January 2013 News & Events from Georgia's State Parks

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January 2013

Reed Bingham State Park

Start the New Year with a Healthier You!

New Year’s Resolutions often involve a commitment to losing weight, but those goals sometimes fade when the process isn’t enjoyable.  If you aren’t the type to go to the gym each week, find other ways to get exercise that’s both fun and good for you.  Our Tons of Fun Fitness Challenge was designed to show how playing outdoors can lead to a healthier heart.  Afterall, climbing to the top of a waterfall is more enjoyable than spending an hour on the treadmill.  

Below are fitness ideas to get you started during the New Year.  Find more ideas, healthy recipes, and even advice from a personal trainer and nutritionist on TonsofFun.org.  You can even get a “prescription” for a free daily pass to visit a Georgia State Park by talking to your physician assistant or your dog’s veterinarian

  • Hike down and up the staircases in Cloudland Canyon (northwest mountains) and Tallulah Gorge (northeast mountains) state parks.
  • Go inline skating on the paved path at Panola Mountain State Park near Stockbridge.
  • Explore the new bike trail at Indian Springs State Park near Macon.
  • Leash up Fido and go for a walk at Reed Bingham State Park near Adel.
  • Go paddling at Stephen C. Foster State Park and look for wildlife in the Okefenokee Swamp.
  • Visit Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park near Columbus where you can hike to a lifesize sculpture of the president.
  • Rent a “Street Strider” bike at Skidaway Island near Savannah.

Sweetwater Lake

Winter Specials on Cabins, Campsites & Yurts

Winter is the most peaceful time to visit Georgia’s State Parks, and it can be the most beautiful as well.  With leaves off the trees, hikers can see much further through the forest and will notice unusual tree shapes, hidden waterfalls and moss-covered boulders.  Wildlife is still active as well, and it can be easier to spot White Tail Deer foraging or Bald Eagles raising new chicks.

Another advantage of visiting during winter is the off-season discount on accommodations.  Nearly every Georgia State Park offers 25-30% discounts on cabins, yurts and campsites.  Find a special spot for a romantic escape, girlfriend getaway or family spring break at GeorgiaStateParks.org/wintergetaway-discount. 

2013 Annual ParkPass

Annual ParkPasses Save You Money

Great Gift Idea

If you visit any of Georgia’s State Parks more than 10 times in a year, you can save money by purchasing an Annual ParkPass.  Pass holders are exempt from paying the daily $5 parking fee, and their purchase helps maintain park facilities.  Annual ParkPasses are available for $50 from any park office.  Seniors 62 or older save 50 percent, and military discounts are available.  

More money-saving tips:

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Four State Parks Celebrate

75th Anniversaries

Four of Georgia’s State Parks will celebrate their 75th anniversaries this year: Cloudland Canyon on Lookout Mountain, F.D. Roosevelt near Columbus, Fort Mountain near the Cohutta Wilderness and Kolomoki Mounds in southwest Georgia.  Imagine how many families have created lifelong memories while enjoying these parks!  Have you ever wondered how your favorite state park or historic site came to be?  We have a fascinating collection of histories and photos posted on GeorgiaStateParks.org

Victoria Bryant Highland Walk Golf Course

Junior Golf Tour Enhances Skills 

To encourage young athletes’ love for golf, our State Parks offer a Georgia Junior Golf Tour on weekends throughout the year.  Players earn performance points for each event, and the top leaders from each age group compete in a Champion’s Cup.  Our courses also offer lessons for all ages, overnight packages, annual passes and full service club houses.  Watch a video to learn more about Georgia’s eight State Park courses, and keep up with the latest specials by liking our Facebook page.  

Crooked River State Park

Feature:  Crooked River State Park

Located on southern tip of Georgia’s “Colonial Coast,” Crooked River State Park is the perfect spot for enjoying the intracoastal waterway and maritime forest.  More than 60 campsites are surrounded by palmettos and Spanish moss-draped oaks, while 11 cottages are set near the tidal river.  A boat ramp is popular with anglers who often take to the water before sunrise, and fishing charters can easily be arranged.  Just down the road is the ferry to famous Cumberland Island National Seashore known for secluded beaches and wild horses. 

The park’s nature trail winds through forest and salt marsh, and hikers may see gopher tortoises, fiddler crabs, herons and other birds.  A nature center features fish, snakes, turtles and other animals native to coastal Georgia.  Birders will enjoy the large bird blind with space for binoculars and camera lenses.  Learn more about Crooked River State Park by calling 912-882-5256.

January 2013 Events

Divided By Region

Below are just some of the many programs happening in January.

Check GeorgiaStateParks.org/events for a full calendar.



Growing Up Wild
Thursday, January 10, 17, 24 and 31
Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen
Bring your child age 3-7 to experience “Growing Up Wild," an early childhood education program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature, plus invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 878-2201 ext. 305.

Beginning Bee Keeping
Saturday, January 12, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen
Learn about basic bee keeping and how to start a hive. Professional honey producer Berry Wright will discuss assembling equipment and installation of bees. A trip to the apiary will be included, weather permitting. Register in advance. $10 plus $5 parking. (706) 878-3087. 

Bear Creek Guided Hike
Monday, January 21, 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. Bring water, lunch, sunscreen, and a hiking stick if you have one. Meet at the G3 Building near the tennis courts. Reservations required. $15 plus $5 parking. (706) 913-7170.  

Survival Skill Series at Buck Shoals
Saturday, January 19, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen
The first part of the series is Basic Land Navigation, including an explanation of the compass and how it works, true north vs. magnetic north, bearing/azimuth, terrain features and contour lines, application of the compass to the map and map to the compass, and more. Register in advance. $20 - $95. Call for details. $5 parking. (706) 878-3087. 




Family Nature Quest
Saturday, January 5, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Crooked River State Park – St. Marys
Want to learn about nature as a family? Come to our “fundana” activities each month and learn about a different topic. There will be 12 quests and at each program the family will receive one bandana about the topic. The family that completes the most quests will receive a bonus bandana for the entire family. Register in advance. $10 per family $5 parking. (912) 882-5256. 

Wormsloe’s New Year’s Resolution Run
Saturday, January 5, 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Wormsloe Historic Site – Savannah
Wormsloe is partnering with Savannah's NonStop Fitness for the first-ever 10K trail run through the historic site. Runners will pass through three centuries of history while enjoying some of the best natural scenery on the Georgia coast. Register at www.active.com or call 912-349-4902. $35 through Active.com. (912) 349-4902. 

Solar Astronomy 
Saturday, January 26, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Crooked River State Park – St. Marys
View and explore our closest star, the sun, with The Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project. Learn what the interior and surface of stars are like and what powers them. Look through specialized solar viewing scopes to see sunspots, calcium K images and more. $2 plus $5 parking. (912) 882-5256.



Atlanta Audubon Beginners Bird Walk
Saturday, January 5, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge
This field trip is designed for anyone interested in learning more about birds, habitats critical to some species, and organizations like the Audubon Society, which are dedicated to bird conservation. Meet at the Park Office/Trading Post. $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.  

High Falls Historic Walk
Saturday, January 5, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
High Falls State Park – Jackson
Join our naturalist on a 1.5-mile walk and learn about the history of the once-prosperous town of High Falls. Hike also includes a rare chance to tour inside the old powerhouse building, which provides great photo opportunities of the Towaliga River. Please wear sturdy shoes. Meet at the Visitor Center. $5 plus $5 parking. (478) 993-3053. 

Winter Wonder Hike on Brantley Horse Trail
Saturday, January 12, 10 a.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge
Join a park ranger on this winter hike on the Brantley Horse Trail. This 5 mile guided hike is the perfect winter outing and a cure for the winter doldrums. Take a camera to record the scenery, and a light lunch to enjoy on the way. This hike is recommended for children over 10 years old, and adults that are in good walking shape. Meet at the Park Office/Trading Post. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 557-3001. 

Winter Wonder Hike on Lake Rutledge Horse Trail
Saturday, January 19, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge
Join a Park Ranger on this 4-mile hike on the Lake Rutledge Horse Trail. Enjoy the scenery of rolling hills, gentle streams, and lots of forest scenery. Bring a camera to record your journey, and a light lunch to enjoy on the way. This hike is recommended for children over 10 years old, and adults in good walking shape. Meet at the Park Office/Trading Post. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 557-3001. 

Dulcimer Jam
Saturday, January 19, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Mistletoe State Park – Appling
Join musicians from around the state as they play dulcimers, fiddles, banjoes, basses, and harmonicas. You can sit back and enjoy the music or join in with an instrument of your own. $5 parking. (706) 541-2146. 




Sun Over Panola Mountain
Saturday, January 5, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Have you ever wondered what the sun looks like up close? Take a look at the Earth's closest star. Using special telescopes that are safe for your eyes, you will be able to see the sun's surface and the fusion of hydrogen on the sun. Join us for some super solar system fun. We will meet at the Nature Center. $5 parking. (770) 389-7801. 

Atlanta Audubon Society Bird Walk
Sunday, January 6, 8 a.m. – 11 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. 

Candlelight Hike to the Mill
Saturday, January 12, 7 p.m. – 9 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. Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are required. 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.  

Backcountry Geology Hike
Sunday, January 13, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs
Geologist and Friends member John Johnston will lead a moderate three-mile hike identifying rock types and explaining how they formed. Explore the beautiful Jack's Branch area and the seldom-visited rock quarry of New Manchester. Meet in the Interpretive Center. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871. 

Full Moon Night Hike
Saturday, January 26, 5:30 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Listen to whippoorwills and owls as the sun slowly sets and the moon begins to rise. Panola Mountain is one of the best places to see the wildlife of the night. Bring flashlights and hiking boots. Meet at the nature center 15 minutes before each program. Register in advance. $7 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801. 

“Rapid to Ruins” Full Moon Hike
Saturday, January 26, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs
This 1.5-mile hike is moderately difficult and goes inside the Civil War-era textile mill ruins of New Manchester and follows the lovely rapids (up to class IV) of Sweetwater Creek. A flashlight and sturdy, closed-toe shoes are required. No children under 6 or dogs. Meet inside the Visitor Center. Register in advance. $6 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

Check GeorgiaStateParks.org/events for a full calendar.

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