Historic Site Annual Passes available online

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History buffs are just clicks away from gaining access into some of Georgia’s most notable landmarks. Unveiling the new resource to patrons at the beginning of 2019, Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites now is selling its Historic Site Annual Passes online.

“We have offered annual passes to the historic sites for many years, but they were only sold at the sites themselves,” said Kim Hatcher, public affairs coordinator for the state’s Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division. “Now we’re able to sell both passes, one for state parks and one for historic sites, online at GaStateParks.org.

“The Historic Site Annual Pass includes more than a dozen significant locations, from ancient civilizations to colonial forts, and from Civil War battlefields to a presidential home. Hopefully, people will be encouraged to explore more places throughout the year.”

In Cartersville, the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site is situated at 813 Indian Mounds Road. The 54-acre site is where several thousand American Indians lived from A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1550. Regarded as the most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeast, Etowah Indian Mounds safeguards six earthen mounds, a village area, a plaza, borrow pits and a defensive ditch.

“The state of Georgia has a rich and long history and the Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division of the Department of Natural Resources is tasked with up-keeping 15 historic sites as a small sample of that history,” said Keith Bailey, curator of the Etowah Indian Mounds. “One of the newest historic sites is Hardman Farm in Helen, Georgia. Many people may be familiar with [it] as it has a Native American mound in the cattle pasture, which has a gazebo on top. What people may not know is that the farm used to be a dairy, and that at one time was owned by a previous governor of the state. These, almost forgotten, pieces of history do draw a number of visitors every year.” 

The online historic sites’ offering costs $50 for family, $30 for adult and $25 for youth passes.

“Several years ago, the state started offering ways in which visitors could enjoy recreational parks and these sites at a discount,” he said. “Annual recreational park passes had been around for years, but a few years ago libraries stated carrying passes that could be checked out, and for avid history buffs, the annual historic pass was created and sold at the site level with the intention of getting more locals to be return visitors.

“As more and more attention is moving towards the internet, the state has been moving towards offering more online information and point of contact. So, now there are quite a few things you can do online. Purchasing [your] yearly annual parking passes and your yearly annual Historic Site passes are just two of those services.”

Along with the Historic Site Annual Passes, Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites also is promoting the History Trail GeoTour.

“Geocaching is like a treasure hunt using a GPS, but our History Trail GeoTour has a different twist,” Hatcher said. “In order to unlock the cache, you have to answer questions about each site’s history, so, you’re learning while having fun. It’s great for home-schoolers or anyone new to Georgia and learning about our past.”

For more information about the History Trail GeoTour’s offering at Etowah Indian Mounds, visit https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC80HNJ_history-trail-etowah-indian-mounds.