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Tight budget forces some park changes
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Forsyth County News

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to close three Lake Lanier recreation areas and alter the schedule of two others, including one in Forsyth County, next year.

Sawnee Campground and Lower Pool East and Upper Overlook day-use areas, all located around Buford Dam in Gwinnett County, will temporarily close.

And Bald Ridge Creek Campground in Forsyth and Old Federal Campground at the end of Jim Crow Road in western Hall County will open one month later than normal and close two months earlier in 2012, according to the corps.

The changes are part of an overall reduction in operations and maintenance services in the Mobile District, or throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.

"Recreation areas will remain open to the maximum extent possible," corps spokesman E. Patrick Robbins said. "However, services such as mowing, cleaning and litter pickup will be significantly reduced, especially in remote, low-use areas.

"We understand these temporary closures and reduced seasons may have a local economic impact, but our budget dictates we find savings in our recreation program."

Portions of recreation areas, known as loops, may be temporarily closed.

Facility repairs that involve an immediate public health and safety threat will continue to be resolved immediately, corps officials said.

"Our goal is to provide a continuous, quality outdoor experience for our customers as we serve the public to the best of our ability," Robbins said.