Lake Herrick


A natural area respite on campus

Situated within Oconee Forest Park, Lake Herrick provides opportunites for experiential learning, research, and recreation on the University of Georgia Campus. This valued amenity is managed by the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and is open for the respectful enjoyment of all visitors.

Two people smile at each other while paddling a canoe on a lake under a partly cloudy blue sky
An interdisciplinary team of students, faculty, staff and community members—led by the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, Odum School of Ecology River Basin Center, and the Office of Sustainability—developed a phased approach to enhance water quality and expand low-impact recreational opportunities in and around Lake Herrick in the Oconee Forest Park

About Lake Herrick

Named for Allyn M. Herrick, former Dean of the School of Forest Resources, Lake Herrick was commissioned by the School in 1982 as a recreational resource for Athens and UGA. After 20 years of use, Lake Herrick was closed to swimming and boating in 2002. In 2017 work began to enhance Lake Herrick as a public amenity within Oconee Forest Park and provide a respite amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, and by October 2018 the lake and nearby facilities were re-dedicated for public use. Oconee Forest Park and Lake Herrick remain under the management of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Recreation

Recreational opportunities are available throughout Oconee Forest Park and the adjacent Rec Sports Complex. Walking, trail running, birdwatching, and fishing are popular activities. An accessible dock is available for carry-in, non-motorized boats such as canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. Members of the UGA community can rent boats from the Outdoor Recreation Center.

Research

Lake Herrick is a prominent feature within Oconee Forest Park, which serves as a living laboratory for research in the natural and social sciences. UGA faculty and students conduct research on hydrology, dendrology, water quality, aquatic ecosystems, and more. To coordinate research activities, contact Oconee Forest Park through the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources.

Learning

Lake Herrick and Oconee Forest Park function as an interdisciplinary outdoor classroom providing unique opportunities for faculty and students in the arts, ecology, engineering, forestry and natural resources, landscape architecture, and more. To coordinate academic activities, contact Oconee Forest Park or reserve classroom space through Rec Sports Reservations.

Community

Oconee Forest Park and the Rec Sports Complex are open to the public. Revitalization of Lake Herrick and surrounding areas creates opportunities for healthy outdoor activity and community engagement. The Lake Herrick Pavilion can be reserved by community members through UGA Rec Sports Reservations. Please enjoy our shared natural resources with care.

Restoration Program

An interdisciplinary team of students, faculty, staff and community members—led by the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, Odum School of Ecology River Basin Center, and the Office of Sustainability—developed a phased approach to enhance water quality and expand low-impact recreational opportunities in and around the lake.

Brown water in a pond surrounded by grass and a gravel path

Phase 1

Phase 1 focused on improving water quality within the watershed by revitalizing the upper pond in Oconee Forest Park, which acts as a stilling basin to prevent sediment and pollutants from passing downstream to Lake Herrick and the North Oconee River. This phase included removal of more than 50 years of accumulated sediment, replacing invasive plant materials with native flora, and installing stormwater control measures, among other improvements. Phase 1 began in the fall of 2017 and was completed in summer 2018.

Aerial photo of a lakefront pavilion with construction equipment performing earthwork on the edge of the water

Phase 2

Phase 2 provided ecological restoration and expanded recreational opportunities at Lake Herrick. Improvements along the shoreline included a lakeside lawn for passive recreation and events; an accessible dock and at-grade launch for carry-in, non-motorized boats; a lakeside foot trail; and native vegetation. Phase 2 was dedicated for public use in October 2018. In addition to the landscape improvements, Lake Herrick Pavilion was renovated to support experiential learning and community events, featuring a covered pavilion, indoor meeting room, and catering kitchen available for use by the UGA and local community.

Funding

Private support is playing a critical role in advancing the watershed cleanup and lakefront renovation. The Southern Company Charitable Foundation and the Riverview Foundation generously contributed funding toward this effort. The Office of the President—as the lead campus partner on the project—allocated private resources, as well as additional financial and staff resources from the University of Georgia, including ongoing operational support from Facilities Management Division, Recreational Sports, and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.