If you’re down at the beach on the Alapaha River, just upstream from US 84, in the new Lowndes County Naylor Boat Ramp Park, and a game warden should happen to say you need a WMA pass, please tell him you’re in a public park owned by Lowndes County, and if there’s any doubt about that, please consult the Lowndes County Tax Assessors online map, or call Lowndes County, or call me.
There seems to be some confusion, possibly because the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) map for the Lola Tract WMA does not show any sign of a park.
I would imagine this is because, even though Lowndes County bought the park land in late 2015 and the WMA did not appear until late 2017, most likely the WMA agreement was in the works for some time before it was publicly announced, quite possibly from back before the park land sale to the county. So the WMA map is probably just old.
But if you look in the Lowndes County Tax Commissioner online maps, while the land surrounding the park away from the river and the highway is indeed owned by Acree Investments, the park is clearly visible as a carve-out in the lower right corner.
How can private land be a WMA patroled by Georgia state game wardens? According to its state web page:
“Lola Tract is a Voluntary Public Access (VPA) property. Since 2014 through a USDA grant, the Wildlife Resources Division has been able to enhance and add to its WMA program through additional temporary agreements with private landowners for public hunting opportunities.”
So Acree Investments owns the WMA land, but the state runs it as Lola Tract VPA.
But the park is not part of the VPA. The VPA access road starts just north of the Naylor Boat Ramp:
Unless you go up that road beyond the boat ramp, you are still in the park. Where you do not owe the state anything to picnic, fish, swim, paddle, etc. on the beach.
Seems like Georgia DNR should fix their map for Lola Tract WMA.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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