Permits & Shoreline Management on Lake Lanier

You might own a castle on Lake Lanier but the lake and shoreline are public property.
You might own a castle on Lake Lanier but the lake and shoreline are public property.

If you’re one of the fortunate few who own a home or two bordering on Lake Lanier, you might think you’re the king of your castle.  That’s true, to an extent; but, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) manages the lake and all the shoreline because that’s public property and cannot be purchased by homeowners.

You can do what you want on your own land, but you’ll have to get permission and buy a permit to do stuff on the public property called Lake Lanier — if what you want to do is allowed at all.

Whether you call it a permit fee or a tax doesn’t really matter.  If you want to run a phone line, water line or electric line from your home down to the water’s edge, you must get a permit from the USACE and renew it every five years.  You must also get a permit to put steps down to the water, for example.  Don’t even think of building a picnic shelter or patio on USACE property.

Getting a permit for a dock — one of the few still available on the lake — is even more complicated.

But, you do get to enjoy the view for free, except for property taxes.

Thinking of clearing a few trees or planting some ornamental vegetation along the shore?  Sorry, you can’t do that because the shoreline is public property managed by the USACE.

Can you put a patio on your own land?  Sure.  Can you erect a romantic swing to watch sunsets with your hunny bunny behind your house?  Sure.  Just not on the edge of Lake Lanier.

Shoreline management issues are terribly complex.  If you are wondering what you can put on your property or what you cannot put on public property, you must follow the rules set by the USACE.

Do the right thing.  Follow the rules.  Pay the permit fees.

Live long and prosper on Lake Lanier.

Click Here for Shoreline Management Policies & Regulations

About Author

Robert J. Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life in Gainesville, GA.
Robert has two adult daughters, seven practically perfect grandchildren and a zippy Kawasaki. Contact Robert at [email protected].

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(1) Comment

  1. Robert Sutherland


    Sorry. You must contact the Army Corps of Engineers to solve this problem.


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