Seen from Red Top Mountain State Park
Lake Allatoona (rarely called Allatoona Lake, its government name) is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir in Georgia, located in northwestern metro Atlanta. The lake is mostly in southwestern Cherokee County, but a significant part is in southeastern Bartow County, and a small part in Cobb County near Acworth. Cartersville is the nearest large town to the dam. Red Top Mountain State Park is located on its shores, on the peninsula between the Etowah and Allatoona arms of the lake. Most of the north side of the lake remains protected from land development because of its isolated location, mostly blocked by the lake.
OperationsAllatoona serves seven authorized purposes:
- Flood Control
- Hydropower generation
- Water supply
- Fish and wildlife management
- Water quality
Allatoona also supplies much of the drinking water for the three counties it is in. The lake is supplied mostly by the Etowah River, and its major tributary the Little River (which joins the lake at Bell's Ferry), and in turn Noonday Creek. The other major arm of the lake is Allatoona Creek, extending down to Acworth, where pre-existing Lake Acworth now empties directly into Allatoona at Lake Acworth Drive (Georgia 92). Other significant streams include Kellogg Creek and Rose Creek.
The Allatoona Dam holding back the lake was completed in 1949 on the Etowah, which in turn merges into the Coosa River downstream (northwest) at Rome. The basin upstream (mostly northeast) of Allatoona covers about 1,100 square miles (2,850 km2). This is nearly as large as the basin of Lake Lanier (Atlanta's biggest water source), but since the Allatoona is smaller, it drains and fills more rapidly than Lanier during droughts and floods.
The lake's summer level has averaged 840 feet (256 m) above mean sea level. During major droughts it has dropped as much as 13 feet (4 m) below this, exposing old tree stumps and former hills which are normally submerged at depth safe for navigating boats. Its maximum capacity or flood stage is +23 feet (7 m) [863 feet (263 m) AMSL], though it has never been known to reach this level, and flooding of boat ramps and other lakeside facilities begins to occur well below it.
- Hydroelectric power generation at Allatoona returns more than $3.5 million to the U.S. Treasury annually.
- The Corps of Engineers has 662 campsites on Allatoona.
HistoryAllatoona Pass was the site of an intensive 8-hour battle during the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War in June 1864. More than 1500 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed, wounded or missing.
The lake was authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1941 and 1946. The creekside town of Allatoona was destroyed by the creation of the lake. Several roads were also severed or rerouted, including Acworth Dallas Highway.
The general contractor for construction of Allatoona Dam was National Constructor Inc. The total cost of the Allatoona project for construction, land, clearing, and relocationwas $31,500,000 in 1950.
The record high water on Allatoona of 861.19 feet (262.49 m) occurred on April 9, 1964.
Visitors to Allatoona spent more than $12 million for consumable goods in 1999.
The Corps collected more than $1 million in camping and day use fees in 2006.
From 1950 through 2006, 281 drownings have occurred in Allatoona.
The power plant began operation January 31, 1950. Since 1957 the summer pool elevation has been 840 feet (256 m) AMSL. Since 1957 the winter draw-down has been 823 feet (251 m) AMSL. Two municipalities withdraw water from the lake. The city of Cartersville uses 12,000,000 US gallons per day (45,000 m3/d). Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority uses 43,000,000 US gallons per day (160,000 m3/d).
During the late 1980's there was a prolonged drought. The peak of the drought in 1986 exposed vast portions of the lake bed revealing tree stumps, roads, and foundations of houses (Wilson's farm). Grass grew in some places and children were seen to mow the grass and play baseball on the newfound vacant lots.
In 1998 Allatoona clocked 86,813,126 hours, which were more visitor hours than any of the other 450 Corps of Engineer projects in the United States, and exceeded that in 2006 with more than 92 million visitor hours.
- The presence of Allatoona Dam has prevented nearly $80 million in flood damages since 1950.
MarinasThere are eight privately operated marinas that provide fuel, storage, boat repairs, rentals, supplies, and/ or other boater's needs.
Glade Marina is on 137 acres (55 ha) on two coves. Little River Marina, Victoria Harbour and Harbor Town Marina are all off Bells Ferry Road. Etowah Yacht Club and Allatoona Yacht Club provide marinas located in the middle portion of the lake. Wilderness Camp Marina provides access to deep water.
Boat rampsLake Allatoona provides fifteen public boat ramps throughout the lake area located in three counties: Cobb, Cherokee and Bartow. These are used for water sports, fishing and boating, for the south-western part of the lake. Parking is provided.
RecreationCamping: The Corps of Engineers operates several campgrounds and campsites on the Lake Allatoona area.
Hunting: All hunting seasons are set by the appropriate state or local governing authority. State hunting licenses are required at all areas OPEN to hunting on the Corps of Engineers property. Georgia may require an additional stamp for hunting in WMA's (Wildlife Management Areas).
- Lake Allatoona News
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers site for Lake Allatoona
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lake Allatoona at GNIS
- Lake Allatoona Preservation Authority
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers site on the Lake Allatoona/Upper Etowah River Watershed Study
- Lake Allatoona Recreation Information
- Lake Allatoona Information Source
- Recreation.gov recreation area details - Allatoona Lake - Recreation.gov
- Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority
- Flood Control Acts
- Atlanta Campaign
- Allatoona Pass
- Lake Lanier
- Coosa River
- Allatoona Dam
- Kellogg Creek
- Allatoona Creek
- Noonday Creek
- Little River
- Etowah River
- Red Top Mountain State Park
- Bartow County