State parks admission free this SaturdayBy SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Saturday is Your State Parks Day in Georgia, and admission is free to all Georgia state parks and historic sites — including Coweta’s own Chattahoochee Bend State Park.
Parking is usually $5 per vehicle at state parks, and admission to historic sites varies.
“It’s going to be our biggest volunteer day in a long time,” said Steve St. Laurent, trails chairman for the friends organization.
“The main focus will be on trail maintenance. We’re hoping to get every mile of trail cleaned up so that when the fall leaves start dropping it’s still easy to follow the trail and re-clear it,” St. Laurent said. “We’ll also be helping with park landscaping.” They had advertised a river cleanup, “but our 3.3 miles was paddled this past weekend and we did such a good job back in August that the river is pretty clear of trash, so we’re most likely going to cancel that activity,” he said.
A large group from Caterpillar Electric Power in Griffin will be out to do an annual service project, and also plans to feed volunteers lunch. So anyone who plans to come and work on Saturday is asked to RSVP as soon as possible.
You can RSVP to email@example.com or by calling the park office at 770-254-7271 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information about the volunteer day or the friends organization, visit www.bendfriend.com . A list of needed tools and other things volunteers can bring can be found at bendfriend.com/bendvolunteers.html .
The work day begins at 10 a.m. but volunteers are asked to be there at 9:30. Volunteers should meet at the boat launch at the end of Bobwhite Way.
Saturday is also National Public Lands Day.
The free day at the parks and historic sites is sponsored by the Friends of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites.
“We’re calling this celebration Your State Parks Day to remind Georgians that state parks and historic sites belong to them,” said Andy Fleming, executive director of the state friends organization. “Parks add so much to our lives. We’re hoping more people will visit the state park closest to their homes, and that they’ll join in one of the service projects happening that day.”
“It’s no secret that state park systems across the country are struggling with limited funds and resources,” said Fleming. “We’re helping fill that gap. And regular park visitors can help, too, by visiting more often, by staying overnight more often and by volunteering when they can.”
In addition to the monthly volunteer days, the Bend Friends are gearing up for the second annual October Outdoors at the Bend event.
October Outdoors will be held Oct. 13 from 2 to 8 p.m.
There will be food, an outdoor market, various demonstrations including the Winged Ambassadors birds of prey show, snakes from the Cochran Mill Nature Center, opossums and turtles, fishing demos, canoe instruction, information on the history and plant life of the park, and activities for the kids including pumpkin carving and hayrides. Smokey the Bear and the State Park Gopher will also be on hand.
For more information, visit www.bendfriend.com and click on “events and activities.”
Chattahoochee Bend State Park is located in western Coweta along the Chattahoochee River. To get there, take Highway 34 West/ Franklin Highway, go right on Thomas Powers Road and follow the signs.