Area fishermen and fisherwomen as well as kayakers and canoeists will have a new lake to explore early next year.
The Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir in southeastern Walton County is still filling, but Project Manager Jimmy Parker told the reservoir Management Board last week that he expects the lake will be open for allowed recreational use shortly after the first of the year.
At present, work is continuing on the parking lot and the restrooms at the single lake access point, a park on Social Circle-Fairplay Road just south of the bridge over the reservoir. Construction of the boat dock is complete.
Those interested in fishing on the lake will be able to use boats with electric motors or crafts without motors.
Kayaks and canoes will be allowed, but no swimming will be permitted in the reservoir.
Users will be required to pay $10 per day to use the lake.
Kiosk At Park
Visitors to the park will pick up an envelope from a kiosk at the park, similar to those used at state parks.
|Completed Boat Dock And Gangway|
The user will pay the $10 fee and place the daily parking pass in the vehicle, Parker said in an email message he sent me last week.
At the regular meeting on Nov. 14, the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Management Board agreed to purchase the day passes to be dispensed in the kiosk but put off a decision on whether to issue an annual pass for lake access.
Walton County Commission Chair Kevin Little said that there will be no discount for Walton or Oconee county residents
The reservoir is being funded by user fees paid by water and sewer customers in the two counties, not be tax dollars, Little said, and everyone will pay the same amount to use the reservoir.
Recreation Dominates Agendas
Discussion of the recreational use of the reservoir has dominated recent meetings of the Reservoir Board.
|Aug. 9, 2017, Aerial Photo|
Recreation Area In Cleared Area To Left Of Bridge
At its meeting in September, the Management Board awarded a contract of $317,106 to E.R. Snell Contractor Inc. of Snellville for construction of the boat ramp parking lot and access drive and $143,086 to E&P General Contractors Inc. of Athens for the restroom facilities at the boat ramp.
At the August meeting, the Board had awarded a contract of $69,718 for the boat ramp and gangway, $27,384 to Automated Gate Access Inc for boat ramp security and site access, and $13,850 for a well on the site.
The reservoir covers 1,370 acres and has 42 miles of shoreline. A large island is in the middle of the lake.
Parker said the date for opening of the lake to recreational use is dependent on completion of the restrooms and parking area.
Even though neither Walton County nor Oconee County, partners in the project, need water from the reservoir at present, the Management Board has decided to go forward with construction of an intake facility on the Apalachee River across from North High Shoals.
That intake facility could be used at some point in the future to divert water from the Apalachee River to the reservoir, increasing the capacity of the reservoir beyond what is possible simply with flow from the Hard Labor Creek basin.
Parker told the Board at the meeting last week that the intake would be designed to fit into the historic district at High Shoals.
The Management Board has deferred any decision on construction of a water treatment plant and distribution system until some point in the future when there is a demand for that water.
I attended the meeting of the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Board on Nov. 14. The group met in the historic Courthouse in downtown Monroe.
With the permission of Board Chair Mark Saxon, an Oconee County commissioner, I put a remote microphone on the table at the head of the table where Saxon and Parker sit.
Saxon turned that microphone off before the meeting started to hold a private conversation with others at the head of the table. When he turned the microphone back on as he started the meeting, he inadvertently switched channels from what I had set on the remote receiver.
As a result, I did not receive any audio signal.
In my effort to discover and then solve the audio problem, I mistakenly did not start the video recorder and missed the first 20 minutes of the meeting.
The remainder of the meeting is on the Oconee County Observations Vimeo site, on the channel I have created for meetings of the Management Board.
I apologize for the error.