10th Annual Outdoor Adventure Day at Unicoi State Park!
By Ken Riddleberger, Northeast Georgia Game Management Supervisor
Looking for a fun-filled day of outdoor activities for the whole family? We have just the ticket! The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting Outdoor Adventure Day on September 24th at Unicoi State Park near Helen.
The event will be from 10:00am to 4:00pm, weather permitting, in the large field along Smith Creek downstream from Unicoi Lake Dam. Activities geared for kids and adults of all ages include canoeing, camping, hiking, trout fishing, fly tying and casting, airgun shooting, archery and skeet shooting. There will be live wildlife shows with birds of prey, snakes, and other Georgia wildlife. Smith Creek will be stocked with trout during the day and will be open to fishing. September 24th is a free-fishing day, so Georgia residents can fish without a license. Bring your fishing poles and some bait or lures. Crickets and worms are good choices for live bait. If you don’t have a pole, but want to try trout fishing, don’t worry. Loaner poles, tackle, bait, and even some streamside helpers will be available. Just drop by the fishing tent to get set up.
Did you ever wish you could try fly-fishing, but never had the time? Now’s your chance! Experts in fly-fishing from Trout Unlimited and Unicoi Outfitters will be on hand to provide instructions on fly-casting using their equipment. You can also try your hand at fly tying and, with help from North Georgia Trout Online members, go home with a “woolly bugger” you created.
Tired of fishing? Let’s try some shooting sports. You can start on the archery range. Volunteers with the Traditional Bowhunters of Georgia will coach you shooting bows at a variety of 3-D targets. Adjacent to the archery range, DNR staff and volunteers will teach basic shooting skills using airguns. You’ll be hitting bull’s-eyes before you leave.
Next, graduate up to skeet shooting. A skeet range will be in action all day. DNR and US Forest Service instructors will be with you to guarantee you break some skeet. Shotguns, ammo and everything else you need are provided.
Need a break? Check out the live animals. Live animal shows will be ongoing throughout the day. See a variety of live reptiles and live hawks used in the sport of falconry. Talk with experts from Smithgall Woods Conservation Center. Interested in camping and hiking? Members of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club will be on hand to give you tips on making your outdoor adventure enjoyable.
If you prefer a relaxing time on the lake, sign up to paddle a canoe on beautiful Unicoi Lake. Instructors will teach you the basics and you can take a canoe trip around the lake on your own. Experts from Unicoi State Park will be there as instructors.
Although the activities are outdoors, you don’t have to “rough it”. Restroom facilities will be available and a vendor will have lunch items on-site for you to purchase. Should you want to take a break from walking, hop on the hay wagon which will be running all day in a continuous loop to get you from one location to the next. If that’s not enough, there will be a free raffle for some neat hunting and fishing prizes.
This event celebrates National Hunting and Fishing Day and National Public Lands Day. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the nonprofit group “Friends of Unicoi State Park” will co-sponsor the Outdoor Adventure Day. A Georgia ParkPass ($5/day) is required for each vehicle and can be purchased upon arrival.
Directions to the event are easy. Take GA Hwy 75 North through Helen, then turn right on GA Hwy 356 in Robertstown. Go over the Unicoi Lake Dam and past the entrance to Unicoi Lodge for two-tenths of a mile. Turn right at the brown sign for the trout stream and tennis courts and you are there! Make plans now to come celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day with Georgia’s Conservation Community. For information about other National Hunting and Fishing Day events, visit the Wildlife Resources Division website at www.georgiawildlife.com or call 770-535-5498.