Amicalola Falls State Park, a crown jewel for Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites, celebrated the opening of a new visitor center, thanks in part to a grant from the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program. State and local leaders, Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials, members of the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund Board of Trustees, and others gathered for the ribbon-cutting at the new Amicalola Falls State Park Visitor Center.
The Board of Trustees of the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund, pictured left to right: Eddie Canon, Aaron McWhorter, DNR Commissioner Walter Rabon, PHSD Director Angie Johnson, WRD Director Ted Will, and EPD Director Jeff Cown.
“Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge continue to amaze 350,000 Georgia residents and regional guests annually,” said Charles Burton, Executive Director of the North Georgia Mountains Authority. “This new Visitor Center is a perfect complement to Amicalola’s beautiful mountain lodge, 829 acres, the Appalachian Trail, and Georgia’s tallest waterfall. The Visitor Center provides Coral Hospitality and their Amicalola team a world-class facility to ensure guest expectations are being exceeded for decades to come.”
The new Visitor Center, which replaces the outdated 50-year-old building, will serve as the main gateway to the Appalachian trail. Amicalola Falls, one of the highest cascading waterfalls in the Southeast, boasts some of the highest visitation rates, drawing individuals from all over the globe. The recently completed facility will create an all-around enhanced experience for visitors, providing dedicated exhibit spaces for the park and the Appalachian Trail, increased retail space, a coffee bar with ready-made food options, improved parking, a multi-purpose meeting room, offices, and new public restrooms.
“The opening of the new Visitor Center at Amicalola Falls State Park comes at a perfect time as the park is about to enter one of its busiest times of year – peak leaf season,” said Walter Rabon, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Rabon also serves as Chairman of the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund Board of Trustees.
“The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program, which provided a large amount of the funds needed to construct the Visitor Center, will continue to financially support worthy conservation and outdoor recreation-related projects throughout the state. We look forward to the many more projects funded by the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program, benefiting Georgia residents, visitors, wildlife, and more.”
Much of the funding for the project was provided through a $2.5 million Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program “Conserve Georgia Grant” approved by the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund Board of Trustees, Board of Natural Resources, and the Appropriations Subcommittees of the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate over Georgia DNR’s budget. Additionally, financial support and contributions were given by The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, The Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, Friends of Amicalola State Park, Len Foote Hike Inn Board, and more.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
The mission of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is to sustain, enhance, protect, and conserve Georgia's natural, historic and cultural resources for present and future generations, while recognizing the importance of promoting the development of commerce and industry that utilize sound environmental practices. This work is conducted by DNR’s five operating divisions which include: Coastal Resources Division; Environmental Protection Division; Law Enforcement Division; State Parks & Historic Sites Division; and Wildlife Resources Division.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA OUTDOOR STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM
The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act (GOSA) was approved by the Georgia General Assembly in 2018 and later overwhelming approved by Georgia voters with 83% support. This is the state’s first dedicated funding mechanism to support parks and trails as well as protect and acquire lands critical to wildlife, clean water, and outdoor recreation across the state of Georgia. Since the program’s establishment in 2019, GOSA has allocated over $97 million of funding to 50 conservation and outdoor recreation projects across Georgia. Grantees have committed more than $175 million to match these grant funds, for a total investment of almost $300 million.
For more information, contact
Trevor W. Santos, Deputy Commissioner – 404-656-3505, Trevor.Santos@dnr.ga.gov