Due to heavy erosion from extremely high water levels in Lake Lanier of the past several years, the Corps of Engineers has temporarily closed Old Federal Campground.
“The erosion is severe enough that it has become a safety issue,” said Tim Rainey, operations project manager at Lake Lanier. “We considered closing Old Federal in 2019 because of the damage at that time but decided to wait another year. Now, we’re at the point that we don’t have much of a choice.
“With multiple high-water and near-flood lake levels over the past 18 months, the damage further progressed,” he said. “The lake is still above full pool (as of the end of April), and until the water levels go back down, we won’t be able to fully assess the extent of the damage.”
Old Federal Campground at Lake Lanier and other parks at the lake were scheduled to open in late March. However, with the safety challenges of COVID-19, openings have been delayed until at least May 18.
“The delay from COVID-19 allowed us the opportunity to fully coordinate the closing of Old Federal with the Mobile District,” Rainey said. “That also includes canceling the more than 800 reservations for this year at the campground and beginning to process refunds.”
The Corps has received numerous telephone calls at the Buford Dam office about the temporary closure.
“The assessment, repairs, and reopening are dependent on receiving funding for the work,” he said. “We fully intend to open Old Federal Campground when the repairs can be completed. However, at this time, there is no estimated date for re-opening until we know we have the funding to do the work.”
In 2019, the Corps completed extensive repairs to West Bank Park that had been caused by shoreline erosion and high water. It was to have opened in late March as well.
“Much of these repairs are also due to the aging infrastructure of the lake, its parks, campgrounds, bathhouses, and facilities,” he said. “The lake was filled over 60 years ago and we, the Corps, are doing as much as possible to keep these resources in good repair for the public’s use and enjoyment while balancing that use with environmental stewardship.”