Popular waterpark at Lake Lanier prohibits swimming as a way to ‘prioritize safety’

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  • Published on May 15, 2023
  • Last Updated June 8, 2023
  • In Culture

Since its conception in 1956, Lake Lanier has had over 700 deaths. This year, a popular water park has prohibited swimming to ensure safety.

Margaritaville at Lanier Islands is not allowing visitors into the water this year. The popular waterpark at Lake Lanier announced it would keep the beach open, but prohibit swimming.

According to local news affiliate WSB-TV, the waterpark has gone to the extent of placing a fence about a foot from the shoreline, so beachgoers are limited at entering the water. The unforeseen closing of the beach has made many return visitors upset. The outlet shared the disappointment of some beachgoers who visit the lake annually. A local paddleboarder is not a fan of the disruption to summer water sports.

“To put a fence up at a beach just makes no sense,” she said.

Another patron thinks the closing was bad for business. “I really don’t think that’s right,” she said. “I don’t know why they would do that unless it would be because of all the traffic of boats.”

Although this summer’s business could suffer, Margaritaville is more concerned with its visitor’s safety. Fox 5 Atlanta shared a statement from Maggie Garcia, spokesperson for Margaritaville at Lanier Islands.

“As a company, we prioritize the safety of our guests above all else. After careful consideration, we have decided to no longer offer swimming in the lake area,” the statement said. “Lake access is available in a controlled environment via our Aquatic Adventure Wibit Attraction, as well as our kayak and paddleboard rentals at LandShark Landing.”

“While we understand that this may be disappointing for some, we believe it is the right decision to maintain a safe environment for all our guests to enjoy and will allow us to put added focus on other parts of the park to offer a better overall experience for all our water park guests,” Garcia continued. “The beach area will remain open for lounging and relaxing, and we hope you will still take advantage of this space to soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. In addition to that we do have a lot of exciting new things coming to the park this summer season!”

Lake Lanier is located 40 miles outside of Atlanta, GA. The massive man-made lake boasts a 692-mile shoreline. The historic lake borders five counties. Although an impressive size, the lake’s reputation is usually linked to its dark past.

Since its creation in 1956, 700 people have died at the lake and 200 of those fatalities have been since 1994. There were four deaths in 2022 within months of the Memorial Day holiday.

The history of Lake Lanier is marked with controversy and superstition. Many believe the lake to be “haunted” or “cursed,” as it was once Oscarville, a budding rural city that the government wanted to convert into a water source for Atlanta. The 56,000 acres of land were flooded with water from a nearby dam, and the city was eventually submerged.

HITC states that a compensation deal was reached between residents and the government, but there have been conflicting stories to support this. Remnants of the city are still preserved underwater to this day, including a highway and building structures.

Martie Bowser is a journalist and public relations professional in Charlotte, NC. She enjoys amplifying the voices of POC and women that fill a void within their community. Her bylines include “person of interest” interviews, small business highlights, pop culture commentary, entertainment features, and everything Beyonce. Martie can be reached via email at martiebowser@detourxp.com.

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This story was originally published May 15, 2023 11:35 AM.

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