Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests Waives Fees in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Contact(s): Steven Bekkerus, 770-297-3043

GAINESVILLE (January 15, 2017) - The U.S. Forest Service will waive fees at several of its day-use recreation sites on Jan. 16, 2017, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The fee waiver day is the first of four such days and one full weekend offered by the agency during 2017.

"Our public lands are open to everyone, and we hope these free days offer an incentive to all people to visit any of the 193 million acres of land held in trust for their enjoyment and use," said Forest Supervisor, Betty Jewett.

Traditionally, fees are not charged on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately 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. Fees are waived generally for day-use areas, such as picnic grounds, developed trailheads and destination visitor centers, including those participating in the Every Kid in a Park program. Concessionaire operated sites may be included in the waiver if the permit holder wishes to participate.

In Georgia, 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

Review the list of recreation areas below or visit the Forest Service website to see if your destination charges a fee and learn more about recreation fees and annual passes. The other scheduled fee-free days observed by the Forest Service are President's Day weekend Feb. 17-19; National Get Outdoors Day on June 10; National Public Lands Day on Sept. 30; and Veterans Day weekend from Nov. 10 to 12. Capture a photograph on a national forest or grassland and you could win $10,000 and have your photo displayed on the front of the Interagency Annual Pass. Enter the Share the Experience Photo Contest, an annual competition encouraging all nature lovers and amateur shutterbugs to capture their favorite views, moments and adventures on the nation's public lands.

Get Outdoors Days helps to raise awareness that nature encourages healthy, active outdoor fun. The health benefits visitors receive from national forests and grasslands are found when exploring the more than 150,000 miles of trails, which include hiking, biking, equestrian and motorized trails, and more than 10,000 developed recreation sites. The Every Kid in a Park program encourages fourth-graders across Georgia and nationwide by providing free access to students and their families to all federally managed lands and waters - including national forests, grasslands, wildlife refuges and waters. On the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, the pass is valid at 14 fee-based locations:

Nearby Town

National Forest Recreation Area


Deep Hole Recreation Area - Canoe Launch & Day-Use Area                                                              


DeSoto Falls Recreation Area - Picnic and Day-Use


Dry Creek Equestrian and Mountain Bike Trailhead     


Dukes Creek Falls Recreation Area - Day-Use


Dyar Pasture Recreation Area - Boat Launch & Wildlife Viewing Area


Frady Branch Equestrian and Mountain Bike Trailhead     


Lake Conasauga Recreation Area - Family Picnic & Swimming Area


Lake Sinclair Recreation Area - Family Picnic and Swim Beach Facilities


Miller Creek Lake Recreation Area - Day-Use


Ocmulgee Bluff Equestrian Trailhead


Oconee River Recreation Area -  Boat Launch Facilities


Panther Creek Recreation Area - Day-Use


Redlands Recreation Area - Boat Launch Facilities


Swords Recreation Area - Boat Launch Facilities

Blue Ridge

Toccoa River, Sandy Bottoms - Canoe Launch

Please note the pass is NOT valid at Brasstown Bald or Anna Ruby Falls.

For more updates and to learn more about Georgia's national forests, download the official free mobile app  for your smartphone or tablet, or visit us on the web at  You can also get the latest forest news by liking us on Facebook and following us on twitter @ChattOconeeNF