published Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Balloting to determine which parks will win $175,000 from Coca-Cola


by Andy Johns
Online voters have have raised Cloudland Canyon State Park to 44th place in a contest for a restoration grant sponsored by Coca-Cola.
Online voters have have raised Cloudland Canyon State Park to 44th place in a contest for a restoration grant sponsored by Coca-Cola.
Photo by Dan Henry.
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VOTES RANKING

Georgia:

Fort Mountain State Park 83 No. 309

Cloudland Canyon State Park 2,877 No. 44

New Echota Historic Site 16 No. 813

Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park 85 No. 336

Sloppy Floyd State Park 8 No. 1,185

Chief Vann House Historic Site 3 No. 2,030

Tennessee

Enterprise South Nature Park 1 No. 3,077

Booker T. Washington State Park 2 No. 2,418

Harrison Bay State Park 11 No. 993

Red Clay State Park 11 No. 993

South Cumberland State Park 8 No. 1,185

Tims Ford State 3 No. 2,031

Fall Creek Falls State Park 42 No. 472

Cumberland Mountain State Park, Crossville 7 No. 1,269

Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River 3 No. 2,031

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 47,824 No. 6

Alabama

Russell Cave National Monument 2 No. 2,418

Desoto State Park 20 No. 716

Little River Canyon National Preserve 40 No. 483

TO VOTE

Visit www.LivePositively.com/americasparks by Sept. 6.

Three Georgia parks and one from Tennessee are at the top of the list of favorite parks across the country that Coca-Cola will use to determine who gets $175,000 in grants.

And one local park hopes to be the fourth from Georgia to crack the top tier.

The Coca-Cola Co. has launched a website for people across the country to vote on more than 4,000 parks. The top vote-getter will receive $100,000 to “restore, rebuild or enhance” places within the parks. The contest awards extra votes for photos and videos uploaded.

The leader through Monday is the Soudan Underground Mine State Park in Northeast Minnesota, but Georgia parks claimed the second and third spots.

Little Ocmulgee State Park west of Vidalia had 99,721 votes, and Amicalola Falls State Park near Dawsonville had 68,287 votes.

Florence Marina State Park south of Columbus ranked No. 7 on the list with more than 41,000 votes.

Sequoia National Park in California and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles Tennessee and North Carolina, are fifth and sixth on the leader board.

But over the weekend, one of the fastest climbers on the list was Cloudland Canyon State Park in Dade County, which hiked from No. 89 on the list with 700 votes Friday to No. 44 with 2,877 votes Monday.

Wesley Myers, assistant manager at Cloudland Canyon, said he’s surprised to see Georgia with three of the top 10 parks so far and hopes his park becomes the fourth.

“It would be tremendous,” he said.

Cloudland Canyon usually ranks about No. 5 in terms of visitation for the state, and Myers called the Dade County preserve “a flagship” within the system.

Georgia State Parks spokeswoman Kim Hatcher attributed the state park system’s early success to “passionate” supporters.

“Friends have called friends and called family,” she said.

Aside from the Smokies, Tennessee parks appear much lower on the list. Locally, the highest ranking park is Fall Creek Falls in Pikeville, which had 42 votes for 472nd place Monday.

But if the park rallied, Fall Creek Falls manager Jim Hall said the money would make an impact.

“That would be fantastic,” he said.

Voting lasts through Sept. 6.

Contact Andy Johns at ajohns@timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6324.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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