Permit needed for non-anglers at Ga. fishing areas

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STATESBORO, Ga. — With the New Year, people who hike, picnic or camp — but don’t fish — no longer have free use of the Evans County Public Fishing Area and 31 other facilities around Georgia.

Either an annual fishing license with a wildlife management area stamp or a special short-term fishing license was already required to fish in Georgia’s public fishing areas. But previously, no license or fee had been required for other uses. Effective Jan. 1, the Department of Natural Resources is issuing a new permit called the Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass, or GORP, and requiring that non-anglers who use fishing areas possess either a GORP or a fishing license.

A temporary banner on the gate at the Evans County PFA alerts visitors of the new requirement, and a permanent sign has been put up nearby. The 372-acre PFA, off U.S. Highway 280 near Daisy, includes three lakes measuring eight, 30 and 84 acres. In addition to fishing piers and boat ramps, the site features picnic tables, restrooms and a nature trail with a boardwalk. It also offers primitive campsites for organized groups.

Besides the seven affected public fishing areas, the Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass is now required to access certain facilities at 25 wildlife management areas, according to a list on the DNR website. Near Statesboro, these include the campground at Tuckahoe WMA in Screven County and the shooting ranges at Big Hammock WMA in Tattnall County and Richmond Hill WMA in Bryan County.

An annual GORP costs $19, which is the same as the fee to add a wildlife management area stamp to an annual fishing or hunting license. Another option is a three-day GORP for $3.50, and Georgia residents - but not nonresidents - can make this a “GORP Plus” with three-day fishing privileges for no additional charge. Families or other groups of up to eight people can buy a three-day group pass for $10 or an annual small-group pass for $35.

The GORP can be purchased online at www.georgiawildlife.com, by phone at 1-800-366-2661, or at local retailers that sell hunting and fishing licenses.

With the DNR adjusting to funding cuts, the permit requirement is the second policy change in six months for the public fishing areas. As of Aug. 1, 2011, the state-operated PFAs are open five days a week and are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Previously, they had been open from sunup to sundown seven days a week.

With the New Year, people who hike, picnic or camp — but don’t fish — no longer have free use of the Evans County Public Fishing Area and 31 other facilities around Georgia.

Either an annual fishing license with a wildlife management area stamp or a special short-term fishing license was already required to fish in Georgia’s public fishing areas. But previously, no license or fee had been required for other uses. Effective Jan. 1, the Department of Natural Resources is issuing a new permit called the Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass, or GORP, and requiring that non-anglers who use fishing areas possess either a GORP or a fishing license.

A temporary banner on the gate at the Evans County PFA alerts visitors of the new requirement, and a permanent sign has been put up nearby. The 372-acre PFA, off U.S. Highway 280 near Daisy, includes three lakes measuring eight, 30 and 84 acres. In addition to fishing piers and boat ramps, the site features picnic tables, restrooms and a nature trail with a boardwalk. It also offers primitive campsites for organized groups.

Besides the seven affected public fishing areas, the Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass is now required to access certain facilities at 25 wildlife management areas, according to a list on the DNR website. Near Statesboro, these include the campground at Tuckahoe WMA in Screven County and the shooting ranges at Big Hammock WMA in Tattnall County and Richmond Hill WMA in Bryan County.

An annual GORP costs $19, which is the same as the fee to add a wildlife management area stamp to an annual fishing or hunting license. Another option is a three-day GORP for $3.50, and Georgia residents - but not nonresidents - can make this a “GORP Plus” with three-day fishing privileges for no additional charge. Families or other groups of up to eight people can buy a three-day group pass for $10 or an annual small-group pass for $35.

The GORP can be purchased online at www.georgiawildlife.com, by phone at 1-800-366-2661, or at local retailers that sell hunting and fishing licenses.

With the DNR adjusting to funding cuts, the permit requirement is the second policy change in six months for the public fishing areas. As of Aug. 1, 2011, the state-operated PFAs are open five days a week and are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Previously, they had been open from sunup to sundown seven days a week.

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Sweet son
11762
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Sweet son 01/02/12 - 01:42 pm
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Let's hope that the DNR plans

Let's hope that the DNR plans to check all of these passes with existing personnel. We all know that personnel costs always ruin budgets.

crkgrdn
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crkgrdn 01/02/12 - 07:58 pm
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Won't Andy and Opie be as

Won't Andy and Opie be as surprised as I am. I expect to hear Gomer say, "Sheezam?"

Riverman1
94246
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Riverman1 01/02/12 - 08:26 pm
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I really believe if we did

I really believe if we did away with all fishing and hunting licenses and the complete DNR nothing would change. Nothing.

Little Lamb
49247
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Little Lamb 01/02/12 - 08:53 pm
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This is petty and tacky: The

This is petty and tacky:

The Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass, or GORP, can be purchased online, by phone, or at local retailers that sell hunting and fishing licenses.

You also should be able to purchase one at the gate when you show up at a public fishing area to walk around or enjoy a picnic lunch.

Little Lamb
49247
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Little Lamb 01/03/12 - 11:13 am
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Wow! The Associated Press

Wow! The Associated Press picked up on this story from the Statesboro Herald. Now both stories are on the on-line Chronicle to confuse the commenters!

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