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Friday, July 1, 2011 - 8:18am

New State Park Opens

A new state park opened Friday. Chattahoochee Bend south of Atlanta is the first new one for Georgia in 20 years.

The state has made nearly 3,000 acres of forest land along a bend of the Chattahoochee River open to the public.

On a recent paddling trip meant to draw attention to recreation on Georgia’s rivers, Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams highlighted the park’s amenities.

"That’s one place where Georgians can enter the state park, paddle 7 miles, get out and still be in the state park. So we’re real excited about that," says Williams.

The park has six miles of trails for hikers and several camping options.

Williams says the park was in the works in 2002, long before the state’s austerity cuts, and that 38 percent of the land was donated.

Meanwhile, consultants the state hired to make state parks more financially independent reported back to the DNR board this week, saying Georgia’s parks were quote “boring.”

DNR Commissioner Williams says that was their conclusion after assessing two of Georgia’s 64 parks: Hard Labor Creek and Little White House.

"I don’t think boring was a fair assessment. What’s boring to one person is not to another. Some people enjoy birdwatching, others like to go canoing," says Williams. "Our parks offer almost everything, but with that said, things like Wi-Fi in our parks are things we’ll be looking at in the future."

Williams says the parks are trying to be 75 percent sustainable by 2015.

Some of the firm’s recommendations include holding more special events and making the parks more appealing to children.