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Get out, get dirty in state parks
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Upcoming events

• Come and take it! encampment
Where: Fort Morris Historic Site in Midway
When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20
What: This American Revolution encampment commemorates Col. John McIntosh’s defiant reply to a British demand for surrender. Attendees can enjoy colonial demonstrations, musket and cannon drills, a small skirmish and more. Interpreters in historical attire will represent a variety of colonial life.
Info: 884-5999
Cost: $2.75-$4
The facility is handicap accessible.
• Winter Muster and Battle
Where: Fort McAllister Historic Park in Richmond Hill
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec 11
What: Enjoy a day of fort activities leading up the 15-minute re-enactment of the battle that captured Fort McAllister. Witness the battle that reportedly ended Sherman’s March to the Sea.
Info: 912-727-2339
Cost: $3.50-$5

• A Colonial Christmas
Where: Fort Morris Historic Site in Midway
When: 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11
What: Get away from the over commercialization of the holidays and visit the site for a more peaceful celebration. Join park staff for colonial refreshments, a yule log, bonfire, 18th century music, caroling, dance and firing of the Christmas guns.
Info: 884-5999
Cost: $2.75-$4
The facility is handicap accessible.


Georgians, get off the couch.
According to the Get Outdoors Georgia campaign, it is time to “Get out. Get dirty. Get fit,” which has become the movement’s slogan. 
In May 2008, Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites planned a multi-year initiative in partnership with Google, Inc. to  focus on family friendly, nature-based, healthy outdoor recreation throughout the state, according to a GO Georgia news release.
“Grownups sometimes forget that a simple walk in the woods to look at caterpillars and colorful leaves can be so entertaining to small children,” said Kim Hatcher, public affairs coordinator of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. “And for older kids, it’s a way to get them away from texting, computers and other distractions so you can focus on each other’s company.”
Aside from bringing public awareness to the state park system, the campaign also is geared toward fighting obesity and encouraging active lifestyles, Hatcher said.
“With so much focus on childhood obesity and the disconnect from nature, the department saw this as a fun way to get families moving while also learning about nature.  It’s unique because it includes so many activities to choose from (like) hiking, biking, paddling and geocaching — in all parts of the state,” she said.
To further motivate and encourage healthy behavior, the Get Outdoors Georgia website also offers a chart of how many calories each physical activity — like swimming or horseback riding — will burn per hour.
“When you grow up spending time outdoors, you just know that it’s good for you,” she said. “You have a deeper connection with the environment and are far more likely to want to protect it.”
Visitors also may rent kayaks, campsites and picnic shelters at various locations for family events, barbecues and more. Several area parks also have interest-based clubs for hikers, paddlers and bikers to get involved with other outdoor enthusiasts, Hatcher said.
For families who frequent state parks, the department offers a $50 ParkPass that exempts drivers from paying the daily parking fee. A historic site annual pass is also available for $35 per family and gives the holder unlimited admission to all 15 of Georgia’s state historic sites.
ParkPass purchase proceeds will go toward campground renovations, group shelter construction and dock replacements among other improvements.
For those who have a valid library card, a ParkPass may be borrowed from any local library and are good for free parking or admission for up to five days at any of the 63 state parks and historic sites, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website,
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