It's a beautiful setting, but Sprewell Bluff State Park lacks many of the amenities of the other parks across Georgia.
Thanks to a concerned group of local citizens at least one major improvement is planned for the park in the coming months.
A pavilion has been proposed by the members of Leadership Upson, a leadership training group sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. The pavilion was proposed by Leadership Upson member Lori Showalter as a project for the group. Other members of the Leadership Upson group are; Sarah Armstrong, Timmy Daniel, Ruth Hatchet, Robby Armstrong, Bryan Trickel, June Cloud, Patrick Comiskey, and Joyce Glisson. Today the members are meeting at the park to beginning planning the work. Blue prints have already been drawn
and efforts are under way to fund the project with public and private assistance.
Park Manager Ken Lalumiere said the pavilion will be welcomed by visitors. He hopes it's the first step in many more improvements for Sprewell Bluff.
"We are beyond the days and technology of having outhouses," he said. "An office building with suitable bathrooms would be a great asset to the public."
Lalumiere said improvements to the park will bring more visitors and more opportunity to experience nature and learn local history.
"The more we put into our state park, the more visitors we will draw," said Lalumiere. "And that means more dollars will be spent in our community."
Although the park draws many visitors from Upson and some surrounding counties, it's still described in Georgia's guide to state parks as "a little-known gem on the Flint River." In fact, Sprewell Bluff is the only state park located on the Flint.
Sprewell Bluff has been a favorite outdoors spot for Upson County residents for years, but it only became a state park in 1994. Approximately 1200 of the 1,372-acre park is available for hunting. The park itself has a three-mile hiking trail, picnic tables, a boat ramp and bathroom facilities - although those facilities do not have running water.
The park collected $17,000 in passes in 2002. However, while the waters of the Flint are up due to plentiful rains, visitors to the park have been down, Lalumier said. So far this year only $13,000 has been collected in park passes.
The reasons for this slowdown could be a combination of several factors.
"For months a portion of Old Alabama Road was closed due to heavy rain that came down in November," said Lalumiere. "The park had to be closed twice this year due to flooding, once in April and on Mother's Day weekend, not to mention all the rain we have seen the past several months. People can't swim and can't paddle due to the high waters."