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Ask The Times: Is Lake Lanier the most-visited lake?
Lake Lanier

eIf you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following question was submitted by a reader and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

Is Lake Lanier the most visited lake in the world?

That distinction couldn’t be confirmed, but Nick Baggett, the Army Corps of Engineers’ natural resource manager at Lanier, did say the lake is the most visited among 400-plus Corps projects nationwide.

And the lake, which borders Hall, Lumpkin, Dawson, Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, draws more visitors than some major international tourist attractions.

At 11.8 million visitors annually, the lake is ahead of the Louvre museum in Paris, which draws 8.1 million, and Shanghai Disneyland’s 11 million. And in the U.S., Lake Lanier is not far behind EPCOT, which attracts 12.2 million, according to an index produced by the Themed Entertainment Association.

The U.S. has some popular lakes, including one close to home — Lake Hartwell, at the Georgia-South Carolina line. A Greenville (S.C.) News report from 2018 says the lake receives more than 10 million visits per year.

About 3 million people visit Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada line, according to Tahoe Facts, a report prepared by an environmental engineer working with University of California, Davis, and Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

And the National Park Service reported about 5 million visitors along the Great Lakes National Seashore on the Canada-U.S. border in 2017.

Baggett said in a May 2019 interview that the Corps counts people using underground road counters in every park, marina and leased area,.

"(A vehicle) applies a certain weight amount and adds a number (to the counter)," he said.

Lanier’s 11.8 million doesn’t count the number of cars that cross Buford Dam or any of the bridges that span the lake, Baggett said.

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