Coming Soon: Don Carter State Park

After several years of controversial dialogue between citizens who wish to preserve a very pristine part of the wilderness surrounding Lake Lanier, contractors and government officials, Don Carter State Park is scheduled to be open to the public in the spring of 2013. Lake Lanier is home to some of the most sensitive wilderness areas of Northeast Georgia and has gone through an incredible political wrangling.

The state park is approximately 1,040 acres and covers most of the north and west coastlines of Lake Lanier. When it officially opens to the public it will feature camping spots, swimming, horse riding trails, fishing, boating slips, picnic areas and everything else an outdoor enthusiast would expect from a world class state recreation zone.

Tourists and sportsman will be able to access the new state park from the North Browning Bridge Road near Gainesville. The access route will be an easy drive from many points along the Cornelia Hwy No. 23. Visitors to this park can stay in accommodations provided by many of the smaller towns in the area and remain a short drive away from Georgia’s newest preserve.

While still under construction, Don Carter State Park is the product of an immense economic stimulus package initiated by the Georgia State Government in 2009. This stimulus dedicated $1.2 billion to creating an estimated 20,000 shovel-ready jobs building new schools, bridges, libraries, roads and other types of badly needed infrastructure. This particular state park was a main earmark in the venture and will cost over $14 million to design and build.

Astra Group Inc. of Cherokee County, Georgia has secured the contract to execute the park project. Although construction is estimated to take longer than originally conceived, Astra Group Inc. is confident their work will honor the park’s legacy.

The land purchased by the State of Georgia to create the new park was previously owned and managed by the Orkin Family. The Orkin Family is famous for a massively successful pest control products line and insisted on the park’s inception.

The park is named for Don Carter, a long serving, well respected and now retired, Bureau of Natural Resources board member. Don Carter’s vision led him to prompt the State of Georgia to purchase the land for the state park from the Orkin Family. After fifteen years of ownership, the State of Georgia is now finalizing Northeast Georgia’s second state park.

This attractive new state park will not just be a recreation zone. It will produce an income for the State of Georgia. Although the park will cost an estimated $500,000 per year to maintain and operate, the cottages and marinas to be constructed will create an income for the state. The State of Georgia Bureau of Natural Resources has consulted with vacation property experts and analysts and have devised a solid system for managing the income potential of the park.

The entire Don Carter Park project has been a controversial subject for residents of Northeast Georgia. Now it has the attention of the environmental community as well. Not only has the park stirred feelings about budgets and legacies, but it now concerns endangered species.

Soon after work began on the park, nests of bald eagles with eggs and eaglets were discovered in the tree tops. Instead of shackling the project with red tape, this discovery is streamlining the park project. The contractors are more than excited to help preserve the habitat of these birds and believe the discovery will add to the attractiveness and sustainability of the park.

From all viewpoints, Don Carter State Park appears to be a gem-in-the-rough for the State of Georgia and is a premier example for citizens and politicians from many other areas.

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