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Lanier Lake, GA

Lake Size: 37,000 acres (150 km)
Shoreline Length (Miles): 692 miles
Deepest Depth: 160 ft
Latitude: 34.203889
Longitude: -83.982222
Lake Level Above Sea Level: 1,071 ft (326.4 m)
Counties: Forsyth County
Lake Management: The Lake Lanier Association
Water Quality:

Information: Lake Lanier (officially Lake Sidney Lanier) is a reservoir in the northern portion of the U.S. state of Georgia. It was created by the completion of Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River in 1956, and is also fed by the waters of the Chestatee River. The lake encompasses 38,000 acres (150 km2) of water, and 692 miles (1,114 km) of shoreline at normal level, a "full summer pool" of 1,071 feet (326 m) above mean sea level. It was named for poet Sidney Lanier, and was built and is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It is patrolled by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR). The lake's original and authorized purposes were to provide hydroelectricity and flood control. Since Lake Lanier's construction, metro Atlanta has been taking water from the reservoir to use for municipal drinking water, which was authorized by Congress as an incidental use secondary to hydroelectricity.[citation needed] The $40 million project was approved, ground breaking was in 1950 and more than $2 million had been spent by the Corps on preliminary construction when the House Committee on Appropriations refused to provide more funds in June 1951. During that summer Atlanta mayor William Hartsfield traveled to Washington numerous times pressing Senators Richard Russell, Jr. and Walter F. George to restore funding in order to ensure Atlanta's water supply during droughts. [1] Hartsfield was back in Washington in 1955 for $11 million more for the dam which had a target date of 1956 again stressing the importance of an adequate water supply for the city. Again, funds were forthcoming and the dam opened on schedule. [2] Lake Lanier began filling in 1956 and in 1957, 20 miles downstream, Morgan Falls Dam was raised to regulate the flow from Buford Dam in order to give Atlanta water during the hours it was needed most. [3] The foresight of the entire project was confirmed in early fall of 1958 during two solid months of drought which would have left the Chattahoochee and its tributaries nearly dry if not for the Buford Dam. [4] Since the 90's, the Corps of Engineers, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama have all been fighting for use of the water held in Lake Lanier. Federal law mandates that when a river flows between two or more states, each state has a right to an equal share of the water. Additionally, other laws such as the Endangered Species Act require that water be available for threatened or endangered species that live in or around Chattahoochee River and Apalachicola Bay.
  • Fishing
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Black bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass, and striped bass.
The lake is extremely popular with boaters, houseboats, jetskiers and others, particularly around the summer holidays. Over 7.5 million people per year visit the lake, including its marinas and the Lake Lanier Islands waterpark. The rowing and sprint canoeing events during the 1996 Summer Olympics were held at the lake. It also hosted the canoe sprint World Championships in 2003 at the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club. One resort hotel sits on the lake: Emerald Pointe. A second hotel, Pine Isle was recently demolished. Both were sold by CNL Hotels & Resorts, a hotel investment firm in Florida, to Georgia businessman Virgil Williams. Both assets sit on a ground lease from the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority which in turn leases the land from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Established in 1957, Holiday Marina has become synonymous with Lake Lanier. Holiday Marina along with Aqualand Marina are two of the largest freshwater marinas in the world. Holiday Marina is located in Buford, Georgia. Aqualand Marina is located near the town of Flowery Branch. Lake Lanier was also the site of the 1997 Bilderberg conference. Every year from mid-November through December, Lake Lanier Islands is decorated with over 6 miles (9.7 km) of holiday lights, one of the world's largest light shows. Magical Nights of Lights is an animated drive-through display that ends with a Holiday village, carnival rides, bonfire, Santa Shop, live nativity, etc.

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