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Posted: August 17, 2013 8:30 p.m.

Finding fun at Ga. parks

There's always a lot of activity at Georgia's state parks, and below are a few staff selections of events coming up next week. For more events or information, visit gastateparks.org.

John Muir-Inspired Identification Hike

- Thursday, Aug . 22, 10 a.m. to Noon

- Sweetwater Creek State Park - Lithia Springs

- For people 16 years old and older; reservations required; $5 plus $5 parking; 770-732-5871

No cameras or search engines, only pencil and paper. This hike will be an educational program geared toward identifying native and non-native animal and plant species. Later at the lab, participants will identify, with the help of field guides, what they sketched. Pencil and sketch pad recommended.

Kayak Out to a Twilight Frog Slog

- Friday, Aug. 23, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

- Hard Labor Creek State Park - Rutledge

- $15 plus $5 parking; 706-557-3001

Listen to, learn about and see the park’s froggy friends as you paddle out to explore a wetlands area at sunset. Wear shoes and clothes that you don't mind getting wet and muddy. Meet at the Trading Post park office 15 minutes beforehand.

Camping and Kayaking

- Friday, Saturday & Sunday, Aug. 23-25

- Red Top Mountain State Park - Cartersville

- Space is limited; pre-registration is required; $175 per person and $5 parking; 770-975-0055

Get outdoors and do something different this summer by spending a weekend camping and kayaking with two park rangers. Explore Red Top and Lake Allatoona by boat and relax at the campsite afterwards. Fee includes a campsite for two nights, a tandem sit-on-top kayak, paddle, life jacket, paddling instruction and two days of guided paddling tours.

Full Moon Kayak Tour

- Saturday, Aug. 24. 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

- Hard Labor Creek State Park - Rutledge

- Register in advance; $15 plus $5 parking; 706-557-3001.

Join a guided tour of Lake Rutledge, and enjoy a peaceful paddle under a bright moon. Listen for night sounds, enjoy the night sky and learn about the history of Hard Labor Creek State Park.

Gold Fever

- Saturday, Aug. 24, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

- Smithgall Woods State Park - Helen

- Register in advance. $5 plus $5 parking. 706-878-3087.

Hear the history of local gold mining with a local historian and Smithgall's interpretive ranger. The morning begins with a presentation depicting cultural influences that led up to the 1828 Georgia "gold rush." A hike on the Martin Mine trail provides an opportunity to interpret the scars that gold mining efforts left on the landscape.

Sunset Boat Tour

- All Saturdays until Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

- Stephen C. Foster State Park – Fargo

- Sign up at the office; space is limited. $15 - $20. $5 parking; 912-637-5274.

Dare to venture out in the swamp at night. See which creatures lurk after dark. After the sun sets, see the stars come out and the alligators’ eyes glow bright red with the aid of a spotlight.

Historic New Manchester History Hike

- Saturday, Aug. 24, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

- Sweetwater Creek State Park - Lithia Springs

- $5 plus $5 parking; 770-732-5871

This mile-long hike (easy to moderate) will lead to the five story ruins of the Civil War-era New Manchester textile mill and focus on the history of the Sweetwater Creek Valley. This historian or ranger-led hike will include going inside the ruins and seeing the lovely whitewater rapids that provide great photo opportunities.

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