The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area plans to reopen all park trails and river access on Monday, May 11. Entry fees will be waived.

The national park has been closed since early April due to the pandemic. However, trespassing has been rampant, residents and officials say, and led to complaints about parking on side streets. The partial reopening includes only certain parking areas and leaves some facilities closed.

“We welcome visitors back to the park to use the trails and river for recreation,” said Ann Honious, the park’s acting superintendent, in a press release. “Where parking areas remain closed or are full we ask visitors to please park safely and legally, following all regulations, to assist in creating a safe visitor experience for all.”

The closed gate to the Island Ford area of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area. (National Park Service)

Sandy Springs residents near closed and gated parking areas, including the East Palisades Unit on Indian Trail and Whitewater Creek, have complained about park visitors who caused traffic and access issues in their neighborhoods. Neither parking area was scheduled for reopening on Monday.

After resident complaints at a May 5 Sandy Springs City Council meeting, the city installed signs in those areas noting that parking is prohibited on weekends, according to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun.

“The police department will be patrolling. If a vehicle is parked illegally, it will be ticketed,” Kraun said. “Towing would typically occur if the vehicle was creating a condition deemed hazardous by the police officer.”

The national park covers various areas along 48 miles of the river, including in the Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs regions.

The following parking areas will open Monday: Abbotts, Medlock, Jones, Paces Mill, Powers Island, Akers Mill, Interstate North, Johnson Ferry North, and two parking lots at Island Ford.

Remaining closed until further notice are:

  • Parking areas not listed above as open
  • Comfort stations
  • Picnic areas, including shelters
  • The Hewlett Lodge Visitor Center

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.