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Local site in running for Americas Favorite Park
Amicalola Falls pic1
Park Ranger Elizabeth Pinion shows young visitors a corn snake at Amicalola Falls State Park last week. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

The honor of America's Favorite Park is up for grabs and a park in Dawsonville is in the running.

Amicalola Falls State Park, home of the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River, is trailing in fifth place for a chance to win a $100,000 recreation grant from Coca-Cola. The second place park will receive a $50,000 grant and third place will receive $25,000.

Park superintendent Bill Tanner said he'd be ecstatic to win either prize but is pushing for first place.

With budget cuts at the state level, Tanner said the park is in dire need of infrastructure improvements.

"We don't get any funding at all from the state anymore, so the winnings would be well spent," he said. "You name it, every aspect of the park, there are some needs - road improvements, some water line issues and the lodge needs a lot of work."

Last year, a park in Minnesota received more than 1.6 million votes to win the title and was able to build a warming hut for winter sports enthusiasts.

"The word's getting out. We're just hoping to see our numbers grow," Tanner said.

Sandy Lipkowitz, of Big Canoe, found out about the contest when she took her grandkids to the park this summer. Once at home, she immediately sent out a mass e-mail to everyone in her address book encouraging them to vote.

"I just firmly believe Amicalola Falls State Park is one of the best state parks and natural resources around and we need to support it to keep it," she said.

As of Tuesday, Amicalola Falls had more than 100,000 votes.

There are several ways to vote including going to or checking in from the park on Facebook. Uploading photos of the park and videos of activities at the park also help the point accumulation.

Voting continues through Sept. 6.