Community weighs in on potential state park activities

Georgia

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Muscogee County could become home to a state park.  State officials are looking into transitioning Standing Boy Creek on Lake Oliver into a state park.

State officials held a public meeting Tuesday night to ask the community what activities they would like to see in the state park.  Bird watcher Priscilla Marshall says she’s excited about the overall nature activities the state park could bring to our area.

“It’s a beautiful piece of property.  We love the habitat potential for all the birds that are migrating here or the native bird species here in that area,” Marshall said.

Becky Kelley with Georgia State Parks says the state took over ownership of about 1,500 acres of land on Lake Oliver in 2000 as part of a campaign to protect land along the Chattahoochee River.  They have enough money to develop a master plan to make the area into a state park.

“The plan will definitely be done.  How we work with the plan is dependent on the excitement of the community, the excitement of the vision of the plan and then the availability of funding in the future,” Kelley said.

Standing Boy Creek is currently a Wildlife Management Area, which is a protected area set aside to conserve wildlife.  David Smith lives within a mile of the area and wants to keep it the way it is now.

“We’ve got places for recreation.  I just don’t want to see the natural areas that we care about in our communities destroyed so more people can go put their RV somewhere.  There’s plenty of camping grounds and areas for fishing and hunting,” Smith said.

Some of the more popular options the public wants to see in the master plan include mountain biking, disc golf, and walking or hiking trails.  Kelley says these activities would help boost the local economy.

“We know that state parks have positive impacts on the local community so we would anticipate this being as close as it is to Columbus and serving Muscogee County being a very popular property and bringing in a good economic impact,” Kelley said.

Kelley says it’s too early in the planning process to discuss specific numbers.  State officials expect the master plan to be done within six to eight months.

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