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Georgia Historical Society to Dedicate New Historical Marker Commemorating Will-A-Way Recreation Area

SAVANNAH, GA, April 18, 2022 – The Georgia Historical Society (GHS), in conjunction with Camp Twin Lakes, will dedicate a new Georgia Historical Marker recognizing Will-A-Way Recreation Area.

Will-A-Way Recreation Area opened inside Fort Yargo State Park as the first comprehensive outdoor recreational facility in the United States designed for people with disabilities. The completion of Will-A-Way predated the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) by nearly 20 years. Today, Will-A-Way is operated by Camp Twin Lakes and provides a space for intentional camp programs for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges.

“The Will-A-Way historical marker tells the important story of creating an accessible recreation area for Georgians with disabilities,” says Elyse Butler, Georgia Historical Society Marker Manager. “The historical marker recognizes Will-A-Way as a model for accessible recreation areas across the nation, and is the first marker addressing disability rights.”

The dedication will take place on Friday, April 22, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at Fort Yargo State Park, 210 S Broad Street, Winder, Georgia 30680. Speakers will include Mark Williams, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Doug Hertz, founder and Chairman of Camp Twin Lakes and Secretary of the Georgia Historical Society Board of Curators; Elyse Butler, Georgia Historical Society Marker Manager; Ashley Henderson, Camp Twin Lakes Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager; Mayor David Maynard, Mayor of Winder, Georgia; Tom Wilkins, representing the Wilkins Family, namesake of the Wilkins Greenway Trail connecting Fort Yargo State Park and the City of Winder; and Jeff Crown, Director of Parks & Sites Division at Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

This dedication is free and open to the public.

For more information about the Will-A-Way Recreation Area historical marker dedication or the Georgia Historical Society marker program, please contact Keith Strigaro, Director of Communications, at 912.651.2125, ext. 153 or by email at kstrigaro@georgiahistory.com.

The marker reads as follows:

Will-A-Way Recreation Area

Completed in 1971, Will-A-Way Recreational Area was the nation’s first comprehensive outdoor recreational facility designed for people with disabilities. Beginning in 1966, the Georgia Department of State Parks met with multiple agencies to develop a recreation area that would eliminate the physical and psychological barriers experienced by people with disabilities. The state selected Fort Yargo State Park as the site for the recreational area due to its proximity to a large percentage of Georgia’s population. Created through matching state and federal funds, Will-A-Way consisted of a day-use area, group camp, and family cabins. Nearly 20 years before the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) requiring equal rights for people with disabilities, Will-A-Way served as a model for other states seeking to build more inclusive recreational areas.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society and Camp Twin Lakes

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ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL MARKER PROGRAM
The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) administers Georgia’s historical marker program. For almost 25 years, GHS has erected nearly 300 new historical markers across the state on a wide variety of subjects. GHS also coordinates the maintenance for more than 2,200 markers installed by the State of Georgia prior to 1998. Online mapping tools allow users to design driving routes based on historical markers, and a mobile app helps visitors locate and learn about markers nearby. Visit georgiahistory.com for more ways to use Georgia’s historical markers and experience history where it happened.


ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
To learn more visit georgiahistory.com.