Georgia State Parks open gates to Dorian evacuees

BUTTS COUNTY, Ga. — Metro Atlanta hotels are expected to fill up fast as the first waves of evacuees from Georgia’s coast head north.

Georgia’s state parks, including High Falls State Park in Butts County, are stepping up to help with them.

Channel 2's Richard Elliot also found there are campground hosts to help out those evacuees.

Naiyeah Butler is one of those hosts. She takes care of campers six months out of the year and she said they’re ready for evacuees when they stop by.

“They’re scared. They’re scared for their kids, for their pets. They’re less concerned about their homes than anything else because they know that your home is your four walls. Your family is everything,” Butler said.


Georgia State Parks is opening up its gates and some 11,000 campsites to Georgia and Florida evacuees.

They’re even waiving their parking fees, so if they have to, people can sleep in their cars in the day-use parking areas.

Sierra Herndon is the resource manager at High Falls State Park. It’s the first state park north of Macon and the closest to the interstate.

Herndon told Elliot they’re expecting people to show up.

“I think we (will) get pretty full. We do have over 100 campsites, so there are quite a few places for people to go,” Herndon said.

Butler said all the campground hosts will be there to help out evacuees, especially those who know nothing about camping.

“I have the energy and the love and everything that people are going to need when they get here, because they’re going to be stressed out.

Tom and Ann Horton are from Gainesville, Florida. Lucky for them, his first day of retirement trip to High Falls State Park started just before Dorian was expected to hit.

He told Elliot that it wasn’t easy getting out of Florida.

“It turns out there’s no gas in Gainesville. I mean, I had to work but my daughter was willing to go out and look for gas and finally found some just as they were tanking up with a gas tanker,” Horton said.

The parks will still charge fees for actual campsites, but Elliot said it doesn’t look like they’re going to turn anyone away.