A view of tall, uncut grass around picnic table at Sardis ParkParks around Lake Lanier are experiencing plenty of activity as the temperatures soar and people seek ways to cool off. As a result, officials are asking visitors to do their part to keep the parks clean for all visitors.

“Lake Sidney Lanier and its parks generate no trash,” said Tim Rainey, operations project manager for the US Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Lanier. “Every piece of trash is brought to the lake and its parks by people.

“ ‘Pack it in, Pack it out’ and ‘Leave No Trace’ are common themes for outdoor recreation,” he said. “The Corps asks for the public’s help by practicing these themes and removing the trash they bring.”

Recreation budgets have remained flat for a decade or more resulting in reduced service levels, including reduced staff.

“Lake Lanier parks have seen an uptick in visitation, while the maintenance contracts have been reduced,” said Travis England, public affairs specialist for the Mobile District of the US Army Corps of Engineers, based at Lake Lanier. “There’s simply no budget for more maintenance, and there’s also a shortage in the Park Ranger staff.”

Rainey explained that debris/trash removal is also part of the reduced-service levels. Trash is not being collected as frequently as it was in the past. Other maintenance work has been cut back.

“Mowing acreage and frequencies have been reduced as well, not only in Sardis Creek Park but in all Corps-managed recreation areas,” Rainey said. “This was part of reduced service levels implemented in 2023.”

Specifically, Old Federal Day-Use and Sardis Park have seen an increase in debris and trash as visitation has increased.

As a way to help better manage resources around Lake Lanier, the Corps of Engineers has been working with area municipalities and other entities to create a partnership agreement for shifting park management to these organizations.

At least one such agreement is pending.

Photo: by Vicki Hope