Factory Shoals campground to remain closed
Shoals side of park to reopen
Newton County’s Factory Shoals Recreation Park will reopen for those looking for recreation among its trails and shoals but will remain closed for campers.
The park, located in southern Newton County, is split into two areas, one is for overnight camping. That section of the park will remain closed.
The entire park, which typically closes for the winter, closed in late November due to the retirement of long-time ranger Mike Beyer. Byer, who lived in a house on the park grounds, was on-call 24 hours a day for those who were staying overnight in campgrounds.
A resident ranger will not be hired to replace Beyer and be available 24 hours a day on the 400-acre property. Without that watchful eye, the Newton County Board of Commissioners decided not to reopen the campground during its meeting Tuesday night.
“It is a wonderful asset and we do not want to get rid of that asset,” District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards said. “But we want it to be safe.”
County Manager Lloyd Kerr said that while the park was open and there was not a full-time ranger on site some campers set up “permanent housekeeping”.
Those reasons, coupled with issues such as erosion on campsites along the banks of the Alcovy River, have made it prudent for the county to keep the campground closed at this time.
The county will, however, hire a ranger to be on premises from sunrise to sunset Wednesday through Sundays.
“I would like to reopen the park with reduced hours,” Kerr said. “We will hire one permanent caretaker and temporary help.”
The park offers a BBQ pit, picnic facilities, fishing, hiking, trails and recreation fields.