Savannah, Ga. --
Corps of Engineers officials at Hartwell Lake have closed all access at Singing Pines Recreation Area, including the roadway leading to the boat ramp parking area, in response to repeated trespassing of the adjacent closed day-use area and public safety issues along the park entrance road and the boat ramp parking area.
“Closure of the ramp area, immediately adjacent to the day-use area is necessary because a portion of the public increasingly demonstrated a lack of concern for the locked gate, signage, and communications that Singing Pines Day-Use Area is closed. The public continued to congregate in large groups within the adjacent closed area, violating social distancing guidelines designed to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Aaron Wahus, Hartwell Operations Project Manager said.
“The uncontrolled use of this area to include individuals driving vehicles around the closed gate, created serious public safety issues,” Wahus said. “Vehicles parked along the entrance road and within the open boat ramp parking area blocked entrance and exit in the area, particularly for EMS response to an emergency.”
As a result, Hartwell Lake officials placed barriers closer to U.S. Highway 29 to extend the closed perimeter which denies access to the ramp. Singing Pines boat ramp temporarily closed earlier in the week because high water conditions do not allow for safe boat launching, according to Wahus.
Thirty-two Corps of Engineers boat ramps remain open on Hartwell Lake and campgrounds reopened May 18. The highly popular day-use areas remain closed, including Singing Pines. No date has been announced for reopening day-use areas and swim beaches.
“While many things are changing, the Corps wants everyone to understand that we keep our commitment to public safety and the safety of our employees, volunteers, and contractors first,” Wahus said. “We must insist all visitors comply with current closures of all Corps day-use areas. We look forward to reopening all closed parks and return to providing the great recreation opportunities the public expects at Hartwell Lake!”
Check the Hartwell website for Corps operated ramps that remain open (https://go.usa.gov/xvhwv). Some facilities at Hartwell Lake are operated by Georgia or South Carolina or by local agencies, visitors should check with the appropriate state, county, or marina regarding the availability of their facilities.
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