“The purpose of the camp is geared mainly toward people that will be camping that weekend and just an opportunity for them to make this camping trip extra special, to be able to take part in a lot of activities that maybe they didn’t know the park offers or that they’ve never done before,” Red Top Naturalist Marcus Toft said. “We do get a lot of people that say they like to camp but a lot of the time is just spent sitting around the fire or going hiking, doing sort of those usual things. So we wanted to be able to introduce them to some different activities, so that this trip will be fun for them.
“[So] then whether they come camping at Red Top again or anywhere, they [will] kind of have on their mind some activities to look for that they may be able to do at other places. [An example of this is] we’ll be doing a canoeing program. We’ve got a bunch of canoes. It was part of a grant that the state had in terms of the [Tons of] Fun initiative to get people outside. So we’ve got these canoes and we’re going to take people out into the coves. It won’t be anything too strenuous, but just a peaceful, kind of guided tour in the coves around the lake.”
Since the camp is limited in space, participants need to pre-register by calling 770-975-0055 or visiting the Park Office, 50 Lodge Road, Cartersville. The program costs $20 for adults and $15 for youth 6 to 17. There is no charge for children 5 and younger to participate.
The Family Camp program is one of many offerings Red Top is hosting this summer. Some of the other upcoming activities include the Bluegrass “Mountain Music” Concert Series, Red Top Roaster Trail Race and Ranger-led Tandem Kayaking and Canoeing Tours.
“We do try and offer a variety of special events, which require more planning and are kind of more involved, but then we also like to offer some smaller programs too for just people who want to come up for a day and who aren’t necessarily looking to make a real long investment in the day,” Toft said. “So we do canoeing and kayaking tours and we do the Family Camp that we’re going to be offering and then the Iron Pour.
“Starting here pretty soon, we’ll be doing some night hikes, some live animal programs. We do it for something for our visitors to do and again, just to take advantage of all the resources we have. We’re very lucky to have the live animals and to be on the lake and have the hiking trails. So there’s a lot we can do and we try to take advantage of that.”
Presented by Dirty Spokes, the Georgia State Parks Trail Run Series will feature competitions at four state parks, beginning with the Red Top Roaster Trail Race Aug. 3. Starting and ending at Red Top’s Park Office parking lot, the Cartersville event will offer races on 9.9-mile and 3.1-mile courses.
According to www.dirtyspokes.com, “The Georgia State Parks Trail Running points series will be tracked ⁄ recorded by our staff throughout the 2013 calendar — starting with the Red Top Roaster Trail Race at Red Top Mountain State Park and finishing with the Georgia State Parks Trail Running Race at Victoria Bryant State Park. In order to qualify for the Championship you must enter 4 of the 4 events. If there is a tie at the end of the series in any category we will determine winner by fastest overall time (Georgia State Parks Trail Run - Victoria Bryant State Park Course) — if there is still a tie we will determine winner by rock, paper, scissors!
“Your race age will be as of December 31, 2013 (last month of the series — that will keep you consistent for the entire series in the same age category). For any of the Georgia State Parks Trail Running Races where there are two distances in one day (Example: 3.1 ⁄ 6.2 Mile) you must enter the longer of the two distances to qualify for the Georgia State Parks Trail Running Series Points.”
Along with Red Top and Victoria Bryant, the series will conduct races at Unicoi and Fort Yargo state parks. For more information and entrance fees, visit www.dirtyspokes.com/red-top-mountain/.