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Old Federal Campground closing indefinitely because of shoreline erosion caused by heavy rain
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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction representative Randy Flint inspects parts of Old Federal Campground Tuesday, April 21, 2020, that have been damaged due to heavy rains. The campground off Lake Lanier in South Hall has been closed indefinitely. - photo by Scott Rogers

Heavily eroded by rains, Old Federal Campground off Lake Lanier in South Hall has been closed indefinitely.

“High-water events over the last several years have damaged the shoreline and existing shoreline protection to a point where many areas are considered unsafe,” said Tim Rainey, the Corps’ operations project manager at the lake, in a news release Tuesday, April 21.

“Unfortunately, we do not currently have funding to make repairs, so the campground will remain closed until such time adequate funding is received.”

The Corps won’t be able to fully investigate the damage until lake levels drop, Rainey told The Times.

The lake was 1,072 feet above sea level on Tuesday, April 21. Summer full pool, which begins May 1, is 1,071 feet.

“There are some areas where the high water has gotten behind the gabion walls and somehow is eroding the material from behind the wall, creating sinkholes,” Rainey said. “That’s one of our unknown hazards. You can walk out on a flat, grassy surface and if the material behind that surface has eroded away, you could potentially fall in a hole.”

A gabion wall is typically a retaining wall made up of stacked stone and tied together with wire.

The campground at 6219 Old Federal Road has been closed already as part of the Corps’ response to the coronavirus pandemic. Other parks remain open, including Old Federal Day Use.

The campground is a popular destination for visitors, although numbers have slipped in recent years. It went from 47,000 visitors in 2017-18 to 30,078 in 2018-19, according to the Corps.

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