Walker County Partners with SirenGPS for Community Notification System

LaFayette, GA – Walker County has a new and improved method for the public to receive emergency and community notifications.  The SirenGPS app can send push notifications to smartphones in a matter of seconds, keeping residents alerted to bad weather and other community concerns or interests.

“While our primary use of this notification system will be for emergency situations, we also have the capability to geofence or draw a map around a certain area that will only notify folks in that area of things like a water outage, power outage or road closure,” said Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Blake Hodge.

SirenGPS will only send residents who sign-up for the free service one alert, so if they receive the push notification from the app, the system will check them off as being notified.  60 seconds later, SirenGPS will send out text messages to those who still need to be notified.  60 seconds after that, anyone still in need of an alert will get a phone call.

Chief Hodge added, “We’re concentrating on trying to limit landline usage because our infrastructure can cause a delay of more than an hour if everyone in the county were to receive a phone call.  So this new delivery, with an app push notification, is going to be key to the success of this notification system.”

SirenGPS immediately replaces Walker County’s Hyper-Reach notification system.  Residents are urged to download the free SirenGPS app, which is available for Apple and Android devices.  Those who do not have a smartphone and wish to receive a text or phone call should contact Tina in the Walker County Commissioner’s Office at 706-638-1437 or register online secure.sirengps.com//register.


“Walker Rocks” Visionary Honored with Chamber Award

Rock Spring, GA – Everywhere he goes, Robert Wardlaw takes the message of why Walker Rocks with him.  His excitement for Walker County’s abundance of exhilarating outdoor experiences knows no equal.

Appointed by Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield last March to serve as the county’s Economic and Community Development Director, Wardlaw began examining quality of life issues important to business and industry.  Following a recreational hike on Lookout Mountain last spring, he started developing a vision to grow the county’s sales tax base by showcasing its environmental wonders.

After months of planning behind the scenes, Walker Rocks emerged in late June.  The partnership between Walker County Government and the Walker County Chamber of Commerce serves as a platform to encourage outdoor enthusiasts to make the Walker County trip to go hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking and caving, among other activities.

During the Walker County Chamber’s Annual Dinner, Wardlaw was honored as the 2018 Chamber Member of the Year.  The award comes on the heels of Northwest Georgia’s Historic High Country Travel Association recognizing Walker Rocks with the 2018 Award for Association Excellence for Best Marketing Campaign.

As word continues to spread about Walker County’s exciting options for tourists, bookings at locations like Mountain Cove Farms Resort and sales tax revenue have grown.  In fact, there was an $88,519 increase in sales tax revenue from July-November last year when compared to the same period in 2017.

The Walker Rocks team continues to explore options to grow the tourism brand in 2019.  Several exciting announcements are planning in the months to come.

2019 Road Projects List Being Developed in Walker County

LaFayette, GA – Walker County voters approved the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) in November 2017, but it did not take effect until April 2018. With funding beginning to flow into the county last summer, Walker County paid cash for two initial projects – Nickajack Road and Diamond Circle.

The 2019 road projects list continues to be developed, but several roads have already been identified for work. We plan to solicit contractor bids this year for the following roads:

* Peavine Road (Rock Spring area)
* Ringgold Road (Rock Spring area)
* Five Points Road (Chickamauga area)
* Osburn Road (Chickamauga area)
* South Dicks Creek Road (Armuchee Valley area)
* South Burnt Mill Road (LaFayette area)
* Dry Valley Road (Rossville area)
* W. Schmitt Road (Rossville area)
* Glass Mill Road (Chickamauga area)
* Jones Road (Noble area)

In addition, Walker County is working with area utility providers to ensure underground lines that need to be replaced are addressed before road work begins. This could impact the schedule of when some roads are resurfaced.

Walker County Fire Victims Remembered at Georgia State Capitol

Atlanta, GA – The annual swearing in ceremony for Fire Marshals and Fire Inspectors at the Georgia State Capitol took on new meaning this year for Walker County Fire Marshal Paul Linder.  The State Fire Marshal’s Office displays shoes on the Capitol steps to represent the lives lost to fire during the previous year.  This time, five of those pairs of shoes were from Walker County, including one pair representing a 12-year old girl.

Fire Marshal Linder wondered how many of those fatalities might have been prevented by working smoke alarms.  The State Fire Marshal’s Office held the shocking answer.  In 2018, there were 83 fatal house fires across Georgia.  Only four of the 83 fatal fires had working smoke alarms.

Walker County Fire Rescue recently doubled its efforts to promote its free smoke alarm program with public service announcements, a billboard and neighborhood installation blitz along Dry Valley Road, where four of the five local fatalities occurred in 2018.  Only 21 smoke alarms were installed in 2017.  In 2018, the number increased to 228.  One month into 2019 and nearly 90 smoke alarms have already been installed.

Linder hopes one day when he attends the swearing in ceremony, there won’t be any shoes on the Capitol steps.  Do your part by calling 706-539-1255 and requesting a free smoke alarm installation or by sharing this information with friends and loved ones.

Also in attendance from Walker County to be sworn in was Jeffrey Roerdink, our new Fire Inspector.  Roerdink recertified through the Georgia Fire Academy this month.



Open Gate Days at Lula Lake Land Trust Move to Reservation System

Lookout Mountain, GA – You now need a reservation to visit one of Walker County’s most popular recreational attractions. Beginning February 23rd, Lula Lake Land Trust will use a new online reservation system to grant access to Open Gate Days.

85 parking spots will be available via the online reservation system located on the events page at LulaLake.org. Lula Lake officials hope this new reservation system will provide the public with a better opportunity to schedule their visit and provide updates on availability for each Open Gate Day event.

“We want Lula Lake lovers to know that we’ve heard you,” said Matthew Hubbard, Director of
Development. “We understand you want to visit this beautiful piece of nature. That’s why we
feel a reservation system for Open Gate Days will ensure each and every person a fair chance at visiting Lula Lake Land Trust.”

With the construction of a new, eco-friendly parking last summer, Lula Lake limited the number of visitors at any given time in order to rehabilitate the land from overuse.

Lula Lake is only open to the public on Open Gate Days. December through April, Open Gate Days occur on the first and last Saturday of each month. May through November, Open Gate Days occur on the first and last weekend of each month. The cost to visit is $15 per car, which is a conservation use fee that goes back into the preservation of Lula Lake. Buses, passenger vans and extra-large vehicles will not be permitted due to capacity restrictions.

How Walker Works – Probate Court

Located on the lower level of the Walker County Courthouse in LaFayette, you’ll find Probate Court, the administrator of many family matters.

Probate Court handles marriage and weapons carry licenses, fireworks permits, guardianship for children and adults, wills, estates and mental health hospitalizations, among other duties.

Marriage and weapons carry licenses make of the bulk of requests handled by this court. Judge Christy Anderson said, “If they’re going to get a weapons carry permit, when they come in for the first time, or if you’ve allowed your permit to expire more than 30 days, then when you come in you will need your driver’s license that has your current physical address on it and then you will need $79.75 cash.”

You also need your driver’s license and 66-dollars in cash to obtain a marriage license. “The law says that no prior marriage may be presumed, so therefore when you come in for a marriage license and you’ve had a prior marriage or two or three, you must have the final decree that is signed by the judge for the divorce from every marriage prior,” said Anderson.

Both licenses require an in person office visit. “We have to put all the information in and print it. We don’t even have an application out there to hand you. It’s all generated once we put your information in and then printed,” Anderson added.

When it comes to wills and estate planning, Anderson knows the topic makes many people uneasy, but she carries the mantra taught to her by the longtime Probate Court Judge W.L. Abney. “If you own a pen, please have a will telling me who you want that to go to, because anything you own is yours and my job is to make sure I grant your wishes of who you want that to go to. So, if nothing else, just please have a will. And if you don’t have the money for an attorney to draw-up a will, that’s fine. Our wills are public record. Come down and get a copy of one. Look at it and see if that is what you like and go by it.”

The court’s offices can be reached by calling 706-638-2852.  Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to Noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.


“My Furry Valentine” Speed Petting Event Coming to Walker County

Chickamauga, GA – Find a valentine for all seasons during the Walker County Animal Shelter‘s My Furry Valentine event on Saturday, February 9th.

The shelter will be offering speed petting, giving visitors a chance to flip through a photo album and select a potential valentine. The staff will then hook you up with four of your furry favorites.  You’ll then spend four minutes together, in hopes of making a match.

Adoption fees will be reduced during this event to $10 for cats and $20 for dogs.  The price includes spay/neuter, rabies and core vaccination.  Those making a match during this event will also receive a new pet owner starter pack, which includes toys, food, a leash and collar.

Human and doggy snacks will be available at the shelter during My Furry Valentine, which runs from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The Walker County Animal Shelter is located at 5488 North Marble Top Road in Chickamauga.

1/29/19 Winter Storm Impact on Walker County

Updated 6:15 p.m. (1/29/19)

All Walker County Government offices, Landfill, Animal Shelter, Courthouses, and Health Department will be back to normal operating hours on Wednesday, January 30, 2019.  

11:15 a.m. (1/29/19)

Our Public Works crews are still out. Their main concern right now is bridges that have not dried yet.

Now that the temperature has dropped into the 20’s, if you encounter something on the roadway that looks like a puddle, treat it as black ice.

Updated 8:15 a.m. (1/29/19)

Snow Plow in Walker County

Our Public Works crews report no major road issues at this moment. If you choose to travel today, be extra cautious as you may encounter black ice, especially if temperatures continue to drop today.

Updated: 3:50 p.m. (1/28/19)

Snow PlowAll Walker County Government Offices, including the Landfill, Animal Shelter, Health Department & Courthouses will be closed Tuesday, January 29th.

Public Works crews spent the day preparing for winter weather. Spreaders have been added to our trucks to treat roads with a sand/salt mixture. Our team will be ready to roll once the first flake falls, but residents are advised to avoid any unnecessary travel Tuesday.

Updated 2:30 p.m. (1/28/19)

winter storm watch 2


* WHAT…Snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches.
Locally higher amounts are possible along the ridge tops. In
addition, any moisture left on the roadways, especially in
sheltered or protected areas will likely refreeze, increasing
the potential for black ice development.

* WHERE…Mainly along and north of a line from Rome to Jasper to

* WHEN…From 3 AM to 7 PM EST Tuesday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel could be very difficult. The
hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening


A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather
conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you
must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your
vehicle in case of an emergency.

Updated 12:15 p.m. (1/28/19)

Updated 8:30 a.m. (1/28/19)

Walker Transit will be closed all day on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019 due to the potential for inclement weather.


Updated: 7:00 a.m. (1/28/19)

winter storm watch 1-29-19

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Walker County from 4:00 a.m. Tuesday until 10:00 a.m. Tuesday.

A strong cold front will bring the potential for accumulating snow Tuesday. Patchy black ice will be possible even in areas that receive little or no snow.