Older generations might be familiar with the quirky futuristic children’s cartoon The Jetson’s in which futuristic assembly lines and technology, dress, bathe and cook for the futuristic family.
If Gordon County residents knew in 1962, when The Jetson’s first aired, camping at the local camp grounds, Salacoa Creek Park, would entail watching movies on a wireless laptop, The Jetson’s may just come to mind.
Salacoa Creek Park will not just have bonfires, scary stories and your typical canoeing, fishing and swimming for family fun; campers now have access to the Internet with new Wi-Fi accessibility at the campgrounds.
According to McClellan, Wi-Fi accessibility is another avenue Gordon County is taking to keep up with the changing times and technology.
“It is another service that we saw that we could provide to citizens that come out and use these facilities. With the age that we are living in now, with people being connected all the time, we were hoping that this would help draw people out to the park,” said McClellan.
The availability of Wi-Fi on the campgrounds came as direct requests from many visitors who have experienced the great outdoors at Salacoa, according to Park Manager Roger Peace.
However, the Wi-Fi should not affect those who do not wish to have accessibility.
“We have folks that like regular camping, but it hasn’t been a downfall,” said Peace. “It’s there if they want it. In the long term, it is a freedom of choice and not a hindrance.”
How it works
The presence of Wi-Fi will only be noticeable from the glow of entertainment modes campers bring with them.
Even the antennas have been discreetly built to keep the camping feel, according to Brian McClellan, Gordon County Director of Information Technology.
He went on to explain that the equipment to provide Internet services was as kept as simple as possible.
“There are two wireless access points that are mounted on 15-foot wood poles so that it blends in with the surroundings,” said McClellan. “That was one of the things we wanted, for it to not look like a street light with an antennae on top; we wanted it to blend into the environment.”
The 15-foot poles and power to the poles were constructed and connected by local Gordon County companies and the Internet provider iWispr mounted the antennae equipment to receive the Internet connection.
“It is very similar to connecting to the Wi-Fi in your home just at a much larger scale. It is an open network, and as long as you can receive the signal you can connect to it,” said McClellan. “It is just like connecting to Wi-Fi at a Krystal or Starbucks.”
Though it may seem easy, iWispr was the only provider capable of providing Wi-Fi accessibility to Salacoa.
Wireless services for Salacoa are provided by the Gordon County Parks and Recreation Department who have contracted with the local Internet provider.
Signal interruption is only expected to occur during torrential rain and disastrous storms, according to McClellan. However, he doesn’t believe signal losses will be a frequent occurrence due to the advances in today’s technology and satellite services.
The services will provide a popular feature offered at other parks in Georgia, according to Peace and will hopefully bring in visitors.
There are no fees or passwords required.
“We have had great feedback,” said Peace, who says researching other parks and listening to visitor feedback showed an abundant need for an Internet connection.
The goal is to bring more people to access the campgrounds, and accessibility will allow the rambling traveler to stop and stay at Salacoa even if they did not initially plan on it.
“Being way out here (at Salacoa), they can check around for better gas prices if you’re out of town, but overall it’s a great thing because we are in the day and age now,” said Peace. “We live with computer access whether it be phones or computers, so it is overall a great thing.”
Peace says Salacoa Creek Park is striving to keep prices for camping reasonable and affordable and will not charge extra for Wi-Fi access.
“Just having the Wi-Fi is an added feature. The prices remain the same, power and water sites $18, and primitive sites are $11,” he said. “It is like a bundle thing and as of right now, we are not raising prices, and are trying to keep them affordable and have things people can utilize.”
Additionally, if the accessibility offered by Salacoa Creek Park is successful, there has been contemplation that Wi-Fi may soon be offered at recreational complexes such as Sonoraville Recreational Complex, according to McClellan.
“When you are trying to draw in tournaments, now a days, that’s the kind of stuff they look for. Can the parents come out while the kids are playing or practicing, and sit there and do work?” said McClellan.
Overall, Salacoa Creek Park has received very positive feedback from visitors. One visitor informed McClellan that his grandson was able to watch a Netflix movie on the family’s laptop at night while camping.
The Jetson’s and their flying cars in space may not be so far away after all.
For more information about Salacoa Creek Park or Wi-Fi accessibility, contact Salacoa Creek Park at 706-629-3490 or Roger Peace at 770-773-0404.
The Calhoun Times has disabled comments due to slanderous and false accusations Alvin Long has not payed for a camping space at Salacoa Creek Park. The Calhoun Times has verified that the site is paid for in full and has been.