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Manager of the Year Award

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Fort Yargo’s Bentley wins State Park Manager-of-the-Year Award

ATLANTA, May 26, 2010 — Eric Bentley of Fort Yargo State Park in Winder was named Manager of the Year by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The award was presented during the DNR Board’s May meeting in Atlanta.

Bentley was selected due to his positive outlook and dedication to running one of the busiest state parks in Georgia. Under his guidance, the park added rental yurts, worked to manage deer populations and invasive plant species, and transferred the Will-A-Way facilities to Camp Twin Lakes. Despite being understaffed, Bentley and his employees maintain high morale and are quick to help when needed. Fort Yargo is an extremely popular park, hosting more than 450,000 guests each year.

“I enjoy meeting and helping people,” said Bentley. “That’s why I do this job. My main goal is for everyone at this park to have a good time and be safe. I also enjoy the natural resources part – managing timber and wildlife – because that’s what I learned in college.”

Bentley graduated from White County High School and has a degree in forest resources from the University of Georgia. He started his career with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources when working at Unicoi State Park as a high school student. He quickly moved up within the department, working at Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site and Kolomoki Mounds Historic Park. He has managed Fort Yargo State Park for six years.

Bentley lives in the park with his wife, Jennifer, and two sons, Trevor and Tanner.

PHOTO (left to right): Joe Yeager, Parks Region One Manager / Becky Kelley, State Parks & Historic Sites Director / Eric Bentley, Fort Yargo State Park Manager / Chris Clark, DNR Commissioner / Wally Woods, State Parks & Historic Sites Chief of Operations.