One of our local game wardens – Ranger First Class Brian Adams – was honored recently as the recipient of the 2014 Rocky Wainwright Waterfowl Award.
The statewide honor, named in memory of Conservation Ranger Cpl. Rocky Wainwright , is awarded each year to an officer who goes beyond the call of duty to enforce fish and game laws and promote and protect the state’s natural resources.
According to his nomination form, Adams checked more than 30 ponds for bait last season and used a dragging device he built himself to identify eight baited ponds. Then he checked those sites regularly, even on his days off, which yielded 12 baiting contacts in four different counties.
He also made cases for hunting after legal hours, over the limit, possession of lead shot, unplugged shotguns and various license infractions – and still found time to speak to civic clubs and church groups and help organize wood duck nesting box programs.
I had the good fortune to run into RFC Adams last summer, while researching a story about Georgia’s “outdoorsiest” communities.
I decided to drive out to Glascock County to see why so many residents there – almost one fifth of the population – are licensed hunters, ranking third among the state’s 159 counties.
Adams is one of the reasons why.
The county is unusual in that hunter education is taught in the Glascock County Consolidated School, which houses kindergarten through 12th grade. Kids also get a dose of fishing each year as part of their curriculum, beginning in kindergarten all the way through fifth grade.
Adams helps in those programs, and even added waterfowl habitat, regulations and hunter ethics to his instruction this year.
The program includes both wildlife education and the state hunter education course – with a goal of insuring that before graduation, every student will be certified.
MARINA PROGRESS: Work is finally under way to redevelop one of Thurmond Lake’s choicest marina sites.
Contractors are removing underground gas storage tanks at the Columbia County site, formerly known as Little River Marina, which was leased in June 2012 to Classic City Marinas of Athens, Ga.
The tank removal will take about three weeks, during which the site’s public boat ramp will be closed, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
The planned new facility at the site will be called Lake Thurmond Marina, but cannot be built until the site is assessed and any needed cleanup is completed.
GUNS AND PARKS: Speaking of the corps, the agency’s Savannah District office issued a statement last week on the heels of the passage of Georgia’s House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014.
The law, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal on April 23, will become effective July 1. However, it does not affect lakes and lands in Georgia managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Corps-managed property is regulated by the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, part 327,” the statement said. “Regulations governing possession of firearms specify that possession of loaded firearms, ammunition or loaded projectile firing devices is prohibited unless in the possession of federal, state or local law enforcement officers, or when being used in compliance with hunting regulations.”
So if you’re packing, you may want to leave your weapons behind when you visit the lake this summer.