FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Anyone looking to kayak in the community without having to travel far has a new option in northwest Forsyth County.
The ribbon was cut Aug. 7 for Phase I of the 226-acre Eagle’s Beak Park, located off Old Federal Road in Ball Ground.
Phase I of the park features a kayak and canoe launch on the Etowah River, natural trails, restrooms and parking.
The county purchased the bulk of the land for Eagle’s Beak Park in 2009 with funds from the $100 million Parks, Recreation and Green Space Bond passed by voters in 2008. Other funding came from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VI program.
Director of Parks and Recreation Jim Pryor said the county is blessed for having a community that supports a passive park.
“This is thanks to the commitment for quality of life for the citizens in building this park,” Pryor said. “It takes the support of many people to sustain the quality of life we have in the county.”
Board of Commissioners Chairman Todd Levent said the park is possible thanks to the citizens’ support of the bond that paid for much of the park and the county parks and recreation staff.
“This is not about ‘I or me,’” Levent said. “This is about people who put their minds together to work for the betterment of the county as a whole to get these kinds of projects done. Take a moment to listen how quiet this is. It reminds me of when I was a kid when we used to camp.”
District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills said the opening of the park is special because she remembers when this park was just a dream.
“I never dreamed of this as a girl growing up in the Matt community playing on the one ball field,” Mills said. “We never dreamed we’d have a park with a canoe launch and be able to provide something like this.”
Members of the Grogan family, who sold the property to the county, attended the ribbon cutting to tell the history of the land.
Penny Grogan Clark said the original landowners, Ernest and Oma Sherrill, would be proud of how the park turned out.
The Sherrills knew Grogan Clark’s father through business and attended the same church.
“They treated this land as so very special,” Grogan Clark said. “They were offered money many times. My dad owned it for over 30 years and they wouldn’t think about selling it because they were so proud of the historical part of the land.”
But as Ernest grew older, he realized he had no one to leave the land to because he had no children. He asked Grogan Clark’s father if he’d buy the land, and in return he asked him to take care of Oma. Her father, too, received offers but held out.
“I am so proud we held onto it and it didn’t get turned into a subdivision,” Grogan Clark said. “I feel like the Sherrills are looking down now and are thinking how wonderful this is.”