Renovated Bruce Creek Boat Ramp Re-opens

Local and state officials are showing off improvements at a Stephens County boat ramp.

Representatives from Stephens County and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources gathered Friday morning at Bruce Creek Boat Ramp on Lake Hartwell to cut the ribbon and unveil a number of improvements at the facility.

The improvements include seven brand new fishing piers, a courtesy dock for boaters, a walking trail, and an updated restroom facility at a cost of about $560,000.

Funding for the project came from the $4 million in PCB contamination settlement money received by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as part of the 2006 settlement agreement.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources Senior Fisheries Biologist Anthony Rabern said that the project was a long time coming and he appreciates the county’s patience.

“We finally made it here in April (to begin construction) and we were glad to get this project underway,” said Rabern. “Hopefully, today you will see that the wait was worth the effort. It is our privilege today as the Department of Natural Resources to be able to present to Stephens County and the local citizens a durable, low maintenance, high-quality, family-friendly facility that will provide recreational and fishing benefits for many, many years to come.”

The improvements at Bruce Creek Boat Ramp were one of four projects funded by the PCB settlement money in northeast Georgia. The other three projects were mega-ramps in both Franklin and Hart counties, as well as a new fishing pier at Hartwell Dam.

The Bruce Creek project was the final project to be constructed, as was planned at the outset. Stephens County Commissioner Jonesy Haygood said he is glad to see that it is complete.

“On behalf of the county, we appreciate it,” said Haygood. “We thank everyone who was involved in it.”

Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce President Wendi Bailey and Stephens County Development Authority Executive Director Tim Martin also praised the project, with Bailey saying it will help with tourism promotion in the county.

Rabern also noted that along with the new fishing piers, the Department of Natural Resources made upgrades to fish habitats in the lake area surrounding the piers.

Stephens County will be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the Bruce Creek area.  The area is open until 10 p.m. nightly.

By Charlie Bauder, WNEG Radio, Toccoa