Georgia State Parks Launch First-Time Camper Program
Novice campers have a friend in the Georgia State Parks system.
The parks group has recently launched its First-Time Camper program, which allows folks to get the full camping experience with only a partial financial investment, The Gainesville Times reported.
The $45 fee includes a two-night stay at a participating campground, a Camping 101 lesson from a park ranger and an equipment rental. The borrowed equipment is provided by REI — an outdoor equipment and clothing company.
The package includes the use of a six-person tent, a camp stove with fuel, a lantern, two camp chairs and four self-inflating sleeping pads.
"There are a lot of people out there who love being in nature and are interested in having the camping experience, but they aren’t sure of everything that’s involved," said Kim Hatcher, parks public affairs coordinator.
"This gives them the opportunity to try it out and see if they like it, before they invest in their own gear."
Six parks statewide are participating in the pilot program, including Fort Yargo State Park in Winder and Victoria Bryant State Park in Franklin County. The parks "were chosen for their variety of outdoor recreation, proximity to larger cities and camp-loving staff."
When campers arrive, they’ll be greeted by a member of the park’s staff, who will help them set up their tent, make a campfire and give a brief lesson on the ins and outs of camping.
"We realized that some people like the idea of camping, but they’re a little intimidated and don’t know if they can do it," said Cindy Reittinger, the program coordinator.
"When they discover that its easier than they think to pitch a tent, or when they experience the thrill of hearing their first owl, they’ll realize how much fun camping can be."
To participate in the program, potential campers should contact the park directly.
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