A boat that has become an unsightly, unwanted local landmark near Bald Ridge Campground on Lake Lanier in Cumming is about to sail away with help from a group that protects and maintains the lake.
An abandoned houseboat that has been beached since at least 2010 on the bank of a small lake cove near Sinclair Shores Road just east of the city will be removed Monday, Feb. 27, according to Joanna Cloud, executive director of the Lake Lanier Association.
“This vessel was left abandoned many years ago and has been a long-standing eyesore on the shoreline,” Cloud said. “The vessel has been declared as debris by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”
The problem has been traced back to the historic drought of 2007-08, when lake levels dropped to about 20 feet below its normal line.
Cloud has previously told the Forsyth County News that the boat’s owner did not have a dock permit and had kept the boat in his cove in Bald Ridge Creek.
When the water dried up, the man did not move his boat, so it sank onto the floor with the levels before the lake returned to normal.
After pressure from neighbors and the Corps, he agreed to float it but did not pay the vendor, so it was left sitting on the shoreline.
The boat was nicknamed “The Museum Houseboat” because it “became such a local attraction for people camping at the nearby Baldridge Campground.”
“While it certainly is an unusual sight on Lake Lanier, it ultimately is a public safety and water quality hazard that needs to be removed from the reservoir that provides our drinking water,” Cloud said.
The Corps eventually filed a lawsuit against the owner to have him pay to remove the boat, but he had “very little assets.” He then disappeared, had his house foreclosed on and stopped answering phone calls.
The Lake Lanier Association, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Corps and Forsyth County are coordinating efforts and financial resources to complete the land-based extraction.
“Given the terrain surrounding the current location of the vessel and low lake levels, water-based extraction was deemed infeasible,” Cloud said.
This will be the third vessel to be removed using funds allocated by the state of Georgia for fiscal year 2017 specifically for such instances on Lake Lanier.
Cloud said Forsyth County is matching a portion of the state funds for this project.
“Marine Specialties and Renfroe Mining and Grading are the contractors working on this project,” Cloud said, “and they will be using large earth moving type equipment to remove the vessel.”