About two weeks ago I decided to make a day trip up to the North Georgia Mountains. There are many cities within' this region of the Appalachian Mountain Range, but I decided to visit the city of Hiawassee, GA. I'd been to this town once before with a volunteer group during my time at Mizzou. When I visited the first time, I was amazed by the beauty of the surrounding mountains and it's main body of water: Lake Chatuge. Wanting to explore this cool spot once again, I dragged my photographer friend (Miguel, @miguelroman), and a few new friends (Stevie, @stevieatl and Anthony, @antsoulo) out with me to explore.
Lake Chatuge is a man-made reservoir created by the Chatuge Dam, which finished construction in 1942. The funny thing is, I didn't even realize this was the case until doing further research on this lake after our visit. As it turns out, Chatuge Dam was built in 1941 mainly as a means for flood control.
Let's talk about floods really quickly... What is a "flood"? By definition, it is an overflowing of a large amount of water beyond its normal confines. This is usually caused by an abundance of rain received by one location (with already saturated land) in a very short amount of time. Though flooding of rivers and lakes revitalizes the habitats of many plants and animals while enriching soils for planting, this term is usually associated with anguish and distress for people who live in areas surrounding a floodplain. These are similar feelings held by people who may have lived in Houston during their recent historic flooding event in May of 2015; and by people who are now suffering from historic flooding in areas of South Carolina... Floods are notorious for causing enormous amounts of property damage, home displacement, and in severe cases even death.
Can we control flooding? Yes, and one way of doing so is by building a "Dam". Flood control dams impound floodwaters and then either release them under control to the river (or, lake) below the dam or store or divert the water for other uses. Those "other uses", of course include recreational activity—which is what we sought out on this day of exploring. Lake Chatuge compasses 132 miles of shoreline, perfect for boating, fishing, skiing, swimming, picnicking, and camping. Only two hours away from Atlanta, it’s a great place to go when you are looking to escape the confides of city life to experience nature and it’s beautiful views.
Photos by Miguel Roman and Anthony Hilliard