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When and where to learn more about Lake Lanier recreation study
Boating 8.jpg
Boaters cruise around Lake Lanier on Sunday, June 30, 2019. - photo by Scott Rogers

From seaplanes to erosion control, the Army Corps of Engineers is considering a number of recreation changes to its 33-year-old master plan for Lake Lanier.

The current plan “is in need of revision to address changes in regional land use, population, outdoor recreation trends and Corps of Engineers management policy,” the Corps says on its website.

Dawsonville

When: 4-9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24

Where: Kilough Elementary, 1063 Kilough Church Road

Gainesville

When: 4-9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25

Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road

Cumming

When: 4-9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26

Where: Central Park Banquet Room, 2300 Keith Bridge Road

Buford

When: 4-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27

Where: Lanier Project Management Office, 1050 Buford Dam Road


Area residents can get updated on a recreation study being done of Lake Lanier at four open houses, including one Tuesday, Feb. 25, in Gainesville. The meeting is set for 4-9 p.m. at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

The Corps will provide results of a study reviewing current and future recreational needs and capacity on the lake. The Corps started the study in October 2017.

According to the Corps, the results will be used to update the Lake Lanier Master Plan, which has been described as a “comprehensive land and recreational management tool” for the lake.

The recreational study is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

An updated draft master plan is expected to be finished, along with an environmental assessment, by the end of 2020, the Corps said.

The information will be the same at each of the four public meetings spread around Lake Lanier, and will cover a number of topics, including identifying non-recreation areas for erosion control projects, adding paddle sports launching and docks, and expanding hunting opportunities, according to the Corps.

One of the more potentially touchy proposals is whether to allow seaplanes to land on Lanier.

Lanier Seaplane Pilots Association began pushing the activity years ago.

Pilots “want to be able to use the lake for recreational use, just like everybody else does,” said Troy Wheeler of the association in 2014. “We’re all licensed, insured, responsible people, not 17-year-olds with a Jet Ski and a six-pack.”

“I’m hoping our dream comes true,” Wheeler said last week. “We want to be good neighbors of the lake, just like everybody.”

Jennifer Flowers, executive director of the Lake Lanier Association, said the group plans to have someone at each of the four meetings.

“Due to its size and the locations of various amenities, Lake Lanier has different use patterns,” she said.

“The north end of the lake is not utilized in the same way as the south end. These various use patterns lead to different community concerns around the lake. In addition, the impacts of the proposed management actions are different to the various stakeholders around the lake.

“Boaters, fishermen and homeowners all may view the proposed actions differently.”

Forsyth County resident Lu Treadway said she has shared meeting information with others in a Facebook group of Lake Lanier residents she helps manage.

“I would hope anyone with interest or investment around the lake attends as well,” she said. “A lot has changed since the previous master plan — more people visiting the lake, more boats on the lake and bigger boats, at that.”

Clyde Morris, attorney for Lake Lanier Association, said he will be looking “primarily for changes that might negatively affect people and businesses associated with the lake, as well as any updates that might have unintended consequences for the Corps’ operations.

However, he added, the master plan “is designed to be a set of guidelines rather than rigid rules, so my expectation is that greater scrutiny will be needed for the upcoming revisions” to the Corps’ Shoreline Management Plan, which is scheduled for 2021.

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