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Many parks, boat ramps closing as Lake Lanier continues to rise
Luca Milana, who was visiting West Bank Park in eastern Forsyth County with his family Tuesday, found his way out to one of the partially submerged picnic tables. - photo by Jim Dean


* Marinas on Lake Lanier respond to rising water levels.

GAINESVILLE — Recent heavy rains are taking their toll on Lake Lanier recreation sites.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed many area parks, boat ramps and beaches this week as result of the lake level rising above 1,073 feet above sea level.

Lanier’s normal winter full pool is 1,070 feet.

As of Tuesday, the level was at 1,074.32 feet. Corps officials said they believe that, with rainfall moving toward the lake in creeks and streams, it could top 1,075 feet by Wednesday.

Lanier’s record high level is 1075.83 feet, recorded in April 1980, corps spokeswoman Lisa Parker said.

The corps has closed or is closing Tuesday these Lanier parks:

• Sardis Creek, 2991 Antioch Church Road

• Little Ridge, 3295 Lanier Beach South Road

• Lula, 6600 Lula Road

• Long Hollow, 8525 Bryant Road

• Simpson, 3235 Simpson Park Road

• Robinson, 3555 Robinson Road.

Boat ramps have been closed or are closing at these parks:

• Toto Creek Park, 154 Toto Creek Park Road

• Nix Bridge Park, 2367 Nix Bridge Road

• Thompson Creek, 600 Thompson Creek Park Road

• Van Pugh South, 6749 Gaines Ferry Road

• Little River, 2665 Little River Park Road

• Thompson Bridge, 372 Dunlap Landing Road

• Bolding Mill, 4055 Chestatee Road

• Little Hall, 3501 Dawsonville Highway

• Keith Bridge Park, 9270 Old Keith Bridge Road

Day-use beaches are being closed at:

• Van Pugh North Park, 6838 Gaines Ferry Road

• Old Federal Park, 6175 Jim Crow Road

• Duckett Mill Park, 3720 Duckett Mill Road

• Little Hall Park

• Bolding Mill Park

• Toto Creek Park

• Keith Bridge Park

• Burton Mill Park, 6555 Yacht Club Road

• West Bank Park, 3500 Buford Dam Road

• Buford Dam Park, 1200 Buford Dam Road

The corps’ two campgrounds that are open in the winter, Bolding Mill and Sawnee, are still open, although six sites have been closed at Sawnee.

“If the [water level] gets over 1,075, we’re going to have to be looking at these areas even closer and monitoring that for closure,” said Chief Ranger Chris Arthur.

One of the biggest concerns for the corps from flooding is debris that can wash ashore, he said.

Elsewhere on the lake, flooding is taking place at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue at Clarks Bridge Park in Gainesville.

“I’ve never seen [the water level] this high before ever,” said Morgan House, venue manager.

He said he spent about six hours Monday cleaning up, especially as debris built up on the plaza side of the venue, which is off Clarks Bridge Road/Hwy. 284.

“The bottom part of the plaza is about 2 inches under water,” House said.

Those hoping for a dry spell are going to have hang on a little longer.

Several inches of rain could fall through Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

Mostly cloudy skies are forecast through Friday, then sunshine is predicted for Saturday through Monday, according to the weather service.