Four of Georgia’s State Parks have been recognized among the 2015 Top 100 Family Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in the U.S., according to Take Me Fishing. Those selected include Tugaloo on Lake Hartwell, High Falls near Jackson, Fort Yargo in Winder and Georgia Veterans in Cordele. In total, 25 states’ parks or recreation areas are represented in the Top 100 list.
The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Take Me Fishing campaign initiated the nationwide vote to provide a list of best family-friendly places to experience the joys of boating and fishing. Criteria for the top places to fish and boat included having a public body of water within an hour of a major city with good fishing opportunities, and family-friendly amenities.
“Fishing and boating are great ways to spend time with family and friends; and most people aren’t even aware that by participating in the sport, they’re actually helping to conserve our environment,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “We’re encouraging outdoor enthusiasts across the country to pick a park on our Top 100 list, get out on the water with family and friends and create lifelong memories during National Fishing and Boating Week [June 6-14].”
Georgia’s winning state parks include:
- Tugaloo State Park (Lavonia) -- Situated on a wooded peninsula, Tugaloo’s cottages, yurts and most campsites offer spectacular views of 55,590-acre Lake Hartwell. During summer, the lake is a popular destination for swimming, water skiing, sailing and boating. Tugaloo State Park boasts a six-lane mega ramp used for large fishing tournaments and easy lake access. Fishing is excellent year-round, and large-mouth bass are plentiful. http://gastateparks.org/Tugaloo
- High Falls State Park (Jackson) -- Located northwest of Macon, High Falls State Park is named for tumbling cascades on the Towaliga River. Boat rental, ramps and fishing docks provide easy access to the park’s lake, known as one of Georgia’s top fishing spots for hybrid and white bass. Overnight visitors can choose from a spacious campground or lakeside yurts, which are like canvas and wood tents. http://gastateparks.org/HighFalls
- Fort Yargo State Park (Winder) -- Located between Atlanta and Athens, this popular park features a 1792 log fort built by settlers for protection against Creek and Cherokee Indians. Today, visitors come to Fort Yargo for its wide variety of outdoor recreation and scenery. Mountain bikers and hikers can test their endurance on 18 miles of trails. A 260-acre lake offers a large swimming beach, fishing and boat ramps. http://gastateparks.org/FortYargo
- Georgia Veterans State Park (Cordele) -- Established as a memorial to U.S. veterans, this park features a museum with aircraft (including a Boeing B-29A), armored vehicles, uniforms, weapons, medals and other items from the Revolutionary War through the Gulf War. An 18-hole golf course, along with 8,700-acre Lake Blackshear and proximity to I-75, make this one of Georgia’s most popular state parks. A sandy swimming beach is the perfect place to cool off during Georgia summers. http://gastateparks.org/GeorgiaVeterans
The release of Take Me Fishing’s Top 100 list kicks off the celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW), which takes place June 6-14, 2015. Citizens are encouraged to visit local parks and other fishing spots, perhaps one of the Top 100, during NFBW. Other ways to celebrate include:
- Free Fishing Days: Perfect for those who are new to the sport or who want to mentor others, most states offer Free Fishing Days that allow the public to fish without having to purchase a fishing license. June 6, June 13 and September 26 are free days in Georgia.
- Conservation through Participation: Buying a fishing license and registering a boat helps fund efforts to conserve our natural waterways through projects such as fisheries research, habitat improvement, fish stocking, aquatic education and fishing and boating access facilities such as docks and boat ramps.
- Special Events: Sites all over the country will host events, such as fishing derbies, regattas, boating demonstrations, festivals and more.
- #FirstCatch: Capture moments fishing and share them with others online using #FirstCatch.
For additional details on National Fishing and Boating Week, visit TakeMeFishing.org. For Georgia fishing information, visit GeorgiaWildlife.org. To learn more about Georgia’s State Parks, visit GeorgiaStateParks.org or call 1-800-864-7275.