Fort Mountain State Park
|Fort Mountain State Park|
View of the ruins
|Location||Murray County, Georgia, USA|
|Nearest city||Ellijay, Georgia|
|Area||3,712 acres (15.02 km2)|
|Governing body||Georgia State Park|
Fort Mountain State Park is a 3,712 acre (15.02 km²) Georgia state park located between Chatsworth and Ellijay on Fort Mountain. The state park was founded in 1938 and is named for an ancient 885 foot (269.48 m) long rock wall located on the peak.
Fort Mountain State Park was established in 1938 on land donated by Atlanta mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. The park was originally 1,930 acres. The Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the park's facilities, such as the stone fire tower, the lake, the trails and some park buildings. With help from state and federal funding, the park expanded its boundaries during the late 1990s to 3,712 acres.
The state park derived its name from an ancient 885 foot (269.48 m) long rock wall located on the peak. The zigzagging wall contains 19 or 29 pits scattered along the wall, in addition to a ruin of a gateway. The wall was constructed out of local stones from the surrounding regions around the summit. A 1956 archaeological report concluded only that the structure "represents a prehistoric aboriginal construction whose precise age and nature cannot yet be safely hazarded until the whole problem, of which this is a representative, has been more fully investigated," while a modern online tourist website states that the wall was built by local Native Americans around 500 AD for religious purposes.
There are several legends concerning the wall. One legend claims that the wall is a remnant of one of the several stone forts legendary Welsh explorer Madoc and his group built throughout the present day United States. The wall has also been related to the "moon-eyed people" of Cherokee lore. Other speculations of the wall's origins and purposes have included a fortification for Hernando De Soto's Conquistadors and a honeymoon haven for Cherokee newlyweds.
Situated in the Chattahoochee National Forest, Fort Mountain State Park offers many outdoor activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. There are 14 miles (22.5 km) of trails inside the park. The park is also known for its unique scenery, a mixture of both hardwood and pine forests and several blueberry thickets. In addition, the park contains a 17 acre (0.07 km²) mountain lake. Atop Fort Mountain itself is a tower constructed by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The picnic shelters in the park and the trails to the rock wall were also constructed by the CCC.
The summit of a different mountain in the south-southwest part of the park contains a radio tower for Georgia Public Broadcasting, transmitting TV station WCLP-TV (now WNGH-TV) since 1967, and radio station WNGH-FM since about May 2008.
Fort Mountain State Park has the following facilities:
- 70 tent/trailer/RV campsites
- 15 cottages
- 7 picnic shelters
- 6 platform campsites
- 4 walk-in campsites
- Backcountry camping
- Pioneer camping
- Group shelter
- Fort Mountain State Park. Georgia Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Smith, Philip E., "Aboriginal Stone Constructions in the Southern Piedmont", in University Of Georgia Laboratory Of Archaeology Series Report No 4 1962 
- Mystery Shrouds Fort Mountain. The Historical Markers Database. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Fort Mountain State Park. ngeorgia.com. Retrieved 21 March 2012
- Fort Mountain State Park. GeorgiaTrails.com. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Fort Mountain State Park. Georgia State Parks. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
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