What’s the Little House on Elachee Drive?

The Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission has opened a Parking Station to provide enhanced oversight and security in parking areas of the Chicopee Woods Area Park.

See the February 7, 2018 Gainesville Times article, New Parking Fee in Place at Chicopee Woods Park

February 1, 2018 (Gainesville, GA) – The Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission (CWAPC) reports that starting February 1, 2018, all motor vehicles entering the Conservation Area of the Chicopee Woods Area Park (Park) will require a valid parking pass. Visitors may purchase day or annual parking passes upon arrival at the Park. Net proceeds will be used to provide enhanced security. The Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission to open a Parking Station to provide enhanced oversight and security in parking areas of the Chicopee Woods Area Park.

Travelers along Atlanta Highway have witnessed the CWAPC Parking Station take shape, thanks to Tipton Construction Company. In light of the public’s increased visitation and utilization of the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve and its hiking and bike trails, the Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission recognized that enhanced oversight and security presence in the parking areas of Chicopee Woods Area Park will benefit all who enjoy the park. The new Parking Station, staffed with parking security personnel and located at the Park entrance on A-Avenue/Elachee Drive, is ‘central command’ for that effort daily from 7 a.m. to dusk. Travelers along Atlanta Highway have witnessed the CWAPC Parking Station construction (now open), thanks to Tipton Construction Company.

“With this parking station, the Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission is working proactively to manage and protect this incredible community resource,” says R.K. Whitehead, Chair of the CWAPC. “The Commission’s vision for a successful public-private partnership includes developing these unique educational and recreational opportunities. This project is an important step in the Park’s strategic management plan.”

The CWAPC is charging the fee and has authorized Elachee Nature Science Center to collect the fee on behalf of the Commission. Neither the Northeast Georgia Southern Off Road Bicycle Association (NE GA SORBA) nor Elachee receives the fee directly.

A CWAPC day parking pass is $5 per vehicle and a CWAPC annual parking pass is $50. Vehicles of 15-passengers or more will pay $10. Visitors may purchase a pass from the Parking Station or buy a day pass at one of the self-serve parking pass boxes in designated parking areas. The parking station accepts all major credit cards and debit cards, not cash. The self-serve parking pass boxes are cash-only. There are four designated parking locations in the Conservation Area of the Park: the Chicopee Woods mountain bike trails’ parking lot and the gravel lot at the hiking trail heads on Elachee Drive, the Elachee Visitor Center parking lot and the Chicopee Lake gated parking lot on Calvary Church Road.

Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission's parking station is now open on Elachee Drive.“This new addition to the Chicopee Woods Conservation Area will have an incredibly positive impact on recreational users as well as those who visit the Nature Center and Preserve or work in the area,” comments Andrea Timpone, Elachee Nature Science Center’s President/CEO. “Elachee is tremendously supportive of the possibilities this parking station offers, and we are excited to see the final unveiling of this project.”

Contrary to popular belief, no local, state or federal tax revenue is directed to the Park operations. Park operations include preservation and maintenance within one of the State’s largest protected greenspaces the 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve. These also include maintenance of the 12-mile hiking trail and 21.3-mile bike trail systems within the Conservation Area that nearly 80,000 individuals from around the north Georgia region enjoy each year. CWAPC, Elachee and NE GA SORBA rely on volunteers, earned revenue, financial donations, grants and proceeds from fundraising events for Park operations.

About the Chicopee Woods Area Park

In 1927, Johnson & Johnson Company, under the leadership of Robert Wood Johnson, Jr., purchased the major part of the Walnut Creek watershed to build the Chicopee Mill and Chicopee Village – a move that protected the forest and its water source. The company reduced mill production in the 1970s about the time a municipal water supply was made available to the Gainesville area. Johnson & Johnson closed the Chicopee Mill water filter plant and donated nearly 3,000 acres of the watershed to the Gainesville Area Park Commission. This land became Chicopee Woods Area Park, a 2,674-acre greenspace restricted for recreation and nature preservation uses. The Park is administered by the Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission, a body created and empowered by and under a 1980 Act of the General Assembly of Georgia. The Chicopee Woods Area Park was divided into three parcels with a public golf course on its north side and an agricultural demonstration pavilion on the west. Over 1,400 acres in the center of the Park (east side of I-985) was set aside as the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, land lease-managed by Elachee Nature Science Center. The CWAPC Bike Trails Committee in collaboration with NE GA SORBA maintain the mountain biking trail system on the west side of I-985.

About Elachee Nature Science Center

As the only SACS/AdvancED-accredited nature center in the southeastern U.S., Elachee is a private, independently owned and operated 501(c )(3) not for profit organization that has for nearly 40 years been promoting environmental understanding through education and conservation. Elachee serves visitors through STEAM-based environmental education programs for PreK-Grade 12 students, seasonal public nature programs, summer day camps, natural history and live animal exhibits, and hiking trails. The campus is also home to the accredited and licensed Elachee Nature Academy offering nature-based Preschool and Kindergarten-1st Grade programs. Elachee collaborates with community partners and a devoted volunteer corps in conservation stewardship to restore and protect the health of the 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve. The Elachee organization relies on earned income and tax-deductible donations, planned gifts, grants and fundraising events to fund operations. Learn more at www.elachee.org.

About the Northeast Georgia Southern Off Road Bicycle Association

Northeast Georgia SORBA is a 501(c )(3) not for profit advocacy organization that seeks to preserve, protect, and promote mountain bike access and diverse riding opportunities on public and private lands through education, communication, and volunteerism. Northeast Georgia SORBA is committed to educating mountain bicyclists to ride sensitively and responsibly in order to protect the natural environment and the experience of other trail users. Learn more at www.negasorba.org.

Media Contact: R.K. Whitehead, 770-535-1976