Lake Herrick


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.


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.


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.


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.

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. The area was popular for swimming, fishing, and boating. Campus and community events were held in the pavilion, and the Department of Recreational Sports staffed lifeguards and concession vendors. After 20 years of use, Lake Herrick was closed to swimming and boating in 2002.


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 – helped develop plans to enhance Lake Herrick as a public amenity within Oconee Forest Park and provide a respite amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life.

phase 1: oconee forest pond rehabilitation

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 sediments 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.To enhance watershed quality and ensure the safety of all visitors to Oconee Forest Park, all pets must remain on-leash at all times, and pet owners are required to clean up and properly dispose of pet waste.  Pet waste stations are provided for convenience. To learn more, visit the Warnell School of Natural Resources Oconee Forest Park website.


Private support is playing a critical role in advancing the watershed cleanup and lakefront renovation. The Southern Company Charitable Foundation has donated $400,000 to support the project, and the Riverview Foundation also has generously contributed funding toward this effort. The Office of the President — as the lead campus partner on the project — has allocated $250,000 in 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.

phase 2: lake herrick shoreline improvementS

Phase 2 provided ecological restoration and expanded recreational opportunities at Lake Herrick. Improvements along the shoreline near Lake Herrick Pavilion included a lakeside lawn for passive recreation and events; an accessible dock and at-grade launch for carry-in, non-motorized boats such as canoes and kayaks; a lakeside walking and running trail; and native vegetation at the lake’s edge and throughout the site. Phase 2 was dedicated for use by the public in October 2018. In addition to the landscape improvements, Lake Herrick Pavilion was renovated to support experiential learning and community events. The renovated Pavilion features a covered pavilion, indoor meeting room, and catering kitchen available for use by the UGA and local community. To reserve the Lake Herrick Pavilion, contact UGA Recreational Sports Facility Reservation.

future projects

Proposed watershed enhancements include stormwater improvements at Rogers Road Family Housing and Rec Sports Complex, as well as improvements to the two tributaries entering Lake Herrick. Additional envisioned landscape features include completion of a loop trail around the lake to further enhance the area for recreation, experiential learning, and environmental education.


Additional information on the Lake Herrick Watershed Restoration infrastructure and greenspace project can be found on the Office of University Architects website.

More information on Oconee Forest Park can be found on the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources website.