A letter to Georgia’s citizens: An estimated 26,000 visitors participated in dozens of events and service projects at Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites on Saturday, Sept. 28. The occasion was “Your State Parks Day,” a celebration of National Public Lands Day hosted by Friends of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. Our Friends organization sponsored service projects with approximately 3,000 volunteers and underwrote the cost of parking at state parks and admission to state historic sites for the day.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks to all the people who have supported our parks during the past year, as well as our staff, volunteers, statewide Friends staff, and Friends chapter members who worked so hard to provide a wonderful park experience.
Our staff and volunteers enjoyed hosting programs such as fishing rodeos, storytelling and guided hikes so that our visitors would have a great visit. And, our Friends of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites volunteers worked on building trails, landscaping projects, invasive plant removal, painting, and river clean-ups. Because of this invaluable support and hard work our sites are able to keep up with necessary repair and maintenance projects. The most highly attended event of the day was Outdoor Adventure Day at James H. (Sloppy) Floyd with 3,850 participants. Cloudland Canyon, F.D. Roosevelt, Panola Mountain, Don Carter, and Red Top Mountain State Parks were also well-attended.
Every day, we hear from citizens who want to know how they can help protect Georgia’s most precious places. Joining the non-profit Friends of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites is one of the most effective ways to show support. Church groups, scouts and corporations help by hosting volunteer workdays. Even the simple act of visiting or spending the night at your local state park or historic site helps.
By supporting our state parks and historic sites through attendance and volunteering, you help ensure that Georgia’s greatest treasures are preserved for years to come. Recent economic conditions have forced the parks to do more with less and rely on the support of the local community for routine upkeep and supplies. I encourage all Georgians to get outdoors and explore our beautiful state. After all, our state parks and historic sites belong to everyone, and your support will ensure they are here for generations to come.
Becky Kelley, director
Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division
Georgia Department of Natural Resources