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Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine

Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites Celebrates 85th Year Anniversary

May 07, 2016 11:00AM ● By Melanie Heisinger

2016 marks Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites’ 85-year anniversary, and the parks are commemorating with several programs throughout the year, including a state-wide hike for National Trails Day on June 4 and the launch of the Hidden Gems series.

Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites encompass 85,000 acres across the state, from the high mountain peaks of North Georgia to the coastal plains and marshlands on Georgia’s East Coast. The Georgia State Park System was founded in 1931 with just two properties and has now grown to more than 60 sites that protect Georgia’s natural resources. 

Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites is home to two of the oldest state parks in the country, Indian Springs and Vogel, which were opened in 1931. The formal development of state parks in the United States began in the early 20th century and grew out of the National Parks movement. From there, the State Park System grew rapidly as a result of the cooperation, work and contributions of the National Park Service, Civilian Conservation Corps, and other agencies. 

Since its early beginnings, the parks have flourished and have grown to rent out boats, bicycles, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards, in addition to a variety of overnight accommodations such as cabins, parks offer tent and RV camping, yurts, and lodge rooms. To make reservations for accommodations, visitors can go online to or call 1-800-864-7275. 

In 1991, the parks began implementing a parking fee, and since that date several million dollars has gone back into park repairs and improvements, including additional programs such as archery lessons, full-moon paddling, cave tours and fishing charters. Clubs such as the Park Paddlers Club, Muddy Spokes Club, RV Club, Canyon Climbers Club, and a soon-to-launch Tails on Trails Club for dog walking encourage visitors to check off destinations for hiking, biking and paddling at multiple parks. For 2015, more than 7.5 million visitors frequented Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. A full history of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites is available online at and a vintage gallery of photos is also available at

Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites will celebrate its 85th anniversary with special programming that is open to the public, including ranger-led hikes, kayak tours, caving, geocaching at the parks and historic sites on National Trails Day, June 4, 2016. This will also mark the start of Get Outdoors Georgia Month, which runs throughout June.

Also new for 2016 is Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites’ Hidden Gems series. Few of the little-known locations, artifacts or historical features are mentioned online or in brochures. Instead, visitors are encouraged to explore what’s hidden in Georgia’s backyard during events throughout the year. Programs range from guided hikes to lake paddles – even behind-the-scenes tours. Check for a complete list of programs spotlighting these secrets.

The public can get involved with the 85th anniversary by sharing experiences and photos from the parks on social media. Post stories on Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites Facebook page Special 85th merchandise is available for purchase at park and historic site Visitor Centers, including hats, shirts, and patches.

About Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites


Georgia’s State Parks are affordable destinations for vacations and quick getaways. Waterfalls and lakes, salt marsh and mountains are just some of the beautiful environments of the state parks.  Georgia State Park Golf Courses offer the best variety and value around. With eight golf courses to choose from, each features natural settings and picturesque surroundings, as well as fun and challenging play. Most state parks offer fishing, boating, hiking, camping, geocaching, birding and more.  Accommodations include campsites, cabins, lodges, even yurts, and vary by park.  Among the Georgia State Historic Sites are presidential homes, ancient Indian mounds, battlefields, plantations and even a gold museum. Georgia’s public libraries have ParkPasses and Historic Site Passes that can be checked out like a book.

Content courtesy Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

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