Georgia State Parks Manager of the Year is Danny Tatum
Danny Tatum from Tallulah Gorge State Park was named Manager of the Year during the recent State Park Managers Conference. Tatum has worked for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for 32 years and is also former chief of the DNR’s Search and Rescue Team.
According to Region Manager Joe Yeager, Tatum’s leadership has been instrumental in increasing revenue and attendance at one of north Georgia’s most beloved parks. Tallulah Gorge’s grounds and facilities are well kept, and the park recently assumed operation of the campground and beach which had been operated by Georgia Power.
Tatum first began his career as a summertime employee at Unicoi State Park. Since then, he’s held management positions at Amicalola Falls, Moccasin Creek, Fort Mountain and Black Rock Mountain state parks. Tatum plans to retire at the end of the year.
THE NEXT DNR BOARD MEETINGS WILL BE HELD ON TUESDAY-WEDNESDSAY, OCTOBER 25-26, 2016, IN THE DNR BOARDROOM:
· COMMITTEE MEETINGS BE HELD AT 1:00 P.M. ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2016
· BOARD MEETING WILL BE HELD AT 9:00 A.M. ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2016
Wildlife Resources Division
WRD continued clean-up efforts this week. In a preliminary report, post-hurricane, WRD has clocked over 4300 hours. That would take one employee over 2 years to complete!
Parks Recreation & Historic Sites
Sept. 24 – The numbers from Your State Parks Day are in. We had 94 volunteer projects with over 1,500 volunteers. 56 programs were offered to over 3,000 visitors and total visitation for the day was over 15,000 guests - 5,000 more guests than 2015.
Oct 8 – 11 - Volunteer alternate break projects include Austin Peay University, Tennessee with 9 college students at Don Carter State Park doing trail work. Emory University has 25 students at Hard Labor Creek State Park working on a painting project at Camp Daniel Morgan and some trail work within the park.
Renovation and expansion of the Tallulah Gorge retail store is nearing completion in time for fall business. Retail sales and attendance at Tallulah Gorge have been exceptional this year and this renovation will further improve the site.
Over 10,800 evacuees were served by PRHS during Hurricane Matthew. In addition, many first responders and other displaced park staff were accommodated. Due to the impact of the storm Skidaway Island, Fort McAllister and Wormsloe Historic Site may remain closed through mid-November. Fort King George will re-open October 15 and Hofwyl-Broadfield will re-open October 19. We hope to open others soon.
Law Enforcement Division
From October 5th through October 11th, in preparation for, and in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Over 100 LED Rangers from across the state, along with employees from the other DNR Divisions, responded to coastal communities from the Florida state line to the South Carolina state line to provide assistance in a number of capacities, including search and rescue, law enforcement and debris clearing. Before the storm, Rangers worked to facilitate the contraflow traffic pattern on I-16, which expedited the evacuation of thousands of residents in the path of the storm, while other DNR personnel moved to nearby staging areas to prepare for the aftermath. Eight LED Critical Action Teams, fully equipped with chainsaws, ATVs, and river boats with law enforcement and rescue equipment, were deployed. All DNR operations were coordinated by senior staff and personnel at two Command Center locations – the SOC at GEMHSA and at DNR LE’s Region VI Office located in Metter.
On October 3rd, Rangers from Region III-Thomson and Region IV-Macon responded to Factory Shoals Park in Newton County in reference to a possible drowning. A group of young adults had been swimming there earlier in the day and were asked to leave. All of them left except a 19-year-old female. The group returned about an hour later, found her cell phone in the edge of the water, and when they could not locate her, they called for help. The Rangers, along with Newton County Rescue, utilized the ROV to search the water and after several hours, her body was located and recovered.
Coastal Resources Division
Activities of the Coastal Resources Division were interrupted by an unexpected visitor named Matthew. The DNR Coastal Regional Headquarters (CRH) was closed from noon on Thursday, October 6 and all day, Friday, October 7 because of the impacts of the hurricane. Most of the staff residing in the coastal counties evacuated. The CRH opened for business on Tuesday, October 11 following the Columbus Day state holiday. The facility had minor damage, and there was no damage to vehicles and vessels, most of which were evacuated to high ground at the Altama WMA. Several staff members have damage to their homes and property, most have downed trees, and few were without electricity for four days. The Coastal Management Section team established a call center to manage requests for emergency repairs of structures in tidal waterways, over marshlands, and along shorelines. CRD will be accepting requests for emergency authorization of repairs through November 2, 2016.
Historic Preservation Division
HPD joined our partners Georgia Grown, Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter, Georgia Farm Bureau and Georgia EMC in Perry last week to recognize 22 Georgia Centennial Farms. For more information about the Centennial Farms program, visit http://georgiashpo.org/historic/centennial_farms.