Looking for something exciting to do with the family this Saturday, Sept. 23? Here’s something to consider. Round up the kids and head north to Unicoi State Park for the 2017 edition of Outdoor Adventure Day!
This exceedingly family-friendly event runs from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m., weather permitting.
“Outdoor Adventure Day is aimed at families new to the outdoor sports,” notes Jeff Durniak, Region 1 Fisheries Supervisor for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. He calls it a “buffet of outdoor sports,” and it offers all sorts of opportunities for you and your family to discover just how much fun outdoor recreation can be.
Outdoor Adventure Day activities take place in or near the large meadow behind Unicoi Lodge and along Smith Creek. As you cross the dam heading toward Unicoi Lodge, look for signs pointing you toward the Outdoor Adventure Day parking. I’m sure that you’ll have no trouble finding it.
What will you find there once you arrive? Fishing, fly tying, archery, skeet shooting, air guns, wild animal programs, and more. There is even a raffle for great outdoor-related prizes.
One of the most popular activities is trout fishing in Smith Creek, which will be specially stocked with plenty of trout for this event. You can bring and use your own fishing gear, or you can borrow one.
“We have loaner rods and reels at the fishing tent,” Durniak says, adding that bait is provided too.
What if you’ve never been fishing? No worries – there will be plenty of enthusiastic volunteers on hand to help you and the kids every step of the way.
After enjoying some time on the stream, you may want to try your hand at casting a fly rod. Expert fly casters will be on hand to teach you how. Kids especially enjoy this activity, and it’s amazing how quickly they’ll pick up on the basics of casting a fly rod.
You’ll also want to stop by the fly tying tent and learn how to make a fishing fly of your very own. Again, there will be plenty of volunteers there eager to coach you through every step of the fly tying process. Everything is provided, and the fly that you create is yours to keep and take home
There’s plenty more adventure awaiting you and yours at Outdoor Adventure Day. For example, you’ll also have the opportunity to try several different shooting sports, including archery and airgun shooting. For those who are big enough to handle a shotgun, there’s even skeet shooting. Again, skilled experts will be on hand to help you.
When you’re ready take a break from the fishing or shooting, you’ll want to check out one of the wild animal shows being presented in the wildlife tent in the main meadow area.
How about lunch? You can purchase lunch right there at the site, or you can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with your family alongside the sparkling waters of Smith Creek. After lunch, you’ll want to stick around to see if you win one of the free raffle prizes too.
What do visitors in past years think about Outdoor Adventure Day? The big smiles you see on the faces of kids and adults alike tell it all, and that’s confirmed by comments on feedback cards. One family wrote that they were “thankful for the exposure” to the exciting world of outdoor sports, while another commented, “I never had any idea how much fun this could be.”
“Folks absolutely love it,” DNR’s Durniak says, adding that his hope is that families will discover that they enjoy experiencing the outdoors and that they’ll go on to become avid participants as well as advocates of conservation.
Will I be there? You bet! I’ll be in the fly tying tent, where I’ll be teaching kids (and some parents too) how to make their own fishing flies. Be sure to stop by and say hello!
Incidentally, Sept. 23 is National Hunting and Fishing Day and is a free fishing day for Georgia residents. On this day, residents do not need a fishing license or a trout license to fish on any public waters in the state. In addition, residents do not need to obtain a wildlife management area (WMA) license to fish on a public fishing area, a wildlife management area, or on Waters Creek.
That’s another great reason to get outside on Sept. 23 to see what adventure awaits!