Lake Conasauga, North Georgia
Lake Conasauga, 3,150 feet above sea level, is the highest lake in
Georgia. Located near the summit of Grassy Mountain in the Cohutta Mountains
of northwest Georgia, this area is rich in plants, birds, wildlife, and
recreational opportunities. The area includes 35 family camping units;
group camping areas; a 17 acre lake for fishing, swimming, and boating
(electric motors only); picnicking facilities, hiking trails, and interpretive
nature programs on Saturdays. These areas are open from the middle of April
until the end of October. A fee is charged in the family camping areas.
The lake and recreation area were originally constructed
by the Civilian Conservation Corps and opened to the public in 1940. The name
Conasauga comes from the Cherokee Indian word "kehnasagah" which means
"grass". A local river and several ancient Indian settlements in the
area share the name Conasauga. The area forming the present lake was once a
dense rhododendron tangle, however, a grassy field, called Ball Field, is about
two miles from the lake. This area has been in existence for as long as the
oldest local residents can remember. Other, more extensive, grassy areas may
have existed in Indian times and prompted the name Conasauga. When the lake was
first opened, cattle and pigs ranged the woodlands in the area foraging for
food. A seven mile long fence had to be built around the recreation area to keep
the stock from damaging the area. The dam was constructed with a poured concrete
base, rather than earthen base, to keep crayfish from burrowing and causing the
dam to leak or collapse.
A Songbird Management Area is
maintained on 350 acres around the lake. Here the forest has been cut, leaving
essential cover and trees for the birds. By opening the forest and creating
sunny places, sun-loving seed and fruit bearing plants have been encouraged to
grow, allowing open area birds to come in and co-exist with the established
woodland species. 112 species of birds have already been identified in this
area. Mammals also find Lake Conasauga to their liking. Deer, bobcat, skunk,
bear, chipmunk, beaver, bat, and woodchuck are just a few of the animals
identified in the area. Poisonous and non-poisonous snakes also live in the
area although they're not usually seen by visitors.
Lake Conasauga Recreation Area is located adjacent to the 37,000 acre
Cohutta Wilderness area which contains about 90 miles of hiking trails.
Barnes Creek Picnic Area is located approximately half-way up Forest
Service Road 68 on your way to Lake Conasauga. This area has picnic tables and
grills located alongside a beautiful waterfall.
Take US 411 north from Chatsworth for 4 miles; turn
right (east) at the traffic light in Eton; follow Forest Service Road 18 east
for 10 miles; turn left (northeast) on Forest Service Road 68 for 10 miles.
For further information contact:
508 Oak St. NW
Gainesville, GA 30501
401 Old ElliJay Rd.
Chatsworth, GA 30705