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Lake Lanier Islands puts focus on diverse attractions as lake continues to drop
Resort has some concerns for next year's spring and summer seasons
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A view of the bridge leading into Lake Lanier Islands reveals dry areas under the bridge where water once flowed. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

While many tourist-related businesses around Lake Lanier are dreading economic impacts of water levels, Lake Lanier Islands Resort has one distinct advantage — diversification.

The resort has the benefit of a golf course and equestrian center that are operational no matter how low the lake gets, said Grier Todd, the resort's CEO.

Since 2005, Lake Lanier Islands Resort has poured $70 million into renovations that include new attractions and renovated roads and sidewalks.

"It's different because they have so many different amenities on the island," said Stacey Dickson, president of the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau. "They aren't as dependent on the lake."

This time of year, the resort's biggest attraction is Magical Nights of Lights, a seven-mile holiday light display tour, which opened Friday.

"Lake levels don't affect that at all," Todd said. "If the lake levels got to be down, it doesn't impact our operations as much this time of year."

Still, the resort can fall victim to the same public perception problem from which other marine businesses suffer. Visitors watching the news about declining levels still fret about their vacations to the resort, Todd said.

Already this fall, the Islands staff has had to assure some clients, who were already booked, that the resort is still open.

"We have not shut down any operations," Todd said.

Nor did they cancel operations during the previous drought.

While the resort is trying to keep clients coming, its leader is looking into the future with some concern.

"The big worry for me is the spring," Todd said. "If we continue to have to send water downstream and we don't have enough coming in, then next spring and next summer could be really tough."

 

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