Wildcat Creek has always been a popular destination for trout anglers. This small stream that runs through a portion of the Chattahoochee National Forest in Rabun County is stocked seasonally with trout and has offered two primitive campgrounds for a fee of only $10 a night. However, a short while back, GON received a phone call from Jerry Leonard, of Griffin, expressing concern over the closure of Wildcat Creek Campground No. 1 off Wildcat Road, just west of Lake Burton.
“They closed the campground around the middle of last year, and it hasn’t been open since. I’ve been coming here for 40 years and spend up to three weeks at a time out here. It’s like a second home to me, and you won’t find a more beautiful place. What really concerns me is I’ve heard it won’t be reopening,” said Jerry.
GON reached out to the USFS office in Gainesville to gain clarity to the current status of the closed camping area and any plans of reopening it.
“Campground No. 1 has been closed since around last July, first due to road closures, and now due to not having anyone contracted to oversee the campground,” said Steven Bekkerus, USFS public affairs officer.
“We do our best to keep all parts of the Chattahoochee National Forest open for visitors, including both campgrounds at Wildcat Creek. Sometimes, though, we just don’t have the resources to make it happen.”
Steven pointed out that Wildcat Creek Campground No. 2 is still open and a great place to pitch a tent for a few nights. It’s located just north of Wildcat Creek Campground No. 1 and is also off Wildcat Road.
“It’s only a couple of miles from Campground No. 1 and is also creekside. The creek is a little smaller here, so it isn’t as favored by anglers who want to sleep a stone’s throw from their favorite fishing hole. With that said, you can still visit Campground No. 1 during the day and enjoy the excellent trout fishing,” said Steven.
The DNR will begin their annual stocking of Wildcat Creek the first week of April, offering up some fine angling opportunities for those wanting to give the stream a try.
“Even though we only have one campground open, we have plenty of room for fishermen and turkey hunters alike to come up and enjoy the forest. We hope to have both campgrounds operational in the coming months,” said Steven.
Anyone wishing to book a campsite can visit www.fs.usda.gov/conf. On the website, you can also get up to the minute information on the area, including open hunting dates and any possible road closures. Hopefully, a reopening of the favored Campground #1 will be soon. In the meantime, Jerry Leonard says he will be waiting.
“There’s too many decades of good times and good memories up there on Campground #1 for me. The area just isn’t the same without it,” said Jerry.