Gainesville, Ga. - The U.S. Forest Service is waiving fees at most of its day-use recreation sites over the Veterans Day holiday weekend, Nov. 10-12.
The fee waivers - the fourth this year - are offered in cooperation with other federal agencies under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Day-use fees will be waived at all standard amenity fee sites operated by the Forest Service.
"This is our way of saying thanks to the brave men and women - past and present - who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe at home," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "We encourage veterans, their families and all visitors to take time out over the holiday weekend to enjoy the benefits that nature provides at forests and grasslands throughout the country."
In the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, recreation areas participating in the fee waiver will indicate this at the fee stations. Concessionaire operated day-use sites may or may not be included in the waiver. Forest visitors may check with their local Forest Service office to find out in advance whether waivers will exist at specific sites.
• Blue Ridge District Office, Blairsville, Ga. - 706-745-6928
Chattooga River District Office, Lakemont, Ga. - 706 754-6221
Conasauga District Office, Chatsworth, Ga. - 706 695-6736
Oconee District Office, Eatonton, Ga. - 706 485-7110
Brasstown Bald Visitor Center and Anna Ruby Falls Recreation Area, which are operated by the Cradle of Forestry, will admit veterans and their immediate family members free of charge on Monday, November 12.
The fee waiver days support the goals of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move Outside."
Traditionally, fees are not charged on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands and over two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. Many recreation opportunities such as camping, sightseeing and hiking can be enjoyed throughout the year at no cost.
The Forest Service operates approximately 17,000 recreation sites nationwide. Of those, approximately 6,000 require recreation fees, which are used to provide visitor services, repairs and replacements, and facilities maintenance.
Additional information about the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests is available on the web at www.fs.usda.gov/conf
The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests provide the finest outdoor recreation opportunities and natural resources in Georgia. Featuring nearly 867,000 acres across 26 counties, hundreds of miles of clear-running streams and rivers, approximately 850 miles of recreation trails, and dozens of campgrounds, picnic areas, and other recreation activity opportunities, these lands are rich in natural scenery, history and culture. The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests is part of the Southern Region, with the Forest Supervisor's office in Gainesville, Georgia, managing four District units in Blairsville (Blue Ridge District), Lakemont (Chattooga River District), Chatsworth (Conasauga District), and Eatonton (Oconee District).