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Work underway on new Hardin Bridge boat ramp

March 4, 2017 GMT

Work is underway on another new boat ramp on the Etowah River between Cartersville and Rome.

Bartow County recreation crews have started clearing trees on the nearly 6-acre site off Hardin Bridge Road south of U.S. 411.

Paddlers have long used a steep, dirt path to access the Etowah River at Hardin Bridge for years. Joe Cook, advocacy and communications coordinator for the Coosa River Basin Initiative, said a fully-developed launch would help ease erosion and sedimentation problems that have existed at Hardin Bridge for years.

“It should make it a lot safer for people using the river,” Cook said.

Access provides about a two-hour paddle downstream to the Macedonia Road takeout off U.S. 411, closer to Rome.

Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor said use of the river has increased dramatically in the past two years with the opening of the Macedonia Road ramp and another on Ga. 113 in Cartersville.

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The Hardin Bridge ramp would create another easy segment for paddlers who don’t necessarily want to spend a whole day on the water.

Taylor said the county paid property owner Jere Dodd $200,000 — $25,000 an acre — for 8 acres. The county received grant funding of $100,000 for the original 2-acre tract. Dodd later agreed to sell the county another 6 acres, the money to complete that purchase coming from the county’s general fund.

Taylor said he hoped the expanded acreage will allow for a much larger parking area and other amenities including restrooms and primitive campsites.

“Some of that may come in the future,” said Greg Hight, director of the Bartow County Parks and Recreation Department, which oversees the boat ramps. “We’ve thrown around several ideas but we’ll have to see how far the money goes.”

“If the weather cooperates, it could be completed in eight to 10 weeks,” said Bartow County Administrator Peter Olsen.

Taylor had originally hoped to have the ramp done last fall, but it took longer than he anticipated to close on the additional 6 acres and to get all of the permits for the work.