Due to COVID-19, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will postpone the opening of Allatoona Lake’s seasonal campgrounds until June 1 at the earliest. Along with Allatoona Lake, the decision also applies to campgrounds at Lake Sidney Lanier and Carters Lake.
According to Tuesday’s Corps news release, “We understand that as the summer recreation season approaches, this latest update on the ongoing COVID-19 emergency comes as a disappointment to many. However, the Corps' highest priority — as we demonstrate each year with our aggressive water safety campaign and training programs — is the health and safety of the visiting public, and the safety of our staff and volunteers. The ongoing impacts of COVID-19 are no less of a public safety concern to USACE, and we appreciate the public's understanding as we move, with caution, back to eventual normal operations.”
The recreation sites’ reopening will be “dependent on local conditions as measured by data and trend lines collected by local, state and national public health resources,” the release stated.
Those who have already placed reservations at the now closed campgrounds will be granted full refunds. Campers should receive their refunds 10 business days following their reservation’s start date. If a problem arises concerning refunds, campers need to call 678-721-6700 or complete the “contact us” online form at www.recreation.gov/contact-us.
“The first set of Allatoona campgrounds were set to open in late March,” said Christopher Purvis — lead ranger over partnerships, public awareness and volunteers for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Allatoona Lake — referring to McKaskey Creek, Payne, Victoria and Sweetwater campgrounds. “The second set of campgrounds [Old Hwy. 41 No. 3 and Upper Stamp Creek] were to open in mid-May. McKinney Campground already had a delayed opening because of the installation of sewer lines in the park by Bartow County. Besides McKinney, the other campgrounds now have a tentative opening date of June 1, 2020.”
In addition to attracting nearly 7 million visitors annually, Allatoona Lake also is home to the most popular campground in the country.
“Once campgrounds open,” Purvis said, “there are mix of duties across the board from rangers to contractors and volunteers that must be completed, such as checking in/out campers, assisting visitors with reservations, checking computer reservations, answering campground questions, issuing passes, checking on rule violations, checking restrooms, cleaning restrooms, cleaning campsites, patrolling campgrounds, handling computer issues, campground maintenance, water safety, visitor assistance and more.
“The most popular campground on Allatoona Lake is McKinney located in Acworth, Georgia. It is the busiest Corps campground in the nation and collects more fees than any other campground. Normally open year-round, it is temporarily closed due to a sewer line being installed by Bartow County. We're not sure when McKinney will reopen, basically when the line is finished. The installation process of the sewer line has been delayed due to the COVID-19 situation but work has begun.”