Stephens Co. Still Planning for Stephens Co. Park Takeover

Stephens County will officially take over operations of the Stephens County Park next week.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday that it would turn over operations and maintenance of the park to the Stephens County government next Thursday, May 1.

Located on the shores of Lake Hartwell off of U.S. Highway 123 at the Georgia-South Carolina state line, the Stephens County Park is the site of the “Broken Bridges.”

Stephens County Administrator Phyllis Ayers updated county commissioners on the transfer at Tuesday’s county commission meeting.

Ayers said the county is still finalizing its plans for operating the day use area.

“We are still looking at our operation,” said Ayers. “We will honor the yearly passes through the end of the calendar year. We are looking at hours of operation, when to lock the gate, whether to lock the gate, how much the day passes will be, and how to enforce that.”

County Commissioners unanimously approved the lease agreement to operate and maintain the Stephens County Park in March.

Stephens County agreed to take over operations and maintenance in order to keep the park open after the Corps of Engineers had announced plans to close it at the start of the year as a cost-cutting measure in the budget.

The Corps has kept the Stephens County Park open as usual while the lease agreement was finalized.

Corps officials said the agency will also turn over operations and maintenance of the Milltown and Long Point recreation areas to Hart County on May 1 in similar agreements.

The Corps said it will continue to operate and maintain the Jenkins Ferry, Spring Branch, and Walker Creek access areas in Stephens County.

Also, the Corps said it will still operate and maintain Watsadler and Payne’s Creek campgrounds, Big Oaks and Elrod Ferry day use areas, and several access areas within Hart County.