State grants could help Columbia County defray some of the cost to extend the "mega" boat ramps at Wildwood Park, which currently don't reach the water at drought-ravaged Clarks Hill Lake.
County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved a measure to request matching funds under the Go Fish Georgia Initiative, a state program designed to boost fishing tourism.
J. Scott Herring, the county's director of Construction and Maintenance Services, said officials hope to bring bids before the commissioners for their approval Nov. 6. He said the project is anticipated to cost about $120,000.
The boat ramps at Wild-wood Park have been rendered unusable due to failed extensions and low lake levels caused by extreme drought.
The $1.1 million, six-lane ramps currently stop several feet short of the lake's current water level, county officials have said. Concrete "mat" extensions added last year at a cost of $105,000 sank into the soft silt at the end of the ramps, and the ramps were inoperable during a recent amateur tournament in September.
The "mega" boat ramps at the Appling park have helped the county secure national Bassmaster Elite Series fishing tournaments during the past several years. A men's tournament is scheduled for next May and a women's event is slated for September.
Herring said the county would like to see work completed "before the next major tournament."
Herring said the ramps will be designed to be usable to reach a water level of 314 feet above sea level.
The lake is currently down more than 10 feet to about 320 feet above sea level. The prior extensions were supposed to be usable to 316 feet.
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