The new Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass has been in effect a few days, and will help with much-needed maintenance on state wildlife areas.
Thirty-two sites managed by the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division now require the Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP) for visitors ages 16-64. Exempt from the requirement are individuals who have a valid WMA License, Honorary License, Sportsmen’s License, Lifetime License or Three-Day Hunting and Fishing License.
In all, Wildlife Resources Division manages more than 100 properties across the state. However, GORP impacts only about one-third of the areas - the spots with the highest traffic by all users.
The GORP requirement began Jan. 1, although communications outreach about the new pass going into effect began in fall 2011. Signs are posted on affected properties and a complete list of sites is online at www.georgiawildlife.com and listed below.
The new access pass provides for users including hikers, birders, cyclists and horse-riders to help cover maintenance at designated wildlife management areas, public fishing areas and natural areas. That work has been funded mostly by hunters and anglers.
“As budgets have become tighter over the last few years, maintenance funds have been stretched thin,” says Dan Forster, director, Wildlife Resources Division. “Hunters and anglers have been paying the bill through state license fees and federal excise taxes to maintain these properties. However, other users contribute to the general wear and tear of the sites too. The GORP revenue will be directed to long overdue maintenance projects such as roadways, trails, parking lots and other facilities.”
Forster explains that the 32 state-managed properties were chosen through extensive public involvement. GORP was addressed in a total of 12 public meetings in 2010 and 2011. The sites were identified as experiencing the most impact by recreational visitors. Because GORP is a new requirement, enforcement will be an educational process, Forster adds.
For individuals, a GORP costs $3.50 for three days or $19 for a year. For groups of eight or fewer people, the pass is $10 (three days) and $35 (annual). A transaction fee applies ($2.50 online, $3 at retail license agents or $5 by phone).
On sale since Nov. 1, the GORP is available at www.georgiawildlife.com/recreational-licenses, by calling 1-800-366-2661 or through retail license agents.
To learn more, see a map of the areas or review frequently asked (and answered) questions, please visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Georgia-Outdoor-Recreational-Pass .
EDITOR’S NOTE: Following is a list of User Fee Areas where a GORP is required.
List by Area, Facilities within the Area, County
Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Public Fishing Area (PFA), Natural Area (NA)
1. Altamaha WMA, Butler and Champney islands and McGowan Lake Tract, McIntosh County
2. Beaverdam WMA, Shooting Range, Laurens County
3. Big Hammock WMA, Shooting Range, Tattnall County
4. Big Lazer Creek WMA and PFA, Shooting Range, Talbot County
5. Bullard Creek WMA, Shooting Range, Jeff Davis County
6. Chickasawhatchee WMA, Shooting Range, Dougherty County
7. Clayhole Swamp WMA, Campground and Ponds, Glynn County
8. Clybel WMA and Marben PFA, Entire Area excluding Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, Jasper County
9. Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA, Entire Area, Walker County
10. Dawson Forest WMA, North of Ga. Hwy. 53, Dawson County
11. Dixon Memorial WMA, Shooting Range, Ware County
12. Dodge County PFA, Entire Area, Dodge County
13. Evans County PFA, Entire Area, Evans County
14. Flat Creek PFA, Entire Area, Houston County
15. Grand Bay WMA, Entire Area, Lowndes County
16. Hannahatchee WMA, Shooting Range, Stewart County
17. Hugh M. Gillis PFA, Entire Area, Laurens County
18. J.L. Lester WMA, Entire Area, Polk County
19. Mayhaw WMA, Shooting Range, Miller County
20. McDuffie PFA, Entire Area, McDuffie County
21. McGraw Ford WMA, Entire Area, Cherokee County
22. Ocmulgee WMA, Shooting Range and PFA, Pulaski County
23. Paradise PFA, Entire Area, Berrien County
24. Rich Mountain WMA - Cartecay Tract, Entire Area, Gilmer County
25. Richmond Hill WMA, Shooting Range, Bryan County
26. Silver Lake WMA (NA), Riding Trails Access, Decatur County
27. Sprewell Bluff WMA, East of the Flint River, Upson County
28. Tuckahoe WMA, Campground, Screven County
29. Walton WMA, Shooting Ranges, Walton County
30. Wilson Shoals WMA, Shooting Range, Banks County
31. Yuchi WMA, Shooting Range, Burke County
32. Zahnd WMA (NA), Entire Area, Walker County
Quick Notes on GORP:
- You can purchase a GORP at www.georgiawildlife.com, by phone (1-800-366-2661) or at a license retail agent (agents are listed online).
- A GORP is $3.50 for three days, $19 for an annual pass. Group passes are also available. Transaction fees apply.
- GORP requirements apply only to people age 16-64. Youth ages 15 and under are exempt from GORP. Adults 65 and older are also exempt.
- People who have a valid WMA License, Honorary License, Sportsmen’s License, Lifetime License or Three-Day Hunting and Fishing License. These licenses already provide for access to the properties. Other hunting and fishing licenses do not qualify for a GORP exemption.