Lake Lanier sure is dry... (short ride report from Georgia)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by flux_capacitor, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. flux_capacitor

    flux_capacitor I know a shortcut!

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    Went out for a little local ride today and found ourselves at Lake Lanier at a few different spots.


    We headed to one of my favorite local spots. For those that are not local, Lake Sidney Lanier is a man made lake, and many farms and rural homes were flooded to create the lake. Buford Dam was authorized after WW2 in 1946 as were hundreds of other Army Corps of Engineers projects about that time. 700 families had to be relocated and 56,000 acres of land was acquired for the lake to be built. Eventually the lake would be roughly 38,000 acres and feature over 690 miles of shoreline. Almost $45 million dollars and a decade later Lake Lanier was completely full.

    Fast forward to now. We have had some serious drought issues the past 3 years which, long story short, have dropped the water level of Lake Lanier to a record low. The lake supplies drinking water to more than 3 million metro Atlantans, not to mention irrigation, etc.

    Here the impact can really be seen. I come out here after work at least once a week to be alone and draw and have watched slowly what I thought was an abandoned boat ramp extend further and further into the lake. Eventually, and now, what can be seen is this!

    [​IMG]


    You can see all the docks on the other side, that is where the water level used to be. Also in the foreground, right around the GPS you can see a line of white granite rocks... that marked the level on this side of the lake. :eek1

    [​IMG]


    What this is is a long ago abandoned stretch of Hwy 53 aka Dawson Forest Rd. It was picked up and rerouted when the lake was being developed. Obviously they have now built 'lake' houses in its place on the other side. The amazing thing is the road is in excellent shape, even the culverts are still recognizable and clear. You could swim right under it if you wanted to. :huh
    #1
  2. flux_capacitor

    flux_capacitor I know a shortcut!

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    I was feeling inspired after going back there today and managed to find what has become an abandoned park. Once again the seriousness of the drought re-establishes itself.

    [​IMG]


    Everything behind Willy B used to be under water. :eek1 As you can tell by the sign, this was a boat ramp. Not much fishing going on these parts today. :cry


    [​IMG]


    Now it's mostly being used as a sort of informal offroad vehicle park. Lucky demonstrates what it's like to ride on water.


    [​IMG]

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    Yup, that trail used to submerged, too.


    It really is a sad state of affairs. Most of the press seems to have backed off of this story but this summer it was big news. It has caused loads of stress on the relationships of GA, AL, and FL, as the Chattahoochee River which is the primary river formed by Buford Dam, head south from Atlanta and shoots to the GA/AL border and snakes it way down to Appalachicola in Florida. Everyone thinks they have a right to this water. GA thinks we do, because, well, its reservered in our state, AL gets a fair share of their water from the Hooch, and FL has some sort of endangered wild mussel which will apparently be lost forever if we let less water out of the dam. To this day I do not think they have come to a suitable agreement.

    And now, GA is even re-examining its border to the north, and has discovered that way back in 1818 a surveying mistake put the GA/TN border one mile south of what is should have been. And it has gone uncontested til now. Why is that one mile important? That would put GA's border at the Tennessee River which would no doubt ease restrictions we Georgians have been faced with recently. Strange but true.

    Tons of garbage has been discovered on the newly acquired Lake Lanier 'beaches.' Everything from uncorked bottles of wine (which no doubt fell overboard by some drunken lovers) to old refrigerators to discarded Christmas tree skeletons have been found. Even several guns have been discovered. Personally I cannot believe they have not found any bodies!

    One other interesting thing to be uncovered is the old concrete bleachers from a race track. More on that tomorrow...
    #2
  3. DeBandi

    DeBandi Exploring Alabama

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    Nice job Flux.:thumb

    I did not realize that it was still so low. Good info buddy.

    I knew that boy could ride on water, I just knew it.
    I miss you guys...
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    :thumb

    :lurk
    #4
  5. eyeonit

    eyeonit O.E.G.

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    A buddy of mine lives down in Atlanta. He used to go boating all the time at Lanier. Holy shit. That's crazy. He told me it was low but WTF??? Didn't realize it was that low.
    #5
  6. flux_capacitor

    flux_capacitor I know a shortcut!

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    Thanks dude, a compliment from the master!!!



    This past winter we flew out west for vacation and on the flight home we flew over several North GA lakes and from the air it is disgusting how much shoreline there has become.

    Don't get me wrong though, there are parts where the water is still deep... still... boaters have to use extreme caution now for fear of hitting underwater treelines! :eek1

    I will finish this report tomorrow. I want to hunt down the Lost Speedway aka Looper Speedway. Lots of interesting history just here around Dawson County. :nod
    #6
  7. GaM

    GaM Long timer

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    If it ever rains enough to get Lanier back up to level everyone else will be looking for two of everything to put on the ark.
    #7
  8. Willy-B

    Willy-B onebudwiser

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    Nice history, dude. Good read for sure!:thumb

    My history is here: A DRZ (motarded out which happens to be part of the story in this thread) wheeling across old 53 hwy while Lucky, Flux and I take in the moment. [​IMG]

    Thanks again for the spirited ride ride today!! Nice fall colors in the peripheral vision and lots of roads I haven't been on before. Way to mix it up, Flux! It was awesome.:thumb
    #8
  9. Willy-B

    Willy-B onebudwiser

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    What in doG's heaven name is a "ride ride?" I need some edumucating.:baldy
    #9
  10. TheGov

    TheGov n00b

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    Nice story! The water level issues were in all the news stories over the summer down here in FL. Then the hurricanes and elections have taken over. Sorry to hear it has not recovered. I had hoped some of the tropical storms had helped bring some rain.

    My wife, son, and I are at Durhamtown Plantation today and Tuesday. We will then be riding in the Tellico area on Wed -Fri. The weather and riding is great and it sure is nice not to spend it at work.
    #10
  11. kdscoates

    kdscoates Long timer

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    :lurk
    #11
  12. ArmyMedic

    ArmyMedic Flyin' Elvis, UT Chapter

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    I grew up sailing on Lanier. I live out West now. I can't believe how far down it is. Scary stuff.
    #12
  13. dentedvw

    dentedvw Where did I put that

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    Waiting, patiently. Almost.
    :evil
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  14. flux_capacitor

    flux_capacitor I know a shortcut!

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    Sorry it has taken a whole 'nother week to get on with this report, but what I found was worth it!!!

    I have for awhile now heard of this old race track which was part of what was lost due to the flooding to create the lake. After some searching I found out that the actual official name for this place was Looper Speedway. :nod This is located at Laurel Park in Hall County off of US129.

    Looper Speedway was a dirt track, and one of three in Gainesville. Hundreds of people used to gather here to watch what were the most popular events in the area at the time.

    According to one article I read, a few of the drivers reportedly parked their cars in the infield to let them die with the track because they racing would forever be lost in the area without Looper Speedway.

    Here's what turns 3 and 4 used to look like:
    [​IMG]



    Here's what they look like now!
    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. flux_capacitor

    flux_capacitor I know a shortcut!

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    A few historical shots of the grandstands, which is what we're interested in for the purpose of this report.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    The grandstands were made of concrete. I have seen reports starting they were between 10 and fifteen levels high. I walked the width across and it comes close to 200 feet wide. :eek1 There is a staircase in the center coming down. As you can see, hundreds of folks would come around to watch racing at the track known as the dustiest in the circuit.


    This pic I grabbed from an online source. It was take in 2006 when the drought first started to draw public attention. As you can see, only the tippy-top of the bleachers were able to be seen.

    [​IMG]



    Well, that has changed a little!!! :eek1



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can easily see the bleachers under the silt that was left behind as the water receeded.

    [​IMG]

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    Even full vegetables have had the opportunity to grow on the bleachers now.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. flux_capacitor

    flux_capacitor I know a shortcut!

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    Well, that is pretty much it for this report.

    This area has all kinds of neat history. I will add more to the lake report as I find things, but the major stuff has all been reported here so far. I've already planned my next report, you will love it! :thumb
    #16
  17. CATCH-22

    CATCH-22 Sublime ADVenturer

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    Hey flux_capacitor I enjoyed your whole story, I truly hope you guys get the rain you need. It looks to me like you need a couple of years worth. Great place to ride no doubt.
    #17
  18. flux_capacitor

    flux_capacitor I know a shortcut!

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    Thanks for the compliment. It was fun learning more about the area I live in. Glad I could share.

    Yeah, I think it will take a long while for this lake to get back to normal. It makes me sick to think about how these people with 'lakefront' property must feel.
    #18
  19. summerinmaine

    summerinmaine Hells Atheists MC Supporter

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    Any signs of the cars that were allegedly left in the middle of the Speedway?

    That would be way cool! :thumb

    Nice report. Sorry to hear about the lake. I took a spin up around there years ago, when I was in Atlanta for a week, and had some free time.
    #19
  20. flux_capacitor

    flux_capacitor I know a shortcut!

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    No, I don't think the water is quite low enough to determine that. I highly doubt that story is actually true, anyway, but ya never know what these crazy rednecks will do to make a point either! :lol3
    #20