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Learn how to survive in the wild at Smithgall Woods
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Survival Skill Series

Where: Smithgall Woods State Park, 61 Tsalaki Trail, Helen

Session 1: Basic Land Navigation at Buck Shoals, Jan. 19

Session 2: Advanced Land Navigation Course at Buck Shoals, Feb. 2

Session 3: Survival Preparation and Skills Course Series, Feb. 16

Session 4: Survival Preparation and Skills Course Series, March 9

How much: $20 first session, $30 each additional session, $95 for series; $5 for parking

More info: 706-878-3087,

Do you have the skills it takes to survive in the wilderness?

If not, Smithgall Woods State Park will host the first session of the Survival Skill Series at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 19.

The park has offered a land navigation session before but these new series are to “focus on survival skills,” said Johnna Tuttle, interpretive ranger at Smithgall.

Retired Army Special Forces Master Sgt. Bob Finke will instruct the four-part series on how to use basic skills to survive among wildlife.

In the first session Jan. 19, Finke will discuss basic land navigation. This entails learning the parts of a compass and how to read and identify map distances.

“We want people to get hands-on experience with using a compass and navigating with maps,” Tuttle said.

In session two, students will do mildly strenuous activities along the hills and woodlands, so physical fitness is necessary.

Session three examines dangerous animals and insects in Georgia and how to plan and be equipped to battle such creatures.

The final session will brief students on how to survive if stranded or lost in the woods for an extensive amount of time.

Tuttle expressed the Survival Skill Series are to help people “gain knowledge about things we once knew how to do.”

Registering in advance is a must. The cost will be $20 for session one alone, $30 for each session after and $95 for all four sessions.

To register in advance and to find out more information on the Survival Skill Series, call 706-878-3087 or visit

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