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Shady Grove Campground: More glamping sites, long-range plan recommended by board
FCN Georgia Glamping Company 4 103118
The Georgia Glamping Company offers luxury accommodations for the outdoors, starting with 16- and 20-foot bell tents that are packed with amenities not regularly associated with traditional camping. - photo by Brian Paglia
Some big plans are in the works for Shady Grove Campground.

At a meeting on Thursday, Aug. 5, members of the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Board voted to recommend county commissioners approve a new master plan at Shady Grove Campground, which is located at 7800 Allyn Lane Memorial Way, and a new partnership with a successful glamping business at the park.

Here’s what board members, county staff and others had to say.

Shady Grove Campground

An update to plans for the campground is heading to the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.

During the meeting, members of the parks and recreation board voted to approve a proposed master plan and update for Shady Grove Campground, which includes adding new amenities and repairing existing ones.

“There are a couple of things I want to point out about this,” said Jim Pryor, Parks and Recreation director. “The original master planning for this project was developed in 2008, so what we’re looking to do is to update after 13 years, and by approving this master plan, it’s not committing us to any type of money ... but having the plan in place is important for two reasons.

“One, the Army Corps of Engineers owns this property. We have a long-term lease to develop it and maintain it, but if we approve this a submit it to the corps, and they accept it, every time we make a change we don’t have to go to [the corps’ headquarters in] Mobile, Alabama, and wait for six months for them to approve everything.”

Pryor said the plan would also allow the department to apply for grants to help fund projects at the park. 

The projects are broken down into four phases:

• Phase 1 would include site improvements and upgrades to electrical pedestals for 69 campsites, repaving driveways for 56 campsites, upgrading nine campsites for premium amenities, installation of a truck apron at the roundabout entrance, new roofs for three bathhouses and a new obstacle course, which will be managed and maintained by a third-party vendor.

• Phase 2 includes upgrades at 60 campsites, designing special event areas a lawn games space and a vendor services area, installation of the lawn games area, repave roadways and site driveways to 12 campsites and applying a topcoat to roads and driveways for 35 campsites. 

• Phase 3 is planned to include completion of the special event, lawn games and vendor services areas and shoreline protection for five campsites. 

• Phase 4 will include the replacement of three bathhouses, which parks officials said were built in the 1980s, upgrades to the park’s courtesy dock and shoreline protections for six other campsites. 

Other projects included in the master plan are removing dangerous trees as designated by the county’s arborist, removing, replacing or redesigning landscaping timbers and stairs with “safer, more durable materials,” relacing campfire rings, grills and picnic benches/tables, refreshing campsite pads, reorienting layout as needed and adding and/or replacing interior or exterior right-of-way signage as needed. 

According to county documents, the expected total cost for the projects is about $3.4 million. 

Glamping is growing

Along with a new master plan for Shady Grove Campground, a popular amenity is also expected to get an upgrade.

During the meeting, board members recommended approval of plans for a new five-year agreement with Timberline Glamping, formerly Georgia Glamping, at Shady Grove Campground and recommended approval of adding six new sites, bringing the total to 13. Under the plan, the glamping sites would be open year-round starting in 2022. Currently, the sites are open from March 5 through Nov. 29.

Co-owner Nathan Self said glamping, short for glamorous camping, has been popular since the company began renting sites out in 2018 and had, as of the meeting, been at full capacity since the season began in March. 

“We really feel like the Forsyth County area could use the additional sites,” he said. “We know that we could fill them up.”

Self said the company has opened a second location in the Augusta area and a name change was needed due to some potential projects outside the state. 

All of the new campsites for the project will be near each other and are considered “low occupancy” sites.

“On our end, Nathan and [co-owner Rebekah Self] have been excellent to work with here. I think they provide a different element into this campground that’s really made our campground takeoff. They started with four sites, moving up to 13. I don’t have any problem with that. I think that’s actually a benefit.

“The agreement we have with them, they’re like season ticket holders is what I call them. They’re paying the way for the site for the entire year, plus giving us gratuity above and beyond.”

The agreement will next go to Forsyth County Commissioners.