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New boat ramp at Hardin Bridge is open, though finishing work continues

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A new boat ramp into the Etowah River at Hardin Bridge Road in Bartow County is now open. A formal ceremony is still in the planning stage but County Commissioner Steve Taylor said he is glad the new launch was open in time for participants in Paddle Georgia to check it out later this week.

The Paddle Georgia participants are slated to make a pit stop at Hardin Bridge Thursday to check out the new ramp site, its picnic area and potential camping sites.

“There are still a few things that have got to be detailed out, the parking lot is one thing,” said Greg Hight, Bartow County Parks and Recreation director. Three permanent picnic pads are included in the new ramp site. Hight also said a portable toilet facility would be brought in for the Paddle Georgia participants to use.

The boat ramp was partially funded by a $100,000 Recreational Trails Grant from by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. After initially purchasing just less than two acres for the site, the property owner, Jere Dodd agreed to sell an additional six acres to the county to be able to provide additional parking and allow for development of amenities such as the campsites and perhaps, permanent toilet facilities at some point in the future. The county paid $25,000 an acre for the additional property.

The new boat ramp at Hardin Bridge replaces a man-made path that was created down a fairly steep embankment that was difficult for anyone but a veteran outdoor enthusiast to tackle with a canoe or kayak.

Taylor has indicated he’d like to develop one or two other new ramps on the Etowah if sites and funding can be identified.