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New figures from the GA Department of Natural Resources (GaDNR) show that Georgia’s state parks and historical sites contribute more than $1 billion to the state’s economy in 2016.  According to a GaDNR press release, officials estimate the park system’s 10 million visitors spent $1,021,984,509 on lodging, gas, food, souvenirs, activities and other items. GaDNR states that the new growth is due to new accommodations and activities increasing the value of the visitor experience in Georgia’s parks and historic sites.
“I am thrilled to announce that our guests have contributed such a significant impact to the state’s economy,” said Georgia State Parks Director Becky Kelley. “This is truly a monumental accomplishment that illustrates how important our natural and cultural resources – and those who travel to appreciate them — are to our communities.”

In recent years, the parks have added new programs and activities such as kayak rentals, stand-up paddleboards, and ranger led bicycle excursions. Also, the Park clubs target specific groups such as Canyon Climbers Club for hikers and Tails on Trails Club for dog walkers. Historical enthusiasts at the Roosevelt’s Little White House in Warm Springs is also targeted to increase the visitor experiences.

Every year, the Georgia State Parks and Historic Stites create themed based visitations and excursions to teach about the natural resources of the state such as the “Soak It In” program teaching citizens ways to play and depend on Georgia’s water. Ecology classes are also provided to encourage visitors to get outside and appreciate Georgia’s river, lakes, and marshes
Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites encompass 85,000 acres, and improvements are always taking place.  Improved accommodations have encouraged visitors to stay longer and spend more on vacations. Over the past few years, Georgia’s parks have improved, renovated or added new facilities such as yurts, biking trails, updates of tent campsites, hotel accommodations, zip lines, new horse stalls, and longer RV stays.

“We have a fantastic system of state parks and historic sites that give Georgia’s citizens and guests an exceptional experience,” said Kelley. “We’ve listened to what people want to do when they visit, and we’ll continue to offer fun ways to enjoy outdoor recreation and teach Georgia history.”
Please review entire press release for details of where all the updates are located throughout the state.

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Jeremy Spencer is currently the market and content manager for All on Georgia-Camden  and Glynn Counties. Jeremy’s focus will be local news, statewide education issues, and political commentary for the All on Georgia News Network. Jeremy has served as a education policy analyst for local legislators and state education leaders as well as a campaign strategist for local and statewide political campaigns.

Jeremy grew up in rural Southern Georgia and he has served as a healthcare provider, high school science teacher, and a state education official.  Jeremy holds degrees in science and education from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and Valdosta State University. He and his wife have lived in Camden County for 16 years and they have two teenage children. Jeremy and his family attend Christ Church Camden in Kingsland, GA.

camden@allongeorgia.com

 

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