It appears the best hope of restoring Watson Mill’s status as a state park will come in the 2012 legislative session, when local legislators will be asked to speak up on behalf of Madison County.
That’s because leaders with the Department of Natural Resources aren’t voicing any willingness to reverse course on downgrading the park to an “outdoor recreation area.”
Madison County commission chairman Anthony Dove recently sent a letter to local legislators asking their support for Watson Mill and voicing his displeasure with the DNR’s downgrade of the park, which included the layoff of three employees.
“It looks like DNR (Department of Natural Resources) has decided to go ahead and do what they wanted to do with the transitioning of the Watson Mill State Park to a recreational area,” wrote Dove in a letter he read to audience members at Monday’s BOC meeting.
Dove said the DNR is making a “bad decision.” Local leaders have voiced concern that the park will become a hub for criminal activity. They also say someone needs to be onsite to take reservations from people who want to use the park’s campsites.
“The DNR thinks they are saving money by only looking at the expense end,” wrote Dove. “They are not taking in to account the area revenue impact or the asset of the park to this area. In my opinion the park will deteriorate. It is amazing to me that the very people, DNR, who are put in charge of preserving and promoting our state’s beautiful and historical places will be, in my opinion, directly responsible for the demise of one of those such places.”
The chairman said he hopes local legislators will take up the cause of preserving Watson Mill.
“I still hope that the General Assembly and the administration of the state will realize the mistake made by the DNR and reinstate Watson’s Mill State Park funding in the next budget cycle,” said Dove.
Friends of Watson Mill to meet Saturday
On a related note, the Friends of Watson Mill State Park will meet Saturday, Oct. 15, at 9 a.m. at the main office on the Oglethorpe County side for a work detail.
At 11 a.m. the group will meet to discuss the recent events involving the park. For more information, contact Chip Chandler at 706-797-3501.
I voted Republican precisely because Republicans promised reduced government. Republicans have rightfully eliminated those parasites over at Watson Mill living off OUR tax dollars. Looking forward to seeing Republicans shut down ALL state parks and SAVE US SOME MONEY getting rid of nonsense govt. has no business being in.
Make all the state parks recreation areas. Just the land, and nature. We don't need all that other stuff turning our nature areas into entertainment theme parks!
Republicans...shuttin' down the parks! GOOD JOB! THANK YOU!