The shooting range in Richmond Hill is one of 32 sites managed by the state Wildlife Resources Division that now require an outdoor recreation pass for visitors ages 16-64.
The Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass requirement began Jan. 1, although communications outreach about the new pass going into effect began in fall 2011.
Signs are posted on affected properties and a complete list of sites is online at www.georgiawildlife.com.
The new access pass for users, including hikers, birders, cyclists and horse-riders, helps cover maintenance at designated wildlife management areas, public fishing areas and natural areas, according to a WRD press release. That work has been funded mostly by hunters and anglers.
“As budgets have become tighter over the last few years, maintenance funds have been stretched thin,” said Dan Forster, director of Wildlife Resources Division.
“Hunters and anglers have been paying the bill through state license fees and federal excise taxes to maintain these properties. However, other users contribute to the general wear and tear of the sites too.
“The GORP revenue will be directed to long overdue maintenance projects such as roadways, trails, parking lots and other facilities.”
Forster explained that the 32 state-managed properties were chosen through extensive public involvement. GORP was addressed in a total of 12 public meetings in 2010 and 2011. The sites were identified as experiencing the most impact by recreational visitors.
Because GORP is a new requirement, enforcement will be an educational process, Forster added.
In all, Wildlife Resources Division manages more than 100 properties across the state. However, GORP impacts only about one-third of the areas - the spots with the highest traffic by all users.
For individuals, a GORP costs $3.50 for three days or $19 for a year. For groups of eight or fewer people, the pass is $10 for three days and $35 annually. A transaction fee also applies: $2.50 online; $3 at retail license agents; or $5 by phone.
Exempt from the requirement are individuals who have a valid WMA License, Honorary License, Sportsmen’s License, Lifetime License or Three-Day Hunting and Fishing License.
On sale since Nov. 1, the GORP is available at www.georgiawildlife.com/recreational-licenses, by calling 1-800-366-2661 or through retail license agents.
To learn more, see a map of the areas or review frequently asked questions, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Georgia-Outdoor-Recreational-Pass.