857-0826.
Women for the Woods ll
Saturday, September 29 through Sunday, September 30, 8 a.m.
Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen
Women, get your fill of fishing, orienteering, shooting a bow, and much more at this event for women, taught by women. An evening meal around the campfire and optional camping provides the perfect ending to this active day. $65 plus camping fee. $5 parking. (706) 878-3087.
Labor Day at Fort McAllister
Saturday, September 1
Fort McAllister Historic Park – Richmond Hill
Civil War-era labor was much like ours is today. From blacksmith to wood worker, all trades were needed to keep this fort in operation. $3.75 - $6.50. (912) 727-2339.
Tools and Skills that Built a Colony
Saturday, September 1 through Monday, September 3, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Wormsloe Historic Site – Savannah
See craft demonstrations such as woodworking, blacksmithing, cooking, spinning, flint knapping, leatherworking, woodsman skills, pewter casting, and more. $4.50-$8. (912) 353-3023.
Stargazing in the Swamp
Saturday, September 15, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Stephen C. Foster State Park – Fargo
Come out to the cul-de-sac at the end of 177 where we'll have an 18" telescope set up. You'll be able to see planets, star clusters, nebulae, and other celestial bodies. $5 Refuge Parking Fee. $3. (912) 637-5274.
A Murder Mystery in Colonial Darien
Saturday, September 29, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Fort King George Historic Site – Darien
Have fun with the garrison as you play killer colonial Clue! Guests will become amateur sleuths during this engaging evening. All guests who solve the crime receive a prize, while two lucky guests receive free tickets to the next garrison dinner. Light hors d'oeuvres served. Reservations required. $35. (912) 437-4770.
Colonial Cricket
Saturday, September 29
Wormsloe Historic Site – Savannah
The noble sport of cricket returns to Savannah as it was played among the English colonists in the 1730s. Capt. Noble Jones and his marines will explain the simple rules of the game. Everyone is invited to swing a bat and bowl a ball. Free. (912) 353-3023.
Evening Kayak and Wildlife Watching Adventures
September 2, 7, 15, 21, 22 and 29,  5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday, September 8, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge
The stealthy kayak is a great vessel to sneak up on all sorts of wildlife. This ranger-led paddle will take participants around Lake Rutledge for viewing birds, mammals, dragonflies and other wildlife. Ages 4 and older. Register in advance. $15 includes equipment. $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.
Elijah Clark Annual Bluegrass Festival
Friday, September 14 through Sunday, September 16, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Elijah Clark State Park – Lincolnton
Bring your lawn chairs to enjoy three days of food and bluegrass. Rain or shine. $5 parking. (706) 359-3458.
Train Excursion –  Peanut Festival
Saturday, September 15, 9 a.m. – 4:50 p.m.
SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele
All aboard for a wonderful adventure with a parade, food and lots of peanuts. Vendors with arts and crafts will fill the park as you step off the train. 1-877-427-2457.
Observatory Open House
Saturday, September 22, 7:35 p.m. – 10:05 p.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park - Rutledge
Georgia State University's Observatory will have an open monthly. In case of inclement weather, facilities will be open for a tour and slideshow. (706) 557-3001.
Reptile Rodeo
Saturday, September 29, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Reed Bingham State Park – Adel
Snakes, lizards, turtles, and alligators will all be present to view, touch, photograph, and even hold. (229) 896-3551.
CCC Camp Workday at Hard Labor
Saturday, September 29, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge
We'll be cutting more small trees and brush, as well as raking around the foundations of the buildings. Our CCC Camp is one of the only places in the Southeast where you can stand where the CCC Boys ate, slept, and exercised. (706) 557-3001.
Clean Up Day & Fishing Rodeo at Indian Springs
Saturday, September 29, 9 a.m.
Indian Springs State Park – Flovilla
Come spend your Saturday morning with us and help us to make Indian Springs beautiful. Also taking place is a family friendly fishing rodeo.   (478) 808-1968.
Ranger-led Panola Mountain Hike
Saturday, September 1, 10 a.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Find out why Panola Mountain is such an important ecosystem during a ranger led hike to the top of the mountain. Explore the conservation area, as we twist and turn on the trail, we will see different plants and wildlife. Register in advance. $7 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.
Evening Paddle on Allatoona Lake
Saturday, September 1, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Red Top Mountain State Park – Cartersville
Join us for a ranger-led, peaceful evening paddle on the lake. This two-hour trip requires reservations.. $15 per person (includes tandem canoe or kayak and basic instruction.) $5 parking. (770) 975-0055.
All-Day Bluegrass Concerts at Allatoona
Saturday, September 8, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Red Top Mountain State Park – Cartersville
Enjoy live bluegrass concerts all day long. The stage will be set up at Group Shelter #1 near the beach. A food vendor will be available (cash only). $15 (12 and younger free). $5 parking. (770) 975-0055.
The Creek and Cherokee People of Georgia
Saturday, September 8, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site – Cartersville
Learn about the prehistoric people of Georgia and hear how the Creek and Cherokee lived before European contact. Discover what changes were necessary for the survival of these people. $3.50-$5.00 (770) 387-3747.
Butterfly Safari
Sunday, September 9, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Panola Mountain's grassland habitats provide great butterfly viewing areas. Bring a digital camera to record these incredible creatures. A ranger will point out plants along the way that are important food, and we'll look for a variety of species including Buckeye, Tiger Swallowtail, and many types of grass skippers. Register in advance. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.
Candlelight Hike to the Mill
Saturday, September 22, 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. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.
Native Wildflower Planting at Panola
Saturday, September 29, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Join park staff and volunteers planting a variety of local wildflowers in the "Power of Flight" grassland habitat restoration area. All ages and interests can have fun, plant one plant or stay the whole time, and learn why grasslands are such important habitats for wildlife. Meet at the Alexander's Lake parking area. Bring your own snacks and soft drinks, bug repellant and comfortable work clothes. (770) 389-7801.
Wildlife Garden at Red Top
Saturday, September 29
Red Top Mountain State Park – Cartersville
Come and support Red Top Mountain by helping us plant a wildlife garden behind the Discovery Room. We're going to replace the holly bushes and put in plants that will attract all kinds of wildlife. (770) 975-0055.

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