The new Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass has been in effect a few days, and will help with much-needed maintenance on state wildlife areas.
Thirty-two sites managed by the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division now require the Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP) for visitors ages 16-64. Exempt from the requirement are individuals who have a valid WMA License, Honorary License, Sportsmen’s License, Lifetime License or Three-Day Hunting and Fishing License.
In all, Wildlife Resources Division manages more than 100 properties across the state. However, GORP impacts only about one-third of the areas - the spots with the highest traffic by all users.
The GORP requirement began Jan. 1, although communications outreach about the new pass going into effect began in fall 2011. Signs are posted on affected properties and a complete list of sites is online at www.georgiawildlife.com  and listed below.
The new access pass provides for users including hikers, birders, cyclists and horse-riders to help cover maintenance at designated wildlife management areas, public fishing areas and natural areas. That work has been funded mostly by hunters and anglers.
“As budgets have become tighter over the last few years, maintenance funds have been stretched thin,” says Dan Forster, director, Wildlife Resources Division. “Hunters and anglers have been paying the bill through state license fees and federal excise taxes to maintain these properties. However, other users contribute to the general wear and tear of the sites too. The GORP revenue will be directed to long overdue maintenance projects such as roadways, trails, parking lots and other facilities.”
Forster explains that the 32 state-managed properties were chosen through extensive public involvement. GORP was addressed in a total of 12 public meetings in 2010 and 2011. The sites were identified as experiencing the most impact by recreational visitors. Because GORP is a new requirement, enforcement will be an educational process, Forster adds.
For individuals, a GORP costs $3.50 for three days or $19 for a year. For groups of eight or fewer people, the pass is $10 (three days) and $35 (annual). A transaction fee applies ($2.50 online, $3 at retail license agents or $5 by phone).
On sale since Nov. 1, the GORP is available at www.georgiawildlife.com/recreational-licenses , by calling 1-800-366-2661 or through retail license agents.
To learn more, see a map of the areas or review frequently asked (and answered) questions, please visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Georgia-Outdoor-Recreational-Pass .