Old Town Resurfaces as Drought Dries Ga. Lake

Cars, boats, and building scraps found under evaporating Lake Lenier

By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 24, 2007 10:03 PM CST

(Newser) – The brutal drought hitting Georgia is drying up an artificial lake and exposing the long-dead town that lies beneath—along with mountains of trash. "It's horrendous, it's unbelievable," said one local resident. Lake Lanier's receding shores have exposed debris of all shapes and sizes, including an old dirt racing track, foundations of buildings, sunken cars and boats, even a stretch of Georgia Highway 53.

The government built the lake in the 1950s, forcing out 700 families, and it now provides water to 3 million people in Atlanta. The current drought has made the lake 19 feet shallower. "In a way it's interesting, I guess," said the head of the Lake Lanier Association. "But I feel really heartbroken for the lake. If there's a silver lining, it's being able to get the trash out."

A portion of the grandstands of Gaineville Speedway, once submerged under Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Ga., remains near the shoreline Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. As a record drought continues to take it's toll on the 38,000-acre man-made reservoir that supplies more than three million residents with water in metro...
A portion of the grandstands of Gaineville Speedway, once submerged under Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Ga., remains near the shoreline Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. As a record drought continues to take it's...   (Associated Press)
A once submerged tire sits in dried mug at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Ga., Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. As a record drought continues to take it's toll on the 38,000-acre man-made reservoir that supplies more than three million residents with water in metro Atlanta and north Georgia, the receding...
A once submerged tire sits in dried mug at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Ga., Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. As a record drought continues to take it's toll on the 38,000-acre man-made reservoir that supplies more...   (Associated Press)
Boats are docked at Aqualand Marina and exposed lake bed is shown on Lake Lanier in Flowery Branch, Ga., seen Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007, file photo.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Boats are docked at Aqualand Marina and exposed lake bed is shown on Lake Lanier in Flowery Branch, Ga., seen Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007, file photo. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)   (Associated Press)
An exposed lake bed is shown at Lake  Lanier in Buford, Ga., Friday, Oct. 12, 2007. Rivers throughout the Southeast are turning to dust, towns are threatening to ration dwindling water supplies and lawmakers are pointing fingers as the region struggles with an epic drought that seems to be getting...
An exposed lake bed is shown at Lake Lanier in Buford, Ga., Friday, Oct. 12, 2007. Rivers throughout the Southeast are turning to dust, towns are threatening to ration dwindling water supplies and lawmakers...   (Associated Press)
Boat docks on Lake Lanier are shown Monday, Oct. 12, 2007 in Buford, Ga. Georgia politicians are suddenly abuzz with talk about a plan to build state reservoirs to prevent a future water crisis, but environmentalists are pouring cold water on the idea. They cost millions of dollars and take...
Boat docks on Lake Lanier are shown Monday, Oct. 12, 2007 in Buford, Ga. Georgia politicians are suddenly abuzz with talk about a plan to build state reservoirs to prevent a future water crisis, but environmentalists...   (Associated Press)
Fisherman Rick Johnson walks along the shoreline past a once submerged tree at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Ga., Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. As a record drought continues to take it's toll on the 38,000-acre man-made reservoir that supplies more than three million residents with water in metro Atlanta and...
Fisherman Rick Johnson walks along the shoreline past a once submerged tree at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Ga., Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. As a record drought continues to take it's toll on the 38,000-acre...   (Associated Press)
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