Fall colors along with a soft breeze and sunny skies greeted visitors to Watson Mill State Park on the Madison – Oglethorpe county line Oct. 15, and about 30 of those visitors gathered on the porch of the park office to talk about what they can do to preserve a place they all love.
As of October 1, Watson Mill is no longer considered a state park by the Department of Natural Resources, but has been downgraded to an “outdoor recreational area.” For park patrons, this means a significant reduction in staff and services, but many also think it means the upkeep of the park will suffer and that crime is likely to increase, destroying the safe and family-like atmosphere they enjoy.
And for park supporter Patricia “Pat” King, and others like her, that is just not acceptable.
James “Smitty” Smith, who worked as the maintenance ranger at Watson Mill State Park for 11 years until it was downgraded Oct. 1, talks about his concerns for the park’s future at a Friends of Watson Mill State Park meeting Oct. 15. Margie Richards/staff
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