DeSoto Falls Observation Deck reconstructed

News

LUMPKIN COUNTY, Ga. — The U.S. Forest Service, Blue Ridge Ranger District of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, along with partners and volunteers, completed reconstruction of the DeSoto Falls Waterfall Observation Deck near Blood Mountain in Lumpkin County on March 18.

Following Hurricane Irma damage to the observation deck, the Forest Service requested emergency funds from the Washington Office, and received funding in fiscal year 2018. The severely broken deck was removed in Spring of 2018, and the trail remained open without the observation deck. The reconstruction project started March 4, by the Forest Service in partnership with U.S. Army Rangers from Georgia’s Camp Merrill, Mountain High Hikers, Benton MacKaye Trail Association, Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, and other partners.

Expert mountaineers from Camp Merrill used the opportunity as a training event to set up a rope suspension system to transport 8,000 pounds of lumber from the trailhead, across the creek, onto a transport, down a half mile of trail and across the creek again then up to the base of the waterfall.

Nearly 20 volunteers worked together to move all the materials to the project site, and achieved a lot in a short amount of time. Battling cold weather and abundant rain, construction began later that week. The substructure was complete in three days, the deck was laid the next week, and handrails and structural bracing was finished March 18.

DeSoto Falls is a very popular area for weekend Blue Ridge Ranger District forest visitors, and while there is still work to do on the trail, the recreation area provides a high quality opportunity to visit these waterfalls.

Visitors can also go to the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests website at www.fs.usda.gov/conf or contact a Forest Service office for directions, information about recreation areas, safety tips, news and special events. Contact a local Forest Service office by calling:

Blue Ridge District Office, Blairsville, Ga. – 706-745-6928

Chattooga River District Office, Lakemont, Ga. – 706-754-6221

Conasauga District Office, Chatsworth, Ga. – 706-695-6736

Oconee District Office, Eatonton, Ga. – 706-485-7110

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

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BOC votes to join lawsuit against federal government

Business

DAWSONVILLE Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday (July 19) to participate in a class-action lawsuit against the federal government to recover money the county is due under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program.

The PILOT program allows the federal government to make payments to local governments in lieu of paying property taxes on federal lands within eligible counties.

Late last year, Kane County, Utah filed litigation against the federal government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking to recover the balance of funds created by underpayments to the counties. The court ruled those underpayments must be paid and the case was certified as a class-action lawsuit, which allows other counties that were under paid to opt into the lawsuit at no cost to the counties.

There is no cost to the county to join the lawsuit and the county could recover thousands of dollars owed to its taxpayers.

“There is no downside to and there is a good possibility the county could obtain a modest amount by way of the class action,” County Attorney Lynn Frey said last week.

The U.S. Forest Service and Corps of Engineers owns more than 9,000 acres in Dawson County and has been receiving payments under that program since 1999. In 2017, the county received a check for $21,990 and has been advised it will receive a check for $25,835 this year. Should commissioners opt into the class action lawsuit, Frey estimates the county could recover between $3,500 and $5,000.

The federal government can still appeal the court’s decision, but Frey says he has seen no indication it will do so.

In other decision, the Board of Commissioners approved:

  • An alcohol license for Pokeyaki to serve beer in its restaurant at 145 Forest Blvd. Suite 450;
  • The transfer of a retail package alcohol license permit for Dawson Fine Wine and Spirits at 46 Blue Ridge Parkway;
  • A request by the Development Authority of Dawson County (DADC) to accept the bid of AHC Contracting for the purpose of integrating the economic development activities through the co-location of DADC within the Chamber of Commerce office at a cost of $12,470 plus $2,000 for moving expense;
  • The site plan for Piedmont Properties for construction of Dawsonville Self Storage with the stipulation the buffer be expanded. Once the building plan is complete, it must come back before the Board of Commissioners for approval;
  • The capital investment element of the county’s Comprehensive Plan;
  • Retaining the Athens-based law firm of Blasingame, Burch, Garrard and Ashley to represent the county in multi-district opioid litigation to recover expenses incurred by the county arising from the ongoing opioid crisis.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Dawson County may participate in litigation against the federal government

News

DAWSONVILLE Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners could vote as early as this afternoon’s meeting whether to participate in a class-action lawsuit against the federal government to recover money the county is due under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program.

The program allows the federal government to make payments to local governments in lieu of property taxes on federal lands within eligible counties.

Late last year, Kane County, Utah filed litigation against the federal government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking to recover the balance of funds created by underpayments to the counties. The court ruled those underpayments must be paid and the case was certified as a class-action lawsuit, which allows other counties that were under paid to opt into the lawsuit at no cost to the counties.

County Attorney Lynn Frey has reviewed that lawsuit and said he will present his findings to the Board of Commissioners during today’s (July 12) work session.

The U.S. Forest Service and Corps of Engineers owns more than 9,000 acres in Dawson County and has been receiving payments under that program  since 1999. In 2017, the county received a check for $21,990 and has been advised it will receive a check for $25,835 this year. Should commissioners opt into the class action lawsuit, Frey estimates the county could recover between $3,500 and $5,000.

“There is no downside to participation and there is a good possibility the county could obtain a modest amount by way of the class action,” he added. “My recommendation is to opt in and become a party to the litigation.”

The federal government can still appeal the court’s decision, but Frey says he has seen no indication it will do so. Commissioners have until September to decide.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

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