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Ga. state park fees waived Saturday
Admission, parking to be free as part of promotion
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Visiting any Georgia state park or historic site this Saturday won’t cost you a dime when it comes to state fees.
Thanks to Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites, all parking fees and admission fees will be waived as part of “Your State Parks Day,” said Kim Hatcher, the state park public affairs coordinator for Georgia.
“The celebration brings attention to ways that parks enrich communities,” she said. “Parking is normally $5 at state parks, and admission ranges from $2.50 to $10 at state historic sites.”
The celebration is “to remind Georgians that state parks and historic sites belong to them,” said Andy Fleming, the executive director of the Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites. “Parks add so much to our lives. We’re hoping more people will visit the state park closest to their homes and that they’ll join one of the service projects happening that day.”
Special projects and programs are being held at various state parks in conjunction with the event.
Visitors can enjoy new kayaks at George L. Smith State Park in Twin City as they help with a beautification project at the blackwater swamp. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to Hatcher, who recently visited the park.
Entrances to the park are located on Georgia Highway 121 and U.S. Highway 80 West.
At Magnolia Springs State Park, nothing is scheduled except fun, Hatcher said. The park is located off U.S. Highway 25 near Millen.
Wormsloe Historic Site and Skidaway Island State Park in Savannah are hosting special cleanup events and other activities, including “Colonial cricket games” at Wormsloe and beautification activities at Skidaway, from 9 a.m. until noon, Hatcher said.
The second annual Wiregrass Festival will be held Saturday at the Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park in Reidsville, just off Georgia Highway 121.
There will be a 5K run hosted by the Tattnall County Chamber of Commerce, Hatcher said.
In Mitchell, the Hamberg State Park will have a park cleanup event as well as a grist mill operating, with ground corn available, she said.
Other parks across the state are holding similar activities; at Fort Yargo in Winder, mountain bikers will work on trails; at Hard Labor Creek in Rutledge, rangers will lead a wildlife kayaking expedition, and at Unicoi in Helen, visitors can help clean up Smith Creek.
A full calendar of events can be viewed at http://gastateparks.org.
At most parks, visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, boating, geocaching, picnicking, golf and numerous other activities, Hatcher said.
 “Historically significant places such as Etowah Indian Mounds and Roosevelt’s Little White House tell the story of Georgia’s rich past,” she said.
Overnight stays are available with cabins, lodges, campgrounds and yurts. Reservations can be made at GeorgiaStateParks.org/reservations or (800) 864-7275. 
The state won’t lose any revenue by offering free parking and admission because the Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites is picking up the tab, reimbursing the state for fees that would otherwise be lost.
 “We are thankful for the support that our Friends members give us,” State Parks Director Becky Kelley said.  “We wouldn’t be able to offer this free day to Georgians without their help.  Hopefully, more people will take this opportunity to explore parks that are right in their own communities.”

The day-long celebration also is in honor of National Public Lands Day and is a Georgia SHAPE Initiative, Hatcher said.
Holli Deal Bragg maybe reached at (912) 489-9414.

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