Measure would allow DNR to regulate boats at state parks

ATLANTA – The Georgia state Senate this week passed a measure that gives the Department of Natural Resources the ability to restrict the use of boats on lakes at state parks.

SB 319 removes some current restrictions on the use of boats on waterways at state parks, recreational areas and historic sites. The previous state law barred privately owned boats at a number of state parks, such as A. H. Stephens Federal Lake and Lake Liberty in Crawfordville.

Under the revised law, the “posting of signs at entrances of a park … shall constitute sufficient notice for the entire park,” according to the bill.

“Every year, residents and visitors alike spend time boating and fishing the waters at one of Georgia’s many state parks,” state Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-Locust Grove, said in a news release. “The passage of this legislation would grant the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources the authority to determine boating authorization in Georgia’s state park system.”

The bill allows exceptions for law enforcement and DNR officials. The measure also authorizes boat and wade fishing in areas where it isn’t otherwise prohibited.

The measure now heads to the state House for consideration.

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