Delegation Welcomes Major Announcement on Denali Park Road


01.13.22

DOI Allocates $25 Million from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young, all R-Alaska, issued the following statements after Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced that $25 million from the bipartisan infrastructure law is being made available to expedite a solution for Denali Park Road access.

The investment is one of the first that the Department of the Interior (DOI) has made under the infrastructure law. It is both timely and critical for Alaska, as the Denali Park Road has continued to face deterioration, including landslides, bringing closures and halting travel.

“Just weeks after our bipartisan infrastructure bill became law, it is already producing substantial benefits for Alaska. The Pretty Rocks Landslide at Polychrome Pass on the Denali Park Road has long been a slow-moving disaster, and this crucial funding will help ensure the road is once again safe for locals and visitors to traverse,” Senator Murkowski said. “As ranking member of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, I’ve made fixing this road a priority—pressing multiple administrations for both near-term improvements and a long-term, sustainable solution. That work dovetails with my efforts on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which we designed to help address needs across Alaska. I thank the Secretary for working with us to prioritize the Denali Park Road and look forward to further investments in our state under this landmark law.”

“Denali National Park is considered by many to be the crown jewel of our national park system,” said Senator Sullivan. “Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock here each year to witness the park’s natural beauty and wildlife and to enjoy the endless outdoor recreational activities that Denali has to offer. These improvements are great news for the Denali Borough and Alaska’s tourism industry, enabling out-of-state visitors and our own residents to continue safely accessing this world-class park. I also pressed senior DOI officials to make sure that this $25 million in road construction goes to Alaska workers and contractors who know how to build our state better than anyone.”

“Big investments are already on their way to the great State of Alaska! The soaring peaks of Denali are some of our state’s most iconic natural features. Each year, Denali National Park welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the world, and it is vital that this treasured attraction remains accessible for years to come,” said Congressman Young. “Last night, I received a personal phone call from Interior Secretary Haaland informing me that $25 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be made available to address the Petty Rocks landslide. Over the past few years, the landslide has severely degraded Denali’s road system, putting public access in severe jeopardy. This crucial funding will go a long way toward restoring the road and enhancing its resiliency for the future. The Alaska Delegation was united in our fight to ensure the infrastructure law would provide historic support for our state. This funding is just the tip of the iceberg in what will prove to be game-changing infrastructure investments in Alaska. I am grateful to the Administration, the National Park Service, and the countless Alaskan advocates who helped make this grant a reality. I want to remind the rest of our great nation that Denali is open for visitors in 2022, and we hope you will consider experiencing our great outdoors and everything Alaska has to offer.”

Background: Secretary Haaland announced today that the Department of the Interior (DOI) will allocate $25 million from the Federal Lands Transportation Program (FLTP) to accelerate work at Denali, allowing the National Park Service to move Phase 1 of the project forward in Fiscal Year 2022. The FLTP received funding through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provides historic investments into roads, bridges, ports, airports, broadband, ferries, water and wastewater, resilience, and energy projects—modernizing and upgrading the nation’s core infrastructure. Senator Murkowski was a lead author and negotiator of the bipartisan infrastructure package, and garnered support by the entire Alaska Congressional Delegation.

 

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I’m a Disney World super fan and this is the worst time to visit the theme park


A DISNEY fan has shared some pearls of wisdom for anyone thinking of visiting the parks in Orlando.

If you’re thinking of booking a holiday to Disney World next summer, then you might want to think twice.

A Disney fan has shared some tips for anyone thinking of visiting Disney World

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A Disney fan has shared some tips for anyone thinking of visiting Disney World

Florida native Rocky Perkins has been to Disney World more than 100 times, so he might know a thing or two.

He has taken to question and answer site Quora to share what he has learned over his many visits.

His main tip is not to go in the summer if you can help it, otherwise you’re in for a “miserable experience”.

School summer holidays are a popular time for British families to head across the pond to go to Disney World, but Rocky advises you go later in the year.

He wrote: “As a Florida native and someone who has been to Disney World over 100 times, I can only give you my perspective.

“If you can, do not go in the summertime if you can help it. Unless you are used to the Florida heat and humidity, it will be a miserable experience.

“Not only is that the most crowded time of year, it is the most expensive.

“Don’t tell anyone (it’ll ruin it for us), but go in September – December when the weather is milder – yes, you can walk around in flip flops and shorts then.”

Rocky also advised anyone thinking of visiting Disney World to budget for their trip, and know exactly how much you plan to spend.

His main cost categories were travel, hotel, park tickets and meals.

He continued: “It’s not fun, but you need to know how much you have to spend in order to make any number of choices at Disney World.”

He also suggested planning which rides and restaurants you want to visit and to book in advance.

Meanwhile, a former Disney employee has listed the things that guests should avoid buying at the theme park.

She said that one of the biggest things guests waste money on is bottled water, which you can get for free.

She said: “Instead of buying a $5 bottle of water every time you’re thirsty – a trust me, you’ll be thirsty – you can go to any quick service dining location around the parks and ask for a free cup of water.”

Another former Disney employee has revealed how to get into the parks ahead of everyone else.

And another has shared the secrets guests never notice – from a ban on tan to an underground world.

If you can, avoid going in the summer as the heat and humidity might make the trip unbearable

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If you can, avoid going in the summer as the heat and humidity might make the trip unbearable
I used to work at Disney and here’s how you can get into the parks before everyone else





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Fire burns travel trailer at SE Bend RV park when owners try to thaw frozen hose


Cause traced to owner’s efforts to thaw frozen sewer hose

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A 31-foot travel trailer caught fire Saturday afternoon at the Crown Villa RV Resort in southeast Bend, a blaze that investigators traced to the use of two heaters to thaw a sewer hose that had frozen overnight.

Bend Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched around 2:40 p.m. to the reported fire at the RV park on Brosterhous Road, Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering said.

The arrived to find the 2018 Weekend Warrior RV ablaze, and though they were able to quickly suppress it, the RV and contents were about 75% lost, with an estimated value of the trailer of $35,000 and contents valued at $15,000.

The trailer owners, visiting from Texas, were not on the property when the fire broke out, Kettering said. No injuries were reported.

An investigation determined the RV’s sewer hose had frozen in the very cold overnight conditions, and the owner placed both an electric space heater and a small, propane-fueled radiant tank-top heater beneath the trailer to thaw it.

The propane heater was placed next to the plastic sewer hose and fittings, which melted and ignited, Kettering said. The fire then spread upwards from beneath the RV into the bathroom area.

“Space heaters are a leading cause of residential fires, and one of the most dangerous things you can do with a space heater is to place it next to anything that can burn,” Kettering wrote in a news release. “Anything that produces heat needs space around it – this includes fireplaces, woodstoves, baseboards, and space heaters.

“Bend Fire & Rescue recommends keeping three feet of space between combustibles and any heat source, and to never leave heaters operating unattended,” the fire official added.

For more information on home heating safety, visit https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/fire-rescue/safety-tips-emergency-preparedness/fall-winter-safety-tips.



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National park travel with a baby: 6 tips from a new parent


These early trips, we hope, are baby steps to a lifelong habit. We plan to keep filling her passport with stamps — both the national parks version and, eventually, an official one. For now, we are deep into planning the next adventures: Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio this summer and a return to Shenandoah, our first national parks outing with the baby, this fall. This time around, we will be much more prepared.



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7 Tips For Visiting Joshua Tree National Park In The Winter


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Joshua Tree National Park is a gorgeous place to plan a trip to in the winter! Some of the perks of a winter trip include smaller crowds, cooler weather, and plenty of opportunities for making memories. If you are planning a trip, here are 7 tips for the most enjoyable time possible! 

7 Tips For Visiting Joshua Tree National Park In The Winter

1. Plan Lodging

Joshua Tree National Park differs slightly from some of the more northern national parks in that the majority of the park, as well as surrounding towns, are open year-round! This means you’ll have plenty of choices for where you want to stay. Options include a campground inside the park, such as Black Rock campground, or a hotel or Airbnb in the surrounding areas, such as Joshua Tree Inn. If you do plan on camping, the majority of the campgrounds accept reservations. Making a reservation is a great choice even if you’re visiting in a slower month to make sure you’ll get a spot in your desired campground! Additionally, you may want to take weather into consideration – bringing us to our next tip!

Planning Lodging

2. Be Ready For Chilly Nights 

One of the perks of visiting Joshua Tree National Park in the winter is milder daytime temperatures. Highs in the colder months generally stay in the 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit range – perfect for hiking with little more than a light jacket needed for warmth. Nights, however, can get quite chilly – cold enough that the park will occasionally get a light dusting of snow. If you are staying overnight in the park, you’ll want to make sure you have the needed gear, such as sleeping bags, coats, and so on. 

 Be Ready For Chilly Nights

3. Plan A Hike

Hiking is an especially great option for experiencing Joshua Tree, and winter is the perfect time to do it! While temperatures regularly soar past 100 in the summer months – far less than ideal for outdoor activities- you can look forward to mild daytime conditions in the winter. A couple hikes you’ll want to check out include Mastodon Peak Loop Trail for a short excursion or Lost Palms Oasis Trail for a longer hike. 

Joshua Tree

4. Be Ready For The Remoteness

Another thing to keep in mind is that Joshua Tree is pretty remote. While the amenities offered are generally open year-round, there aren’t a ton of them. Cell reception, for example, can be spotty at best in many areas of the park. This means you’ll likely want to make sure to download any directions or maps you’ll need (or even print out a copy for an added level of assurance). Additionally, Joshua Tree is cooler jn the winter, but it’s still a desert – there aren’t too many places to find water. You’ll want to make sure you bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, as well as snacks to keep your energy up! 

5. Choosing A Pass

If you’re just visiting the park for a spur-of-the-moment day trip, purchasing the daily pass isn’t a bad idea. However, if you plan on visiting Joshua Tree – or any other national park – over the course of the year, the interagency annual pass quickly pays for itself. It’s only a few dollars more than an annual pass for a single national park but allows access to all of them across the United States. 

Choosing A Pass

6. Go On A Guided Tour

A guided tour of Joshua Tree is a great way to have a fun, educational, and memorable time in the park! Several unique tours are offered in the area. A trail ride, for example, can offer a unique experience as well as a great way of exploring the park. If you have horses of your own, a couple of campgrounds including Black Rock campground and Ryan campgrounds. If not, several nearby ranches, such as Joshua Tree Ranch, offer trail rides. Ranger programs such as the Keys Ranch Tour, meanwhile, provide insight into the history of sites in the park. 

7. Plan B

Finally, having a solid plan for all aspects of your trip – lodging, maps, activities, and so on – is a great way to assure you’ll have an enjoyable time in Joshua Tree. However, even the best-laid plans can run into road bumps. Our final tip, then, is to add a little wiggle room to your plans – maybe even have a backup plan or two. If it ends up being a rare rainy day in the park, for example, you could always swap out a hike for a visit to the towns of Joshua Tree or Twentynine Palms. If you lose reception, meanwhile, having a printed copy of directions to your destination (or of your trail) will get you back on course in no time! 

Read More:

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19 For 2021

Top 5 Things To Do In Badlands National Park

Top 5 Tips For Visiting Yellowstone National Park This Winter

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10 Key Ranger Tips For Visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park


Carlsbad Caverns National Park, located in the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico, is known for its namesake, Carlsbad Cavern. It’s simply named “Big Room” is the largest single cave chamber — by volume — in North America.

Because it’s located in the Chihuahuan Desert, the park also offers a study in contrast. Inside Carlsbad Cavern, the temperature is a steady 56 degrees year-round. Above ground, however, visitors find rocky canyons, flowering cacti, and desert wildlife.

Carlsbad Caverns is 145 miles northeast of El Paso, Texas, and about 300 miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico, so a visit does require some advance planning. To help make that task easier, the National Park Service has released its “Top-10 Tips for Visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park,” written by the rangers who work there.

So let’s get right to it. Here are the rangers’ top tips for planning a trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

1. Make Reservations

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all visitors must make reservations for timed entry into Carlsbad Caverns, rangers explain. Reservations cannot be made at the park.

Also, reservations only reserve entry times, so visitors need to purchase entrance tickets as well.

You can make reservations here or over the phone by calling (877) 444-6777.

You can learn about entrance fees and park passes, such as the America the Beautiful pass, here.

2. No Eating And Drinking In The Cavern

“Eating and drinking anything, except plain, unflavored water, is not allowed in Carlsbad Cavern,” rangers explain. “This prevents attracting wildlife into the cavern. It also prevents littering as well as potential cave contamination.”

Visitors may eat and drink in the underground snack bar or outside the cavern.

3. Explore On Your Own

Rangers suggest exploring Carlsbad Cavern on your own by following two trails. The first is the Big Room Trail, which takes about 90 minutes to walk. The extremely steep Natural Entrance Trail takes about an hour to walk.

Pro-Tip: There is a shortcut on the Big Room Trail which shortens the hike to 45 minutes.

“Depending on whether you decide to hike up or down, you gain or lose about 750 feet — equivalent to walking up or down a 75-story building — on the Natural Entrance Trail,” rangers explain. “This trail is not recommended for visitors with heart or respiratory conditions.”

You can learn more about both trails here.

4. Big Room Accessibility

One mile of the Big Room Trail is accessible to wheelchairs.

“Please note the trail is wet from dripping water and can be slippery, bumpy, uneven, and difficult to navigate,” rangers explain. “It isn’t Americans with Disabilities Act-approved and should only be attempted with assistance.”

You can find the park’s accessibility guide here.

5. Experience Walnut Canyon Desert Drive

Rangers encourage visitors to “discover the Chihuahuan Desert along the unpaved Walnut Canyon Desert Drive,” where they can “explore the stories of ancient life, people of the past, and desert survival,” according to rangers. 

The nine-mile-long drive takes about an hour. You can learn more about Walnut Canyon Desert Drive here.

Pro-Tip: The gravel road is not recommended for vehicles with low clearance. It is closed to RVs, buses, and trailers.

6. Take Pictures

“Don’t forget your camera! Take photos in the cavern to record your adventure,” encourage the rangers. “Flash photography is allowed in the cave — just be courteous to other visitors.”

7. Enjoy A Less-Visited Area

“Rattlesnake Springs, part of Carlsbad Caverns, is a lush oasis in the desert,” rangers explain. “This riparian ecosystem features a natural spring and a large grove of cottonwood trees. It’s an ideal place for bird watching and picnicking.”

You can learn more about Rattlesnake Springs here and find a map of the area here.

8. Watch Bats Emerge From Carlsbad Cavern

“In the summer, you can watch about 400,000 Brazilian free-tail bats emerge from Carlsbad Cavern around sunset,” the rangers write. “The best bat flights normally occur in August through September, when baby bats — born in early summer — join the flight.”

9. Take A Hike

“Be sure to hike the short Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail so you can learn about the unique plants found in the park and see two natural entrances to Carlsbad Cavern,” suggest the rangers.

The trail, which is 0.7 miles long, is mostly paved. The hike takes about 30 minutes.

Pro-Tip: The upper section of the trail is wheelchair accessible and leads to a viewpoint with a shaded shelter.

You can learn more about the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail here.

10. Eat And Shop

Rangers encourage all visitors to stop at the park’s restaurant, gift shop, and non-profit bookstore in the visitor center. The restaurant, located in the visitor center, has food options and drinks. The non-profit bookstore has educational merchandise “that helps tell the story of the park,” they explain.

While you’re thinking about the park, be sure to read our coverage on Carlsbad Caverns and the Guadalupe Mountains.



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I’m a travel agent and here’s how to get into a Disney park before the gates open


A TRAVEL agent has revealed a trick to get into a Disney park before the gates open.

Being one of the first in the theme park pays off, as you can visit the most popular rides before a queue builds up.

A travel agent has shared how to get into a Disney park before the gates open

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A travel agent has shared how to get into a Disney park before the gates open

Bri, a travel agent who uses the handle @vacationsbybri on Tiktok specialises in Disney park breaks, and she shared her tip for being the first one in the park.

She said guests should book early breakfast reservations in the parks, as restaurants open earlier than rides.

You will then be inside the park as soon as the rides open and won’t to queue up with everyone else at the park’s gates.

As an example, this would work at Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant in Magic Kingdom, Disney World.

The park doesn’t open until 9am but the restaurant opens at 8am, giving diners an hour to eat up and head to their chosen ride before other guests arrive.

Bri said: “My favourite tip that I tell all of my clients is book your breakfast reservations in park before park opening.

“And if you time it out just right, you can finish breakfast by the time park rope drops (gate opens).

“So you are already in the park ready to go while everyone else is just going through the front gates.”

Bri went on to share her other two tips for getting the most out of visiting a Disney park.

She said: “Tip number two: if you’re trying to snag dining reservations, log in on multiple devices. Multiple phones and log in on your desktop and login on an iPad.

“That way you can cover different days of your trips and get those reservations that you really want.

“And my most important tip: take breaks during your day. I know you’re spending a lot of money to be in those parks, but being in those parks with cranky babies is not worth it.

“So taking those two hours out of your hot afternoon will be worth it.”

Another Tiktok user has shared her tip for getting into Disney parks before the rest of the crowds.

And a mum has revealed how she always skips the queue at Disneyland.

Booking a reservation at a park restaurant before the park opens means you'll be the first inside

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Booking a reservation at a park restaurant before the park opens means you’ll be the first inside
I used to work at Disney and here’s how you can get into the parks before everyone else





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Point Park, Carlow set for women’s NAIA ‘City Game’


Point Park and Carlow have been watching the schedule with eager eyes as a unique matchup approached.

Finally, it is here.

The women’s basketball teams will face off Thursday night in the NAIA “City Game” at Duquesne’s new UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse. Tip is set for 5:30 p.m.

One team will earn its first win in the River States Conference.

Point Park (4-3, 0-3) is the host team and will look to end a three-game losing streak. The Pioneers feature WPIAL alums Michelle Burns (Hempfield), Jordan Yaniga (Franklin Regional), Carly Lutz (Baldwin), Taylor Kirschner (Quigley Catholic), Sierra Dawson (Elizabeth Forward) and others.

The Pioneers are averaging 65.9 points.

Burns leads the team with a 12.7-point average and 2.7 assists a game, while Rinn averages 10.7 points and 10.7 rebounds.

Several local players also dot the roster for Carlow (4-7, 0-2). Among a number of former WPIAL players are Megan Ost (Apollo-Ridge), Keagan Brownlee (Keystone Oaks), Caitlyn Trombley (Belle Vernon), and Jada Bass (Jeannette).

Ost averages 11.5 points and 9.3 rebounds.

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students. Tickets will be sold at the door.

There will be shuttles available for Point Park students and will depart campus at 4:45 and 5:15 p.m. and travel to and from the game.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .





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8 Outdoor Activities The Whole Family Will Love At Unicoi State Park & Lodge


The 1,050-acre Unicoi State Park & Lodge is in Helen, Georgia, a Bavarian-influenced town best known for the stunning Anna Ruby Falls and its year-round celebrations of German culture. Unicoi is an adventure lodge, meaning it has a lot of outdoor offerings to choose from in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. 

You don’t have to be an avid outdoorsman to stay there, and in fact, my husband and I had a great time at the lodge itself, dining on the property and enjoying the scenery. However, this family-friendly address in northeastern Georgia is one outdoors-lovers won’t want to miss any time of the year.

Pro Tip: October is the busiest month for the park, as this is when visitors flock for leaf peeping. 

Note: I was hosted by Unicoi State Park & Lodge. As always, opinions and reviews are 100 percent mine. 

A hiking path at Unicoi State Park
Melody Pittman

1. Hiking

Hiking is a big draw anywhere in the North Georgia Mountains, and Unicoi State Park & Lodge has several designated trails, all within the Chattahoochee National Forest. You will want to follow the signs and be sure to stay on the path. 

I found Frog Pond Nature Trail to be a good, quick hike (only one-third of a mile) that provided a lot of scenery and a nice workout in a short time. Keep your eyes open for possum, squirrels, and chipmunks. Bottoms Loop Trail was another trail that we enjoyed, with fallen trees that added more beauty to our pictures and the groundscape. This trail makes a 2-mile loop and is rated a moderate hike.

Perhaps you would enjoy a guided nature hike. How fun does that sound? For this activity, a park naturalist will take you on one of the trails and introduce you to plants and animals found on the Unicoi property. Any age will enjoy and appreciate this one to two-hour nature excursion. Tours start around $10.

Pro Tip: This is prime bear country, so keep an eye out and do not wander or travel alone. With that being said, the scenery is fantastic and the terrain exhilarating, so don’t let me scare you with the bear info. 

Anna Ruby Falls at Unicoi State Park
Anna Ruby Falls (Photo Credit: Melody Pittman)

2. See The Waterfall 

The mother of all waterfalls in the Helen region is right here at Unicoi State Park & Lodge: Anna Ruby Falls. The falls (named after the daughter of a Civil War general) is operated by the U.S. Forest Service, so therefore a separate admission fee of $5 per person (age 16 and up) is required at the gate.

After parking your car, you will follow a well-marked path for .4 miles to reach the pinnacle of the waterfall. While the hike is short, it is pretty strenuous in places with steep inclines. People of all ages, and what appeared to be all ability levels, were hiking it, but everyone kept their eye on the prize and went at their own pace to reach the waterfall platform. There were a few benches along the way for resting, which I had to use at one point.

Once you arrive at Anna Ruby Falls, there are two viewing platforms for the best views and photo-ops. The lower one is great for groups and selfies, and the top one allows you to feel the mist of the thrashing water. You are that close to this gorgeous display of cascading twin falls.

Pro Tip: Don’t miss the gift shop, which has an excellent selection of t-shirts, postcards, stickers, and souvenirs. 

The author practicing archery at Unicoi State Park
The author practicing archery (Photo Credit: Melody Pittman)

3. Archery

I did something brand new at Unicoi State Park & Lodge. My husband and I had an archery lesson, along with two other couples. I had no idea what to expect, but our guide was informative, easy to understand, and had us all shooting targets in only a few minutes. Safety is vital in this sport, so be sure to listen to the instructor about loading your arrows and firing the bow.

We all shot three rounds of arrows. When she called “cold range,” we all knew it was safe to collect the arrows we had fired. We started out shooting at pretty close targets, but they were still not all that easy to hit for us newbies. After about 45 minutes of that, we made our way over to the 3-D range, which replaces targets with fake animals. The bear, armadillo, coyote, and a few others provided a place for us to attempt to shoot our arrows. There is a tower you can shoot from, too. I didn’t hit one of the animals (my husband did), but we had a blast. The lesson and activity lasted about 90 minutes.

Target shooting at the air gun range is another fun offering in this part of the park. A covered range is where you’ll try your luck at paper targets. All three areas of the Air Gun and Archery Range are considered ADA accessible.

Zip-line platform at Unicoi State Park
Zip-line platform (Photo Credit: Melody Pittman)

4. Zip-Lining

As with many of the Georgia state parks, the zip-lining course is popular and enjoyable. Along with a canopy ranger, guests have the chance to take part in 19 aerial zips ranging from 75 to 2,000 feet long. You’ll zip 100 feet above the ground and have epic views of Unicoi Lake and the area’s wildlife. 

There are two levels you can choose for your ziplining adventure. Level 1 has a series of 11 zip lines and seven suspension bridges, while level 2 has 19 zips and 12 bridges. One of the zips is a half-mile across Unicoi Lake. That sounds awesome! I heard from guests at Unicoi Lodge who did Level 2 and loved every minute of it. As for me, I kept my feet firmly planted on the ground, though I have zip-lined before.

Smith Creek at Unicoi State Park
Smith Creek (Photo Credit: Melody Pittman)

5. Kayaking And Boating

Unicoi Lake on Smith Creek (a tributary of the Chattahoochee River) is a 53-acre attraction that is one of the prettiest sights you’ll ever see, especially in the fall when the colorful leaves are reflecting on the water. So stunning that nearly everyone who drives by pulls over for a photo or to just admire the sheer beauty. Smith Creek is an excellent place for getting out in a canoe, on a paddle board, or in a kayak, which can all be rented from the visitor center.

There is a fee to rent a canoe or kayak. Dogs are welcome but must have a lifejacket, which Unicoi does not provide.

Boating is also a popular activity on Unicoi Lake. In the warm months, you can rent boats on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Trout fishing is another desired outdoor offering. 

If you have time and the desire, schedule a mountain fly-fishing lesson to learn the parts of the fly-fishing rod, how to cast your line, and tips for catching the big one (like reading the water, for instance). Be sure to schedule your lessons 24 hours in advance.

6. Relaxing On The Beach

Yes, Unicoi State Park & Lodge has a beach area. You are probably as surprised as we were. There is a roped-off area for swimming (though the water is not more than 4 feet deep) and a sandy beach area for building sandcastles or just relaxing and enjoying the view. Standup paddle boarders and kayakers use this part of the lake, too. You can rent your outdoor gear at the boathouse during the season.

Path to Anna Ruby Falls at Unicoi State Park
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

7. Mountain Biking

Unicoi State Park & Lodge has a 7.5-mile mountain bike loop that is perfect for experienced riders. The mountainous terrain has specially designed paths through forests, fields, woodlands, and plenty of scenic overlooks. The trail makes a figure-8 shape so that you can ride it all or only half. You will need your own equipment for this activity. Watch for the white blaze markings that mark the trail.

8. Tomahawk Throwing

Join one of the activities attendants in this trendy, fun offering to spruce up your tomahawk-throwing skills. You’ll spend an hour on the outdoor range and learn the proper technique for throwing the tomahawk at wooden targets. Equipment is provided, and closed-toed shoes are required for this activity.

Pro Tip: If you want to capture some of your outdoor adventures with a GoPro, you can rent one from Unicoi Adventures on the third floor of the Unicoi Lodge. GoPro cameras are easy to use, and you can capture your unique experiences in beautiful 1080P high definition. Memory cards are sold separately.

Heading to Georgia? We have plenty more to show you:



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