Chattahoochee River, Kennesaw Mountain recreation areas to reopen today

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Two of Georgia’s busiest national parks will reopen to visitors Monday.

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park will both begin to allow visitors to some trails and reopen some parking lots. Both will waive entry fees.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes talked to park officials, who said they aren’t sure what to expect on Monday, but they are expecting pretty good crowds. If it gets too crowded, they may shut the parks back down.

Some areas of the national parks have stayed open because people could still follow state guidelines of social distancing.

But Monday, more areas of the parks will open back up.

Ann Honious with the National Park Service said they are getting a lot of questions from residents who miss the outdoor recreation areas.

“We’re getting a lot of questions about when they can get back,” Honious said. " Many fisherman and anglers are calling, people that just wan to come out and hike and get out of their house, and generally the people who depend on this park every day."

It won’t be business as usual though. People still have to maintain social distance from others in the park, or else they may be forced to close again after people didn’t follow the rules several weeks ago.

“I know that when we closed, we did because we had too many folks,” Honoius said. " We are expecting people to come out, but we do want to caution people to be careful. Safety is our paramount concern for visitors and may not following the CDC guidelines for recreating and social distancing."

Here’s what to expect:

Trails and river access along the Chattahoochee River will open as well as the parking areas including Abbott, Medlock, Jones, Island Ford, Paces Mill, Powers Island, Akers Mill, Interstate North and Johnson Ferry North.

Other parking areas will remain closed as will picnic areas and shelters, comfort station and the Chattahoochee NRA visitor's center.

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"While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited," officials said. "When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities."

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is opening all park trails and several parking lots on Monday. The lots that will be open are the overflow parking lot, visitor center parking lot, Burt Hickory Road parking lot, Gilbert Road parking area, Cheatham Hill Drive and Cheatham Hill Road.

Bathrooms and the visitor’s center at Kennesaw Mountain will remain closed.

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