GEORGIA VETERANS MEMORIAL STATE PARK
Established as a memorial to U.S. veterans, this park features a museum with aircraft, armored vehicles, uniforms, weapons, medals and other items from the Revolutionary War through the Gulf War. The Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club is a privately operated conference center with 78 lodge rooms, 10 cottages and a restaurant. The SAM Shortline Excursion Train runs through the park on its way from Cordele to Plains. An 18-hole golf course and pro shop, along with 8,700-acre Lake Blackshear, make this one of Georgia’s most popular state parks.
Activities & Facilities
Camping - The park offers 77 tent and trail campsites with water and electricity, picnic tables and grills. Most have cable TV hookups. Three comfort stations have hot showers, one wastewater dump station and laundry facilities. All campers must check with park office before occupying campsites.
Cottages - The park offers 10 two-bedroom, one-bath cottages, complete with fireplace, stove, refrigerator, towels and linens, and all necessary kitchen equipment. All cottages are heated and air conditioned and contain four double beds. Their maximum capacity is 8 persons. Pets are not allowed in or around cottages.
Picnicking - Visitors are asked to use designated areas only. Picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Four open picnic shelters and one enclosed group shelter are available by reservation up to 11 months in advance. Picnic shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis if not reserved.
Fishing - Lake Blackshear is open to sport fishing throughout the year. This park has two boat ramps with courtesy docks. Persons ages 16 or older must have a valid resident/non- resident license.
Boating - Private boats are permitted on Lake Blackshear throughout the year. There is no limit on size or horsepower, but due to the lake’s relatively shallow waters, large boats are limited to certain areas. All boats must comply with the Georgia Boating Safety Law. Boat rental is available at Lake Blackshear Marina.
Pioneer Camping - Two pioneer campgrounds with cleared tent areas and primitive privies are available for organized gourps. These areas are separate from other park visitors.
Golf - Public play is invited on the 18-hole championship golf course, and tee times are recommended.
Disc Golf - 18-hole disc golf course is located just north of the Yucca Trace Trail. Disc rentals and rounds can be purchased at the park office.
TRAIL DESCRIPTIONS & PARK INFORMATION
Yucca Trace Trail Rating: EAS , soil surface
The Yucca Trace Trail is a hiking, biking nature trail which is approximately a mile in length. It features plants and wildlife of the dry ecosystem of the Atlantic Coastal Plain such as cork oak, fox squirrel, prickly pear, Spanish bayonet, red fox, wild strawberry, deer, opossum, brown thrasher, bluebird, blackberries, common persimmon, loblolly pine, slash pine, water oak, shortleaf pine, wild cherry, wild plum, huckleberry and honeysuckle.
SAM Shortline Excursion Train
Climb aboard the SAM Shortline Excursion Train to discover the real Georgia. Riding in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage cars, you’ll enjoy a mix of romantic yesteryear with the excitement of today’s South. While the SAM Shortline travels past pecan groves and scenic country farms, it stops in the towns of Cordele, Leslie, Americus and Plains, towns filled with fun attractions, restaurants and shopping. For more information call 1-877-GA-RAILS or go online to SAMShortline.com.
Memorial Golf Course at Lake Blackshear
Access to the Yucca Trail can be obtained off the main park road right before the Resort or from the campground. Part of this trail winds it way through the disc golf course.
Lake Shore Trail Rating: EAS , soil surface.
Architect Denis Griffiths has worked his magic to convert a rich bottomland setting and turn it into a highly pleasing and challenging golf course. Mounds, water and plenty of sand define the holes and enhance the challenge. The Tif Dwarf Bermuda greens are large and sloping, but not tiered. They putt as smooth as glass. The wide Tif 419 fairways wind through mounds and stands of tall loblolly pines.
The Lake Shore Trail is a leisurely half-mile hiking, biking nature trail winding along the shores of Lake Blackshear and Gum Creek. It loops back within view of the SAM Shortline railroad tracks and returns to the start of trail.
It is a wetlands trail which features the plants and wildlife of the wet ecosystem of the lake community such as bald cypress, cypress knees, wax myrtle, red maple, sparkleberry, sweetgum, alligator, beaver, great blue heron, red-headed woodpecker, wood duck, coot, jasmine, alder, mistletoe and pond turtles.
Access to the Lake Shore Trail is across the street from the park Visitor Center, right at the bridge, beyond the fishing pier and picnic shelter.
Lake Blackshear Resort
Nestled in the middle of Georgia Veteran’s Memorial State Park, this resort is the ultimate destination for any escape, from an adventurous weekday getaway, to a family reunion, to a romantic weekend, to a corporate meeting. For more information call 1-800-459-1230.
The Lake Blackshear Marina
A full-service marina will provide covered rental slips for up to 60 boats, with hookups for fresh water and electricity. For more information about the marina or to reserve rental space for your boat, contact 229-273-7747
Photo: Airplane and armament display at the park Visitor Center.
Photo: RV and tent campground on Lake Blackshear.
SAFETY TIPS & ETIQUETTE
Tell someone your itinerary and expected return time.
Take a map, water, snacks, first aid kit, jacket, flashlight, insect repellant, rain gear, trash bag, cell phone, and whistle. Cell phones may not work in all areas, but if they do, be able to give details about your location. It is a good idea to carry a compass, especially on the more remote trails.
Be prepared for unexpected rain and wind which can lead to hypothermia. If you get wet or cold, dry off and warm up as quickly as possible.
Stay on the trails. If you become lost, stay in one location and wait for help. This will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
Dress in layers and use clothing that wicks moisture
away from your body.
Carry a trash bag and pack out all trash.
Watch out for poison ivy on the ground and as a vine on trees. Other hazards may include fire ants, wasps/ bees, ticks, and copperheads.
Keep pets on a leash at all times and clean up after them.
Look but leave artifacts, plants, trees, flowers and wildlife alone. If you get too close to wildlife they may flee. Then they may use up precious energy they need to survive. Leave everything you find on the park for others to enjoy.
Protect the park and help prevent erosion by staying
on marked trails.
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