The long-range weather forecast looks to be great for lake activities as temperatures are expected to be above normal and rainfall near average. Nothing out of the usual is on the horizon from now until the end of summer, said Deputy State Climatologist Nyasha Dunkley.
“No trends necessarily for the next few months,” Dunkley said.
Records from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show that Lake Allatoona is presently at 839.50 feet above sea level. Normal summer level is 840 feet, which is considered “full summer pool” level.
“We want to have summer pool at Memorial Day,” said Corps park ranger Stephen Cain. “That’s usually the kickoff of summer and then we maintain that as long as we can through the recreation season.”
Jimmy Durham of Acworth is a member of the Lake Allatoona Preservation Authority, which provides stewardship of the lake area. He said the lake is as clean as it has been in a longtime, which may be a result of the slowdown in the economy.
“Lake Allatoona is one of the highest used lakes in the state and maybe the nation,” said Durham, a longtime lake user.
“There’s very little development going on around the lake and that’s usually what causes a lot of the problems for the quality of the water – the runoff from the development.”
There are eight marinas located around Lake Allatoona. Visitors can rent jet skis, runabout boats, deck boats, pontoon boats, party boats, canoes and kayaks at Park Marina or Holiday Harbor Marina.
The lake’s seven campgrounds are all handicapped accessible and include grills and tables, water hookups, restrooms, showers, a boat ramp and a dump station. All have swimming and beach areas with the exception of Clark Creek North and Old Highway 41 No. 3.
There is also an abundance of hiking trails around Lake Allatoona. Red Top Mountain State Park offers ongoing guided tours on several of its hiking trails, some of which cross Civil War battlefields with historic markers. Hikers can also hike hundreds of miles on their own.
To the south of the lake is Lake Acworth, a 360-acre lake that empties into Lake Allatoona. It remains year-round at 848 feet above sea level.
While the range of recreational activities is narrower at the smaller lake, there are still plenty of opportunities for enjoyment at Lake Acworth, which is operated by the city.
“Lake Acworth is more of a passive lake,” said James Albright, director of Acworth parks and recreation.
Gas-powered motors and personal watercrafts are not permitted on the lake. However, boats with trolling motors are allowed. Swimming, picnicking and fishing are perhaps the biggest attractions for visitors to Lake Acworth. Fishing is permitted year-round.
Lake Acworth hosts many annual events, including the Summer Concert Series, Love the Lake Arts and Crafts Festival and Fourth of July fireworks show.
Cauble Park is a 24-acre park on the northern side of the lake that’s home to a beach, fishing points, trails, a boating ramp, boardwalk, playgrounds and restrooms.
Overlook Park off Highway 92 is a 1.5-acre park overlooking the lake that provides fishing and picnicking opportunities.
Lake Acworth is typically drained the last weekend in September to assist with clean up.
“It draws a lot of people to our community,” Albright said of the lake. “It’s a versatile resource in terms of a place to host events, a place for people to recreate and to fish. We have a lot of kayakers and canoers on the lake.”
As always, safety is a must when visiting the lakes.
In 2011, seven of the state’s 49 drownings were reported at Lake Allatoona, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. At least two individuals have drowned this year.
Boating safety tips include the wearing of life jackets, no drinking and operating watercrafts; having a designated boat operator; controlling speeding; utilizing navigation lights at night; and avoiding the overloading of boats with people and equipment.