Lake Lanier is a manmade lake which was created back in 1956, after the completion of Buford Dam built on the Chattahoochee River. This man made lake is officially called as the Lake Sydney Lanier which is a reservoir in Georgia, U.S towards the northern portion.
The idea behind building the Buford Dam was to control and manage navigation of flood supply water and provide hydroelectricity to the city of Atlanta. The dam was operated and built by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers.
The Lake Lanier is 26 miles long and covers up to 46 miles of original riverbed and a 692 miles of a shoreline. This lake almost 200 feet deep and it has been the primary source of drinking water supply to more than 5 million people in Georgia and around 8 million visitors which has led Georgia’s economy up to $10 Billion.
The lake has turned into a tourist spot as well; many people travel up to the Lake Lanier Island for a weekend getaway or to get off some steam from their hectic lives. There are many resorts here and activities as well. As the Lake Lanier is one of the longest manmade lakes of Georgia, in 1962 the Georgia department of State Parks and Lake Lanier Island developed and managed to make a relaxing environment for the people to come and enjoy. One will come across many lavish resorts around the Lake Lanier Island and there are many activities as well which you could enjoy with your family and friends.
History of Lake Lanier
As we know Lake Lanier is a manmade lake which was created after the construction of the Buford Dam. The Lake was originally constructed to supply water and hydroelectricity to the people of Georgia, but the journey to fulfil these needs was not an easy one, the officials had to face many problems when it came to Lake Lanier.
The History of Lake Lanier and its planning goes way back, after a group of men in Buford, Georgia decided to construct a lake in 1950 after the construction of the Allatoona Dam. Till today it is said that the planning was claimed by the U.S Corps of Engineers. But in reality, the idea was of these seven men which was later spread to the City of Atlanta, state of Georgia and the federal government, there were many disputes and disagreements which took place during the discussions of the Lake. The first physical move was made by historian, Don Shadburn when he bought the property which now used and known as the Lake Lanier.
The Lake Lanier was a $ 1 billion project which was approved. 700+ families were moved from the area after the property was purchased by the United States Corps of Engineers for the construction. In 1951, the House Committee on Appropriations had refused to fund any more money to the Corps of Engineers after they had spent almost $2 million just on the initial stages of the construction.
The then mayor of Atlanta, Mayor William Hartsfield would have to travel back and forth to Washington in order to get the approval of the funds, this continued for the next 4 years and then finally his proposal of the refund was approved in 1955 and he was given $11 million to complete the construction and open the dam on the schedule date.
In 1957, as the Lake Lanier began to fill another dam was built 20 miles downstream from it called the Morgan Falls Dam which was built to restore the water from the Bufford Dam which would help in the flow of water throughout Atlanta. The construction of the two dams, especially of the Bufford Dam was very essential as it would help the city of Atlanta during the drought.
In fact, after a year of the construction and creation of the Bufford Dam and Lake Lanier in 1958, the city was hit by a massive drought which would have left the Chattahoochee River and the side streams completely dry if there wasn’t any construction of the dam.
A dispute took place between Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Corps of Engineers back in the 1990s regarding the claims of the flow of Lake Lanier. Based on the Federal Law, it states that if a river is passing through two or more states then it has to be equally divided and shared among the states.
This Lake has seen many disputes and political differences that have taken place based on who claims the lake over the several years of its construction.
What is Lake Lanier Association?
Lake Lanier Association was formed almost 10 years after the construction and all the settlements. Initially the association only consisted of a small group of lakeside homeowners who were concerned about the safety and their properties. But, over the years as the members increased an association was formed accordingly and now there are individuals, families, people living in the lake residents, fishermen and so on who are a part of this committee and their interest started expanding from just looking out for the safety of their properties to looking out for the economic and recreational aspects of the lake as well.
The vision of the Lake Lanier Association is to ensure that the Lake Lanier is kept clean and safe and helps in the enhancement of Georgia’s economy. The members of the association wish to keep the lake in good quality and preserve the quantity of it as well.
You could in fact check out their website and learn more about the various contributions that they have made in order to maintain the Lake Lanier and how they have preserved the History of Lake Lanier as well.
About the 2007- 2009 Drought:
The Georgia’s history of drought has been since the 1954- 1956, 1981, 1985, 1988, 1989-2002 and once again in 2007 -2009, this tells us about the water policy and how well the government is taking measures to manage the drought. Now we know a drought is unpredictable and has a huge impact over the state and its people. Back in 2007 on 26th December, Georgia was hit by a three years of drought which caused the water level of Lake Lanier to 1,050. 79 feet.
This was the lowest water level that the Lake Lanier had seen over the years. This three years’ drought led to a massive loss in the economy of Georgia as well. By mid-October 2009, the North Georgia experience heavy rainfall which led to the rose of the water level of Lake Lanier.
Again in 2011 after another drought took place, the people and the government feared about it and thought this would again lead to a loss in the economy like the one which took place in 2007- 2009, but luckily it wasn’t as bad as they thought and they were able to manage with this drought.
Now along with the drought, Lake Lanier and Georgia were facing another major issue after a lawsuit was filed against them in July 2009, claiming that the Lake Lanier was never given the approval of funds by Congress for the construction. Due to this lawsuit, Georgia was given the notice of three years to stop withdrawing water from the Lake.
The case went on for years till the Corps of Engineers proved the construction and analysis along with the required data which evaluated the proposal of the three states. There have been many lawsuits charged against the state of Georgia regarding the same reasons.
While reading about the historical events which took place in order to build and construct the Bulford Dam as well as the Lake Lanier, I came across articles which questioned on whether the Lake Lanier is haunted or not. Let us look into this mysterious case.
Is Lake Lanier Haunted?
Over the years as many lawsuits the lake has seen, there have been a series of events wherein people have drowned and gone missing from the lake. The most recent incident which took play was in May 2019, wherein a 30-year-old man was Jet skiing and he drowned in the lake and further when the authorities went to search for him they were unable to recover his body. Similarly, after a few hours an old man in his sixties, Michele Thompson had drowned near a boat dock in Lake Lanier. There have been many such incidents reported by people and have also claimed that they were unable to recover anyone’s body from there.
Now we are not sure as to why this has happened or whether is the lake really haunted or not but we can tell you from the visitors, and the people living around there that this lake could be an unsafe spot as well, because since the construction of the lake it is said that many people had died there and many have committed suicide in it. The locals believe that there is a land beneath the water which has pulled away and caused the death of so many lives.
I know this sounds spooky! But, there is no any proof regarding these, mysteries and stories and people still continue to go on a getaway to Lake Lanier, all I would say is if you are planning to visit there then just be safe and enjoy you weekend or getaway.