Lake Sidney Lanier is well known for its recreational opportunities. The U.S. Army Corps operates 33 day-use park areas and 7 campgrounds around the lake providing campsites, picnic areas, group picnic shelters, boat launching ramps, swimming areas, and hiking trails. Additional areas owned by the Army Corps have been leased out and are operated as state, county and city parks, and commercial marinas.
With over 690 miles of shoreline and over 100 small islands Lake Lanier is the perfect place to pursue your recreational adventure. Whether it is fishing, camping, boating, picnicking, swimming or a variety of other recreation activities, Lake Lanier has it all.
Title 36 Rules and Regulations Governing Public Use of Water Resource Development Projects Administered by the Chief of Engineers
Many Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas, including day-use parks and boat launching facilities (not including campgrounds), charge fees up to $5.00 daily. Annual passes for those recreation areas are available at your local Project Management Office and some parks for $40.00.
Holders of an America the Beautiful Senior Pass, America the Beautiful Access Pass, Golden Age Pass or Golden Access Pass are no longer required to purchase annual passes or pay at the honor vault. Owners of the passes must display them in clear hang tags, which can be obtained from your local Project Management Office and some day-use parks.
Annual passes are good for one calendar year from the month they are purchased. For example, a pass purchased in February will be valid through February. Annual passes allow entry to Corps-operated recreation areas, but do not allow entry to campgrounds. Passes are hangtags that are typically hung from the rearview mirror. A sticker is available for open-type vehicles, such as motorcycles or jeeps.
America the Beautiful Senior & Access Passes
The America the Beautiful Senior and Access Passes replaced the Golden Passport Program on December 31, 2006. Golden Passports are still honored at Corps recreation sites, but are no longer be issued by the Corps. The Corps honors the America the Beautiful Senior and Access passes, and is now authorized to issue them. America the Beautiful Passes may also be obtained from other federal land managing agency facilities including those run by the USGS, U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Questions about America the Beautiful passes and how to purchase them are found on the USGS website.
UNDEVELOPED ISLAND USE POLICY
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at Lake Sidney Lanier has many islands in the lake that provide visitors several recreation opportunities. These islands range in size from small hill-tops barely poking above the lake surface to the largest island which is 148 acres in size. None of the islands have park facilities such as picnic tables, restrooms, or trash cans. They are all undeveloped, wooded islands. Because of this, USACE manages these islands for wildlife habitat and low impact public recreation. Below is a list of allowed and prohibited activities on the undeveloped islands in Lake Lanier.
Hiking: The public is welcome to hike anywhere on the islands and enjoy the woods, wildlife, and views of Lake Lanier. There are no designated hiking trails so bring a map or compass so you don’t get lost.
Picnicking: Although there are no picnic tables or trash cans, the public is welcome to bring food and supplies to the islands to enjoy a picnic. Please help us keep these areas clean and take all your trash away when you leave. There are trash cans available at all designated boat ramps.
Swimming: USACE recommends swimming only at one of our 17 designated swimming areas at parks around the lake. If you choose to swim around any of these undeveloped islands please wear your life jacket. Be aware of possible underwater hazards such as steep drop-offs, large rocks, or fallen trees around these undeveloped islands. Swimming is at your own risk.
Hunting: During November and December deer hunting is allowed on designated islands. Hunters must obtain a permit from Lake Lanier USACE office prior to hunting. For safety, hunting is restricted to bow and arrow only; no firearms.
Geocaching: Many caches have been placed on islands in Lake Lanier waiting for explorers to find them. Visit https://www.geocaching.com/play for rules and instructions on this activity. A permit from the USACE is required to place a new cache on government property at Lake Lanier. For public safety, no geocaching is allowed during November and December on the islands where hunting is allowed.
Camping: No camping is allowed on the islands because the islands do not have any restrooms, camping facilities, or cleaning services. Emergency medical services are also very limited on these islands. USACE operates seven campgrounds around Lake Lanier that provide safe and enjoyable camping opportunities.
Open Fires: For public safety and resource protection, USACE regulations only allow fires in designated areas. These areas are the designated parks around Lake Lanier. If an unauthorized fire on one of these islands were to escape it has the potential to injure other people and/or destroy the forest and wildlife habitat that it provides. USACE does allow small fires, contained in devices commercially available and designed for fire, for the purpose of cooking food; for example a charcoal grill. Placing rocks in a circle on the ground to contain a fire is not allowed. Please do not discard used coals on the ground. If the coals are hot they can start a fire or injure someone who steps on them.
Leaving Trash: As there is no trash pick up service, you must pack out all trash you bring onto the islands.
Cutting Vegetation: These islands provide valuable wildlife habitat and aesthetic beauty to Lake Lanier. Please help us protect this limited resource by not cutting any trees, branches, or shrubs. It is a serious offense that carries a potential $5,000.00 fine.