STATESBORO, Ga. — With the New Year, people who hike, picnic or camp – but don’t fish – no longer have free use of 32 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 began 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 Public Fishing Area 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.
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.
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. Groups of up to eight people can buy a three-day pass for $10 or an annual small-group pass for $35.
The GORP can be purchased online at www.georgiawildlife.com, by phone at (800) 366-2661, or at local retailers that sell hunting and fishing licenses.
As of Aug. 1, 2011, the state-operated PFAs are open five days a week and are closed Mondays and Tuesdays.