Insight

We Could Have A New State Park, Your Input is Needed

By  | 

A little over a year ago a group of local folks began exploring the possibility of creating a multi-use trail system at the Standing Boy property owned by State Parks (1,580 acres located east of River Road and south of old River Road). The property is currently managed as a Wildlife Management Area and is not utilized to its fullest extent.

The Department of Natural Resources is exploring options for turning the 1,580 acres into a state park, pending future funding. Those efforts have blossomed into the preparation of a master plan for a full-blown state park. The master plan process is currently underway, and a steering committee including numerous local individuals representing diverse interests has been assembled.

The next step is the public meeting to be held Tuesday, June 7th, 6-8pm at Columbus City Services Center.

f6cc3d91-c8f9-4e93-9716-b2ee7ff58fe5

Planning firm Lose & Associates will lead the meeting. Officials are asking citizens what kinds of outdoor recreational opportunities they would like to see at the new park. Comments also may be emailed to gastateparkscustomer.service@dnr.state.ga.us.

The public meeting is an important step in achieving a master plan consistent with the goals, uses, and benefits outlined below. Please attend if at all possible, and encourage other like-minded individuals to do so as well.

“The following provides some background, and by way of disclosure is a combination of the consensus of the local folks who have been involved (especially regarding the goals, uses, and benefits) as well as some detail regarding mountain biking for which I must claim full responsibility.  The reason it focuses heavily on mountain biking is not because mountain biking is more important than any of the other uses discussed.  Rather, mountain biking is the use most likely to be misunderstood or to generate concern. I don’t want to interfere with a healthy discussion of how the property can best benefit Columbus, but would very much like to avoid concerns about mountain biking that stem solely from misunderstandings or misconceptions.  The more the public meeting evidences a cohesive community willing to work together towards a common goal, the greater chances the following vision is realized.  Therefore, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly if you have questions or concerns, or are aware of a constituency that has questions or concerns.  My email address is blakemelton@synovus.com.” Blake Melton, member of the steering committee.

  1. Overarching Goal: Preserve the historical, archaeological, cultural and natural heritage of the property while developing recreational and educational opportunities.  I hope it goes without saying all of the proposed uses below will be thoroughly evaluated for environmental impact, etc.
  2. Benefits to Columbus:
  3. Not only enhance quality of life, but provide economic benefits in the form of attracting and retaining professional workers as well as tourism.
  4. Columbus has incredible public facilities, but no where you can truly get out in nature like you can on this property.
  5. Specific Activities: Emphasis on multi-use trail system (hiking, running, and biking); kayaking/paddle boarding/exploring river and creeks; potential for ropes course/zip line/tree climbs/etc; some sort of camping.  Also, potential for additional activities such as fishing (obviously), some type of hunting (likely bow hunting?), frisbee golf, etc.
  6. Nature of Camping:  Primitive as well as yurt/platform/cabin and potentially RV.   Regarding RVs: State parks needs annual revenues to cover annual expenses.  Their experience is that RV camping is a source of significant revenue.  I don’t get the sense they believe RV camping is innately desirable or undesirable.  It seems like it’s mainly a financial issue.  To the extent there is a desire to minimize or eliminate RV camping, I believe the most practical and effective strategy will be to demonstrate that sufficient revenue can be obtained through the other activities (i.e.,  trail user/parking fees; revenues from running and bike events, revenues from ropes course, etc.).  Discussions that only involve any negatives that may be associated with RVs will be discussions that largely miss the point.
  7. Nature of Trail System:
  8.      Some hiking-only trail; some downhill mountain-biking trail; majority multi-use.  Even with unlimited funds, likely difficult to build wholly separate hiking and biking trails of sufficient mileage to enhance tourism.  Ideally, would have up to 30 miles of trail if feasible.  You generally need something in the order of 20 miles to get someone to drive two hours or more to ride.
  9.      Trail will be of varying difficulties, and laid out in a stacked-loop design so that users can customize their experience. Trail design and other strategies (e.g., directional trails) will be used to minimize user conflict and ensure an enjoyable experience for all users.

10 Comments

  1. Summer

    June 6, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Has any thought been given as to the possibility of horse trail? I don’t know the logistics, but I do know that horse people are always looking for good trails

  2. Kimberly Wood

    June 6, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Horse Trails would be appreciated with option for horse camping. Looks beautiful.

  3. jan hyatt

    June 6, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    When we visit Vogel SP and Florence Marina, etc. we enjoy camping, paddle boats, fishing, biking and such. Camping at Devils Tower in Wyoming we enjoyed watching “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” which shows every night. Our equivalent of that might be the “Walking Dead” shows that were filmed locally (Woodbury) or “We Were Soldiers Once and Young”. It’s nice when these can be geared to families. Camping at Parks in Colorado and Jamaica we enjoyed guided horseback rides. Beautiful Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi has wood carvings are local tribal native americans placed though out the park–most impressive.

  4. Lance

    June 7, 2016 at 1:04 am

    There are already miles of trails and roads in which to bike/hike on while also giving ample space for activities such as hunting. I fear that increasing the already high volume of foot traffic will rid that area of biodiversity which is a huge attractant to hunters and wildlife viewers. Bow hunting is already a solid attractant and personally I see no need to allow more opportunities on this fairly small piece of property.

  5. Jeff

    June 7, 2016 at 3:30 am

    This is already a heavily used piece of property for bow hunting August – January. It is also open to foot traffic year round. There is no need to turn this wildlife area into another FlatRock Park plus camping.

    • Lance

      June 7, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      Amen to that. I was just talking about how it’s going to be the next flatrock park..

  6. Nuria Chaparro

    June 7, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    It is my hope that Standing Boy remain a Wildlife Management Area. It is an area where I enjoy riding horses and there would be limitations on that activity as a state park. Also, the land serves as a refuge for birds and other wildlife.

  7. Ricky Hood

    June 7, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    I think it will make an excellent park for tent / RV camping as well as other activities. I thought it should have been developed a while back when first acquired and should be very popular. I think it will be a great addition to the Georgia State Park system. The revenue will be a huge benefit.

  8. Chris

    June 8, 2016 at 3:52 am

    Please let us bow hunters have some space so we can enjoy our sport! We have plenty of bike trails/ running trails ect throughout Columbus! We bring added economic value as well if not more than most! Not to mention doing our part in conservation and over all Managemnt of the land!

  9. Chris

    June 9, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    This is already a state park and many of these activities can be done on this land. I vote to keep it the way it is. I am a hunter but an avid outdoor person also. Additionally, I believe in keeping a healthy ecosystem in the areas. People at the meeting were saying this land is so beautiful and diverse with animals. I told them reason why is no one is cutting new trails and disturbing the wildlife. There are open areas and miles of roads that are already being utilized for hiking, biking, horseback riding, nature walks, geo cache spots, bird watching, etc. I personally don’t want to see more of the ecosystem disturbed on this property as it has a great balance with woods, wetlands, swamps, pine forests, open fields, etc. This is the only public hunting land in Muscogee County, however, there are several places to do some of the activities other groups want to add to this land such as three frisbee golf courses, over 9 miles of mountain biking trails at Flat Rock, 25 miles of trails to ride, walk, etc with the river walk and Fall Line trail combined and they are all under utilized. I play frisbee golf and have never had to wait to play even on weekends. The decision to make the frisbee and bike trails around Columbus has been a great decision because by creating these spaces didn’t take anything away from another group. To cut new trails, courses, RV camping, etc. on the current Standing Boy WMA/State Park will take hunting opportunities from hunters in the only spot locals can hunt. Literally, all other activities they want to add can be done at current locations in Columbus. To improve the current areas that already support these activities will cost much less than creating new spaces on this land. Remember it is our tax money. Please vote to leave not improve this land and let it continue to be enjoyed by all who want to enjoy nature in a more natural state.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *