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When Old Federal Campground on Lake Lanier may partially reopen
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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction representative Randy Flint inspects a large washed out part 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

Old Federal Campground off Lake Lanier in South Hall may at least partially reopen in spring 2021, as the Army Corps of Engineers moves toward repairing the popular recreation site.

“We have received funding for storm clean-up, and we have received partial funding for shoreline erosion repairs,” said Tim Rainey, the Corps’ operations project manager at Lake Lanier. “We are currently working with our contracting office to get this work performed.”

“Our contracting work is always fluid, but we’re expecting to get (the work) awarded … within the next 30 days,” he said Thursday, Sept. 3. “And we hope to get it all done by springtime. I don’t know if we can get all of the campground (fixed), but hopefully we can get most of it.”

Rainey said he’s hopeful he can get more money to complete the repairs. “The request is still in for the rest of (the money),” he said.

Funding amounts for the work weren’t available Thursday.

The Corps closed the campground at 6219 Old Federal Road in April as heavy rains over the past few years damaged the shoreline and shoreline protection until many areas were considered unsafe, Rainey said at the time. 

“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.

powerful storm over portions of Lake Lanier on Aug. 3 also brought down trees at Old Federal campground and other corps parks.

“They’ll be cleaned up and opened according to their regular schedules,” Rainey said. 

Van Pugh North in South Hall will open as it’s repaired, as it is a year-round park. Burton Mill Day Use Park in South Hall may not reopen until spring. And Vann’s Tavern Park in Forsyth County is open, but a new bathroom will need to be built, Rainey said. 

Old Federal Campground had been closed already as part of the Corps’ response to the coronavirus pandemic. Other parks have remained open, including Old Federal Day Use off nearby Jim Crow Road. 

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

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