SAVANNAH, Ga. – Savannah District announced last week it will reduce park operations at Hartwell Lake beginning with the 2021 recreation season due to reduced federal funding for recreation.
The Corps intends to lease five Corps-operated recreation areas to local municipalities to reduce the overall operation and maintenance footprint in an effort to maintain a sustainable level of recreation facilities within funding restraints.
Reductions in service levels and increased volunteer efforts initiated and implemented throughout the past decade will also continue.
“In an effort to ‘right-size’ the Hartwell Project’s recreation program to operate within available budget appropriations, leasing some Corps-operated recreation areas is necessary,” said Aaron Wahus, Hartwell’s Operations Project Manager.
“Over the past several years, the Hartwell Project has been successful mitigating challenges with limited recreation budgets by leasing seven areas to local municipalities in 2014 for continued operation, reducing service levels and increasing volunteer effort to lower overall operations and maintenance costs.
Wahus said the reduction in service levels includes reducing frequency in cleaning, mowing, water safety outreach, trash collection and some maintenance.
According to Wahus, continued funding restraints along with rising operational costs due to inflation and increased operation and maintenance costs have made it necessary to lease several recreation areas to local municipalities.
The Corps of Engineers is currently in negotiations with local municipalities with the following lease actions confirmed (all starting this year):
Payne’s Creek Recreation Area, to include campground, boat ramp and multipurpose trail, will be operated by Hart County, Ga.
River Forks Recreation Area and Weldon Island Day-Use Area, to include associated boat ramps, will be operated by Anderson County, S.C.
Twelve Mile Day-Use Area, to include associated boat ramp, will be operated by the City of Clemson, S.C.
Friendship Day-Use Area, to include associated boat ramp, will be operated by Oconee County, S.C.
Visit http://www.sas.usace.army.mil/lakes/hartwell/ or call the Hartwell Project Office toll free at 888-893-0678, for the most current information on Hartwell Lake recreation facilities.