Grand opening of Cherokee Bluffs Park
When: 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 20
Where: 5867 Blackjack Road, Flowery Branch
After years of planning, development and pulling together the needed funding, Cherokee Bluffs Park in South Hall County is set to formally open Friday to the public.
Hall County officials are planning a ceremony at 11 a.m., with speakers, a ribbon cutting and light lunch.
This week, between rainfalls, workers have been sprucing up and making final touches to the park at 5867 Blackjack Road, which is off Hog Mountain Road and next to Sterling on the Lake subdivision.
The first phase of construction at the park included the development of trails, a pavilion with fireplace, a 2,500-square-foot community building with a small museum, gazebo and a 300-400 seat amphitheater.
The 168-acre park, in the works for a decade or more, cost $2.8 million to build with funding from special purpose local option sales taxes and development impact fees.
Still to come is a 16-hole disc golf course and more trail development.
“There’s so much to explore here,” parks director Mike Little said. “And there’s so much variety … with rolling pastures, pine thickets and deer in here like crazy.”
The park has been explored by some already, including those who have been busy working on the museum, which focuses on the area’s early pioneers, said area resident Teresa Owens, one of the chief organizers of the history element.
“We really want folks who live here now to know about that history, and hopefully they will respect it and protect it in the future,” she said.
As the park’s name suggests, Cherokee Native Americans are believed to have lived in the area for centuries, long before the migration of white settlers.
“We’re really grateful that the county would let us put information in that community center,” Owens said.
One of the park’s key attractions is the rock outcroppings that overlook a deep valley, where creeks run and trails have been built, along with wooden bridges and boardwalks.
The county has put up warning signs as the rocks are perched on cliffs, but with skillful exploration, visitors can get up close to the formations, including one with overhanging rock that 1800s settlers and Cherokees used as shelter.
“The property is beautiful whether (the county) does anything to it,” Owens said of the park as a whole. “We do hope the county will complete an archaeological study on the rock shelter.”
There are also plans to rebuild the historic log cabin home of Col. James Roberts at the park. The home belonging to the Revolutionary War veteran has been dismantled and is currently in storage at the Hall County Historical Society.