West Ga. parks cultivated for wildlife viewing
By WINSTON JONES
October 19, 2014
CARROLLTON, Ga. — Officials are hopeful two county parks will soon become popular public wildlife viewing areas, similar to those found in the mountains of east Tennessee and north Georgia.
County park workers last weekend planted seeds to grow deer-attracting vegetation on three acres of the bottom fields at McIntosh Reserve in the southern end of the county. Similar plantings are planned this weekend at Little Tallapoosa Park in the northeastern county area.
"We planted certain mixes of vegetation that are known to encourage deer feeding," said Parks Director Trudy Crunkleton. "While we're waiting on the vegetation to grow, we'll probably install some corn feeders, placed on timers, to dispense feed at certain times."
The seeds planted included oats, wheat, rye, clover and winter peas, a combination from Pennington Seed which is known as the Deer and Wildlife mixture.
"We're going to put up signs in the park, identifying the wildlife viewing areas, and probably add information about the best viewing times," said District 5 County Commissioner Kevin Jackson.
He said planting the vegetation is a very inexpensive way to draw wildlife out into the open and provide viewing pleasure for park visitors. In addition to deer, he said the vegetation will also attract wild turkeys and other wildlife. He said deer often struggle to find food in the winter and the vegetation will provide the animals with food and park visitors with entertainment.
"People go to Cades Cove up in Tennessee and Red Top Mountain in Georgia to look at deer," Jackson said. "I think we can recreate that kind of setting here."
Jackson said similar plantings, on a smaller scale, were tried last year without much success.
"This year, park Manager Daryl Johnson used the county tiller and we expect much better results," he said. "This is something I wanted to see done for a long time. If it's successful, we'll do it on an even bigger scale next year."
Jackson said the plantings were strategically placed at different distances from the road to determine how close the traffic came come and the deer will remain comfortable.
Crunkleton said the tilling equipment has been moved to Little Tallapoosa Park this week for planting deer vegetation in the big field there. She said signs will be later be placed to identify the best wildlife viewing areas.
McIntosh Reserve is a 527-acre park, located in the southernmost end of the county, on the Chattahoochee River. The park is open year round, except on holidays, providing camping, horseback riding, picnicking and hiking. Access is by a county maintained road which connects with Georgia Highway 5, two miles west of Whitesburg. The park was named for Chief William McIntosh, leader of a tribe of Creek Indians who lived in Carroll County in the early 1800s.
Little Tallapoosa Park was opened three years ago and contains 256 acres, with seven miles of nature trails and 2.5 miles of paved trail. It has tent and RV camping facilities, horseback trails, a comfort station with bathrooms and showers and a small fishing pond. It is located at 1930 Highway 113 North, a few miles east of the Highway 166 bypass in Carrollton.
Information from: Times-Georgian, http://www.times-georgian.com/
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