Free admission Saturday at state parks

Admission will be free Saturday to Fort Yargo State Park in Winder and other parks around Georgia, as officials celebrate “Your State Parks Day.”

“We are sponsoring the annual ‘Your State Parks Day’ to remind Georgians that these parks and historic sites belong to them,” said Andy Fleming, executive director of the Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites. “Parks enrich communities and give us safe places for outdoor recreation. Our historic sites help educate school children in a way that can’t be done in a classroom. So during this event, we hope Georgians will visit sites closest to their homes or even join in on service projects.”

Parking is normally $5 at state parks, and admission ranges from $2.50 to $10 at state historic sites.

Volunteers will work from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the mountain biking and hiking trails at Fort Yargo and volunteers will receive discount coupons.

A complete list of events and volunteer projects can be found at GeorgiaStateParks.org/parks-day.

“Most state park systems across the country are seeking ways to operate with limited funds and rising costs,” said Fleming. “Our organization addresses that need and helps park supporters find ways they can help as well.”

Because Stone Mountain, Jekyll Island and Lake Lanier are not operated by the Department of Natural Resources’ State Parks Division, they are not included in the free day, a press release noted. The day-long celebration is also in honor of National Public Lands Day and is a Georgia SHAPE Initiative.

“Over a decade of challenging state budgets has greatly limited our ability to address maintenance and repair needs, as well as our ability to improve current amenities,” said State Parks Director Becky Kelley. “Our Friends and volunteer supporters are critical to helping keep Georgia’s State Parks attractive and safe for our patrons. We appreciate their sponsoring this event so that we can welcome every citizen to visit for free on Sept. 28.”