Lowndes Co. access road to Alapaha River may close - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes Co. access road to Alapaha River may close

LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) -

The only access road to the Alapaha River in Lowndes County may soon be closed to the public. The county owns the road, but the man who owns the land around it says people trespass and abuse his property. He wants commissioners to shut down the road.

"This place has a lot of personal meaning to a lot of people," said Brett Huntley, who has been using this road to get to the Alapaha River for the 13 years he's lived in Naylor.

But public access may be cut off for good.

Lowndes County Clerk, Paige Dukes said,"This really stems from how that area has been treated. The property owner has been very disappointed that people come down and they trespass, they leave trash, they light fires, there's illegal activity."

The county owns the access road, County Road 16. Property Owner, Phillip Connell, is asking them to transfer ownership of a portion of the road to him so he can dig a ditch in the dirt road that would deny public access to his property.

"Just like anywhere you can go there are people that will come and abuse anything that's open to anybody in the public, but the majority of the people that come out here do not, and they respect the woods, the river, each other," said Huntley.

Huntley has already gathered 250 signatures on his petition to keep the access open to the Alapaha river, he says he's not stopping until he gets 500.

County officials say they will take that petition into consideration when they make their decision. Huntley says he's just trying to show the impact the road closing would have on the community.

"You can come out here and there will be so many cars parked and so many children and everybody's cooking, they bring grills out here and everybody shares their food,' said Huntley.

Connell, who was not available for an on-camera interview today, also says when the public uses his property, it creates a liability issue for him.

County Commissioners make a decision at their next meeting in two weeks. The land owner says he will still allow people to use the property for baptisms and other events with his permission.

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