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Camping season under way at Lake Lanier parks


For more information about U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ campgrounds at Lake Lanier, call (770) 945-9531.

GAINESVILLE — With weather warming up, families are eager to begin spending weekends outdoors, and with many Lake Lanier campgrounds opening, people can enjoy the season every day.

The campgrounds, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, offer a variety of services from campsites to beaches, boat ramps and picnic areas. One of the locations, Bolding Mill Campground, is open year-round, and the others unlocked their gates April 2.

“Most of our campsites are located on or near the water, which is a big attraction for people who want to camp on the lake,” said Nick Baggett, the natural resources manager for the corps at Lanier. “Our parks either have a boat ramp on site or one nearby so people can get their boats in the water.”

Bald Ridge Creek and Sawnee campgrounds, both in Forsyth County, are officially open for camping and day use, as are the campgrounds at Duckett Mill, Old Federal, Toto Creek and Van Pugh.

Baggett noted that there are rules and regulations for park use which all people should keep in mind.

All parks prohibit alcohol on the grounds, and the maximum occupancy for a site is eight people and three vehicles. Check-in time at a park is 4 p.m., and check-out time is 3 p.m.

No one is permitted to spend more than 14 consecutive days at a campground within a 30-day span. Quiet hours at the campgrounds are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.

Shady Grove Campground, a popular northeast Forsyth recreational area, also has reopened for the spring, summer and fall seasons.

The campground at 7800 Shadburn Ferry Road is overseen by the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department. It will stay open until Nov. 8.

During the winter, Bolding Mill in northwestern Hall County near the Forsyth line is maintained by campers and volunteer campground attendants, according to Baggett. The past year was the first time the park was open year-round, and he said it was a success.

“We did receive a good bit of camping activity,” Baggett said. “In the winter, it’s a little slower with a different type of visitor. We plan to open this again this winter. The biggest success story is our use of volunteers as gate and campground attendants.”

Although the corps does not have plans to expand year-round operations to any of the other six parks, those who wish to get involved at Bolding Mill can do so through the volunteer coordinator.

“Just contact the corps and speak to a volunteer coordinator,” Baggett said. “There is an application process, and we do background checks on all of our volunteers.”

He mentioned that while no improvements have been made to the parks since last season, volunteer campground attendants and campers should try to keep the parks well-maintained.

“We have some beautiful sights, so we try to keep our campgrounds clean,” Baggett said. “We have campground attendants to help the visitors.”

Baggett also has advice to keep campers safe and keep the parks in proper condition.

“We always remind people to make sure they watch their children and don’t leave them unattended,” he said. “We try to provide a safe atmosphere but you never can be too safe. We also lock the gates at night for the safety of our campers.”