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Program help you learn how to ‘rough it’

Amicalola Falls event teaches wilderness survival skills

POSTED: August 11, 2011 12:30 a.m.

It's going to be a busy weekend at Amicalola Falls State Park as interpretive rangers offer Wilderness Survival Weekend on Saturday and Sunday at the park.

The long running program is one of the biggest and most successful at the park, interpretive ranger Lauretta Dean says.

"We've been doing something like this for several years. We used to have a more intense instruction for adults, but then we started getting requests for courses available to the whole family," Dean said.

Dean said the park has held the current program for the past four years, with a high number of participants. The park is expecting between 400 and 500 people this weekend.

Instruction will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday morning with wilderness first aid, followed by shelter building at 11 a.m. Both will be taught by Appalachian Wilderness Guide members Alex Barge, a paramedic, and Bob Gabrielson.

From 1-4 p.m. are three one-hour courses on fire building, map and compass legibility and cordage.

Sunday's instruction begins with a 10 a.m. course on survival tips. At 1 p.m., visitors will receive instruction on identifying dangerous critters. The weekend concludes with tips on identifying edible and medicinal plant types.

With the exception of "dangerous critters," all instructional programs will take place at the visitors center, which is where participants should gather upon arrival.

"The program is not specific to outdoor and recreational activities. It is mainly how to be prepared for an emergency," Dean said.

"We could be in a survival situation because of natural disasters. We're going to teach people how to deal with it."

Dean encouraged everyone to come out and participate.

"The program is really geared for all ages. It's simplified enough for children, yet intense enough for adults. It's fun, and it's a great hands-on experience," Dean said.

Wilderness Survival Weekend is free and open to the public. There is a $5 fee for parking, as per parks policy.

Amicalola Falls is located 418 Amicalola Falls State Park Road in Dawsonville. For more information contact the park's programming department at 706-265-1969.



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