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Don Carter State Park to partner with businesses

State recreation area presents free seminar for companies

POSTED: February 26, 2014 12:08 a.m.

Don Carter State Park in North Hall County wants area businesses to cash in on the tourism it’s generating from its spot off Lake Lanier.

“One of the benefits of having a state park in your community is all the business that it generates for the local (merchants),” park Manager Will Wagner said.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau are holding a free seminar, “Doing Business With Don Carter State Park,” set for 10 a.m. to noon March 5 at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road.

“Since Hall County has its first state park, nobody really knows the process of what you need to do to be a vendor or concessionaire for the state parks,” said Jay Lawson, marketing assistant for the CVB.

Mallory Barfield, a DNR contract specialist, is scheduled to speak at the event. She couldn’t be reached for comment.

The seminar also will feature Wagner, who has managed the park since its July opening.

“What we’re trying to focus on is how the park can be a venue for local businesses and groups that can use us as something to boost their facilities,” he said. “We’re looking at fishing and boating opportunities — anything that sort of fits our realm of business.”

The 1,316-acre park at 5000 N. Browning Bridge Road, or off Clarks Bridge Road, features camping, boat ramps, fishing, picnicking, playgrounds, hiking and a large swimming beach, as well as eight rental cabins.

An event flier suggests recreational service, special event and program providers consider attending the seminar. Those who might be interested include fishing guides, caterers, artists and anyone associated with fairs and festivals.

“We (plan to) build a relationship with businesses and act as another outpost for them,” Wagner said. “And that works for us in that it provides more entertainment and recreational opportunities for our guests.”

Potential vendors will meet with park officials, who will determine if a particular service or event is the right fit. A Civil War re-enactment, for example, might be more appropriate at a park that’s steeped in that history, such as Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site in Dallas.

Weddings, on the other hand, might be big business, especially with the cabins, nature settings and Lake Lanier hugging the property.

“We’re talking to some local tent companies” as potential vendors, Wagner said.

“Instead of our guests coming to us and being scattered about what to do, where to go, we want to have all these businesses on call. We’d have our little Don Carter Yellow Pages, if you will.”


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