The first of two public hearings about a proposed reservoir in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area will be held Thursday during a special called meeting of the Dawson County commission.
The meeting is set for 4 p.m. in the G.L. Pete Gilleland Chambers at Dawsonville City Hall.
The commission voted in July to hold hearings on the matter.
They did so at the encouragement of Commissioner Gary Pichon, who has said he would like to see a portion of the 10,000-acre tract conserved as a "grand park" for recreational use.
"I'm thinking about this not only to conserve the land, but as a tourism industry for our county," Pichon said.
The city of Atlanta owns the land, which has not been ruled out as a second airport site.
To ease regional water issues, however, Etowah Water and Sewer Authority has proposed building a reservoir on about 2,000 of the acres.
In reference to the public hearings, Pichon told commissioners earlier this summer that they "might hear some things we do not know and maybe didn't think about."
Commissioners also anticipate hearing from groups that have vowed a legal fight if the reservoir plan proceeds.
Opponents contend damming the Etowah River at Shoal Creek for a reservoir would endanger several fish species and disrupt water flows to areas downstream.
Pichon said despite any position the commission may take on the matter, the future of the site is going "to have a huge impact on the people of this county one way or another."
The second public hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sept. 22. at the same location.