Effective Resource Management Efforts Improving Amicalola Falls State Park

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Georgia Power and North Georgia Mountains Authority (NGMA) are partnering to improve conditions and views of one of Georgia’s most iconic landmarks and popular state parks – Amicalola Falls. At 729 feet, this is the Southeast’s tallest cascade and a major tourist attraction in the north Georgia mountains.

Because the rushing waterfall is the park’s main feature, one frequent visitor concern is the inability to fully see the falls from the bottom parking area or many sections of trail. Over the years, trees and shrubs have blocked the view, and stream banks above the waterfall have begun to erode. Additionally, silt has filled the “base-of-falls” fishing pond and negatively impacted fishing opportunities at the park.

The state will soon begin a multi-year project to improve these conditions which involves:

  • Improving the view by removing some trees and underbrush.
  • Stream-bank restoration at the “top of the falls.”
  • Improvements to the trails, bridges and overlooks.
  • Dredging the “base-of-falls” pond and restoring fish habitat. This will begin once other projects are completed.

The state park will remain open during these projects. Some sections of the trails around the falls may be closed briefly for a few hours; however, visitors will still be able to see the waterfall from other parking areas and sections of trail. The project is being funded by a $109,000 grant from the Amicalola Falls chapter of the Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites which includes substantial financial support from Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation. Arborists and crews from Georgia Power will assist with tree removal.

Once the project is completed, Amicalola Falls State Park visitors will enjoy much better views of the falls, better photography opportunities and improved fishing from the pond. Guests can also enjoy the park’s newly renovated lodge and conference center. Sitting atop the mountain with spectacular views of the Chattahoochee National Forest, the lodge features 57 guest rooms, a restaurant and conference space.

The state park is operated by the North Georgia Mountains Authority, which has contracted with Coral Hospitality for management. The park also offers 14 cabins and 25 campsites for overnight guests, plus hiking trails with access to the famous Appalachian Trail. To learn more, visit www.GaStateParks.org/amicalolafalls and www.amicalolafallslodge.com

Lonnie King accepts Piedmont College honorary degree

Civil rights pioneer Lonnie C. King Jr. of Atlanta was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Piedmont College during a ceremony Friday, June 12, at the college in Demorest.

The presentation was made during the annual meeting of the Southeast Conference United Church of Christ held this week at the college.

The honorary doctorate was just one of the honors King collected, as the Piedmont Board of Trustees also presented him with a proclamation highlighting his long career on the front lines of U.S. and international civil rights campaigns. King helped form local and national civil rights organizations, including the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, in the 1960s.

Pictured from left are Piedmont Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Perry Rettig; Dr. Lonnie C. King Jr.; Piedmont President Dr. James F. Mellichamp; and Piedmont Chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Ashley Cleere

He graduated from Morehouse College in 1969 and earned a master’s degree from the University of Baltimore. A former college history professor, in 2010 King founded the Peachtree Hope Charter School in Atlanta and plans to organize more charter schools to open doors of opportunity and achievement for disadvantaged children.


CANTON, Ga. – The Georgia Department of Transportation has completed another phase in the evaluation to reduce the number of alternatives proposed for the State Route (SR) 20 corridor from Canton to Cumming.   The Screen Two analysis reduces the larger number of alternatives to a reasonable range and allows the Department to continue refining and evaluating alternatives in preparation for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The Department is now awaiting the review and concurrence by its Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) partner.

The Department seeks to identify potential improvements along SR 20 from I-575 in Canton to SR 400 in Cumming. State Route 20 has exceeded its capacity and multiple improvements are needed to reduce congestion and improve safety and mobility in Cherokee and Forsyth counties. A series of public meetings were held to collect public input on proposed improvements in 2013.

“We wanted local input on how best to improve State Route 20 while enhancing the communities along the corridor and we got it,” said Cynthia Burney, SR 20 Project Manager with GDOT.  “Upon FHWA’s concurrence of the Screen Two report, we will return to the communities and continue the public involvement process.”

Following FHWA’s concurrence, the Department will host stakeholder meetings and public information open houses to present the results and analysis of Screen 2.

For more information about this project, please visit: http://www.dot.ga.gov/BuildSmart/Projects/Pages/I575SR400.aspx