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Forsyth approves updated master plan for Shady Grove Campground

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Forsyth County commissioners gave their approval to expand efforts at Shady Grove Campground to draw visitors.

The commission voted Aug. 24 to adopt a new master plan for the 110-acre site on Allyn Lane Memorial Way on Lake Lanier.

Parks and Recreation Director Jim Pryor said the county has continuously made upgrades to the facility since taking over operations from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers around 2006. Every major upgrade takes time, he said, because it must be approved by the regional Corps office in Mobile, Alabama.

With an updated master plan for the site, Pryor said, the Corps can simply approve the document as a whole, eliminating the piecemeal process the county has been going through.

The long-range plan includes a $3.4 million budget, with each major expense approved by the county.

Pryor said a master plan would also put Forsyth County in line for Natural Resources grants without scrambling to develop and engineer new initiatives.

Right now, Shady Grove Campground encompasses 110 campsites for groups, tents and RVs. It has a beach and swim area, boat ramp with a courtesy dock, paths and children’s playground.

County commissioners voted unanimously to approve the updated master plan and submit it to the Army Corps of Engineers for consideration.

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Commissioners also agreed to allow expansion of glamping sites for Timberline Glamping Company.

Glamping is simply “glamorous camping” and provides amenities and resort-style services not associated with traditional camping. The company currently operates seven sites at Shady Grove, providing various amenities from tents with king beds, electric air conditioning and heating, to retro trailers with a full kitchen and private bathroom with a shower.

Timberline Glamping Company was able to stay booked at all sites at 100 percent regardless of the pandemic, Co-CEO Nathan Self said. National Geographic reached out to them to be featured in their top 500 campgrounds in all 50 states.

Self also said they have stayed consistently booked and they request expansion because of the amount of people that are looking for glamping sites.

Director of Parks & Recreation Pryor said the company has been good to work with and commended them for the attractiveness of getting out in nature.

“Camping has boomed and taken off. I believe they’re the reason the popularity of the campground has become so much of what it is,” Pryor said.

The commissioners approved the expansion of adding 13 sites – the vote was 5 to 0. With the revenue, 10 percent goes back into keeping up with the aesthetics of the campground. And with the expanded sites, Pryor said they expect to double this year’s revenue of $70,000 in the upcoming year.

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