Originally created 04/29/00

Lake will stay open to public



Fishermen won't be barred from the rear portion of a popular public lake off Lock and Dam Road, but they'll soon have to park in designated areas.

"The Mayor's Fishin' Hole" was opened for public fishing last year by Mayor Bob Young. The back of the pond adjoins Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, an environmental education site on land leased from the City of Augusta.

Last week, park officials began ordering anglers away from the rear of the pond over concerns about safety, litter and vehicles parking along the park's nature trail.

But after a meeting this week between Mr. Young and park employees, a decision was made to leave the entire pond open to public fishing and create a designated parking area to reduce conflicts.

"We met with the mayor and came to some good conclusions," said Jackie Maryak, director of administration and giving for Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy, which operates Phinizy Swamp Nature Park.

"Fishing will be permitted on the pond in all areas," she said. "We're going to be great neighbors with everyone who wants to come to the area."

Mr. Young said the city will assist by adding signs and designated parking areas to prevent people from driving back to the park's nature trails.

"We'll see if that helps," he said. "The problem is not the fishermen; it's vehicles going back on the nature trail, and people looking for secluded areas to dump garbage."

Currently, visitors to the pond are directed to park on Lock and Dam Road and walk to the pond, where they may fish wherever they like. In the future, Mr. Young said, a small parking lot might be developed.

The pond is open to anyone with a valid fishing license. A free permit is required from the mayor's office, which is on the eighth floor of the Municipal Building. Boats and night fishing are not allowed.

Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119, or rpavey@augustachronicle.com.