Below are rules, regulations, and guidelines from the park for your information and edification. They are important, and we ask that you view them and take them to heart.
Collecting and Defacing
Collecting & Defacing
All wildlife, plant life, driftwood, artifacts and any other natural or man-made features are protected and may not be disturbed or removed. Please do not leave painted rocks or other structures in parks. Painting, carving or vandalizing rocks, structures or other natural resources is not allowed. Please leave wildflowers for other visitors to enjoy. Possession of metal detecting equipment is prohibited.
Motor Vehicles & Golf Carts
Park roads are public roads. All vehicles must display a valid ParkPass, and are subject to license safety requirements and regulations of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. ATVs are not allowed in state parks.
Golf Carts are treated as motor vehicles and have to have a daily ParkPass or have an annual ParkPass. Drivers must have a valid driver’s license. Golf carts are allowed on roads 25 mph or less. Golf carts are not permitted on park trails.
The golf cart needs to have the following standard safety equipment on the vehicle:
• A braking system sufficient for the passenger capacity of the vehicle
• Reverse warning device functioning
• A main power switch that can be turned on and off
• Front and rear lights
• Reflex reflectors
• A horn
• A rearview mirror
• Safety warning labels
• Hip restraints and hand holds
Please be considerate of guests who are visiting state parks for a quiet, natural experience. Radios, televisions, musical instruments and all other noise-making devices are not to be used between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. and must be kept at low volumes during other times.
Firewood and Camp Fires
Firewood and camp fires
Tree-killing insects and diseases can hide in firewood. While these pests can’t move far on their own, they can travel hundreds of miles when people move firewood. Pest infestations are a serious problem that destroy our forests and property values, and are very expensive to control. Please contact the state park directly about not moving firewood and finding local sources of wood.
All campfires must be kept in designated areas such as a fire ring. Never leave a campfire unattended. Smaller fires with coals (rather than large flames) are better for campfire cooking and toasting marshmallows.
Georgia Forestry Commission – Don’t Move Firewood.
Pets are welcome at state parks and campgrounds if leashed (no longer than six feet) and accompanied by the owner at all times. Some dog-friendly cabins are available. Pets are not allowed in state park and historic site buildings, lodges, yurts, group camps, swimming areas, or some trails at Panola Mountain and Tallulah Gorge. Kennels are not available. Owners should clean up after pets.
Reserving Your Cottage
• You must request a dog-friendly cottage prior to arrival. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
• A fee of $50 per dog (limit 2) will be collected at check-in and covers the duration of your stay.
• A maximum of two dogs per cottage is allowed, regardless of size.
• Dogs may not be left unattended at any time, either in the cottage, your vehicle or the park.
• Dogs must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times when not inside cottages.
• Dogs may not be tied up to trees, fences or anchored to the ground.
• Guests are required to clean up after their dogs.
• Dogs may not be taken into cottages that are not designated “dog-friendly.”
Service Animal Policy
Department of Natural Resources Service Animal Policy
Georgia State Parks welcomes visitors with service animals. Service animals are “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities,” according to the Revised Americans with Disabilities Act Service Animal Requirements. Our Pet Policy applies to service animals with the following exemptions:
• Service animals in a working capacity are allowed in all areas of the park and overnight accommodations when accompanied by a visitor with a disability; and,
• Service animals should be harnessed, leashed or tethered unless such devices interfere with the service animal’s work, or if the visitor’s disability prevents the use of these devices. In that case, the visitor must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective controls.
• Guests will be asked to vacate their cottage if their dogs disturb other guests.
• Park management reserves the right to prohibit any dogs on the premises that may pose a risk to guests or staff, or has a history of causing trouble.
• Extra fees will be assessed when extra cleaning is required or if there is damage to the cottage or fixtures. Park management will assess damage fees based on materials and labor required to make necessary repairs.
• Kennels are NOT provided. Do not leave pets unattended in vehicles.
Visitors and group activities
Visitors to cottages, campsites and lodge rooms are welcome; however, the number of visitors and registered guests must not exceed the stated capacity at any time. Visitors must leave prior to closing times.
All group gatherings must conclude before 10 p.m.
Outdoors Safety Tips
Outdoor Safety Tips
Ticks & Lyme Disease
Ticks are a natural part of Georgia’s environment, so visitors should always check for ticks after being outdoors. Lyme disease is spread by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks and is common in the U.S. Visitors should use insect repellent and remove ticks promptly. Infected ticks usually don’t spread Lyme disease until they have been attached for at least 36 hours. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart and nervous system. Anyone experiencing these symptoms or who is unable to remove a tick should contact their doctor immediately. Learn more about preventing tick bites.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Protect Yourself From Ticks
Preventing Tick Bites
Biking at Elijah Clark State Park
The Centers for Disease Control has issued travel warnings for areas in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Pacific Islands and Mexico where there are ongoing outbreaks of Zika virus infection. As of this date, no locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in Georgia or anywhere in the United States. However, we encourage visitors to be aware of risks and take precautions.
Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Most people infected don’t even know they have it. See a healthcare provider if you develop a fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes during a trip or within 2 weeks after traveling to a place with Zika, or if you have had sexual contact with someone who has traveled. Zika infection during pregnancy is linked to birth defects.
What are Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites doing to prevent Zika?
We are committed to preventing the spread of this virus by eliminating mosquito breeding sites.
Traditional truck spraying is not very effective for the Aedes mosquitoes due to their breeding habits. Therefore, parks are reducing areas suitable for mosquitos to breed in the vicinity of campgrounds, cabins, golf courses, museums and offices. Park staff are also working to keep vegetation cut low in these areas. Our retail areas stock insect repellant and mosquito netting.
What can you do while visiting Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites?
• Use insect repellant (20–30% DEET is recommended).
• Wear long sleeves, pants and socks.
• Treat clothing and gear with permethrin.
• Mosquito-proof your tent, trailer or RV.
• Use mosquito netting around picnic areas.
• Notify park personnel if you see standing water likely to breed mosquitos.
Hiking Tips, Waterfall and Black Bear Safety
No one ever plans to get lost, but it does sometimes happen. Each year, Georgia’s park rangers spend numerous hours searching for hikers who did not return on time, slipped on waterfalls, got off the trail or encountered other problems. Follow these tips from the pros for a fun and safe hike:
• Avoid hiking alone because the “buddy system” is safer during any type of activity. If traveling with a group, never stray from the group.
• Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Don’t forget to check in with them when you get back.
• Stay on marked trails. Making shortcuts and “bushwhacking” causes erosion and greatly increases your chance of becoming lost. As you hike, pay attention to trail blazes (paint marks on trees) and landmarks.
• Never climb on waterfalls or wet rocks. These can be surprisingly slippery, and major head injuries can occur from minor falls. Never go beyond fences or restricted areas. Keep a close watch on children near waterfalls.
Waterfall at Fort Mountain State Park
Black Bear Safety
Black Bears are a natural part of Georgia’s environment and can sometimes be seen in State Parks. It is a memorable and rare experience to see these creatures, and they are most likely to be spotted in the north Georgia mountains or near the Okefenokee Swamp. Bears usually keep their distance from humans, but sometimes they come too close. If you see a bear, follow these safety tips.
Large Male Black Bear
Never feed bears. Secure food and scented items in bear-proof lockers, if provided, or inside locked structures or vehicles. Do not store these items in tents or outside cabins. Properly dispose of all trash. Fed bears can become aggressive and may need to be put down. Remember, “A fed bear is a dead bear.”
• Never approach a bear. Your safety is more important than a photograph or video. If your presence causes the bear to change behavior (stop feeding, watch you, pop its jaws, etc.) you are too close.
• If a bear approaches you, do not run, turn your back or play dead. Instead, make yourself look larger, wave your arms, shout and slowly back away. Pick up small children.
• If you are attacked, fight back aggressively with any available object.
• Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.
• Report bear encounters to park staff immediately. Additional information is available at the park office.