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Adairsville • Cassville • Cartersville • Euharlee •
Kingston • Lake Allatoona • Summer Hill

3963 Bartow Carver Road | Acworth, Georgia 30101

Carver Park’s John Atkinson hoped to share his love of the great outdoors with the larger African American community, but he faced challenges. Very few African Americans could swim, and no organized lessons were offered for people of color. After a tragic drowning at the park, Atkinson reached out for help. After much searching, the Red Cross in neighboring Rome agreed to train the park’s first black lifeguards. Swimming lessons soon followed for both sexes, although they were taught separately. During this time, Atkinson became aware that Scouting was a great program to develop youth, so he and other local leaders organized troops.

Scoutmaster Robert Cotton led Negro Scout Troop 80 in activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and water safety. Girls also were forming troops; Atlanta’s District V “Camping For Me” brochure lists George Washington Carver State Park as their official camp in 1963. Girls were taught skills such as archery, swimming, and arts and crafts. Those programs grew and took over certain portions of the park as they gained in size and popularity. Group camping was established for these new boy scouts and girl scouts, and hiking trails linked the camps back to the main Carver clubhouse.

In 1962, a sublease was agreed upon between the Department of State Parks, Historic Sites, and Monuments and the Greater Atlanta Girl Scout Council to establish and construct a 210 acre Negro Girls Scout group camp on the Carver Park site. In the 1970’s, this camp became fully integrated. In 2018, the Girl
Scouts negotiated to end their lease, and Bartow County took over the site. The camp has now been reopened as Pine Acres Retreat on Lake Allatoona. Operated by the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Pine Acres Retreat features two special event venues, camping, cabins, a dock, pool, and picnic pavilions.

Go to for more information, or call 770-387-1357.



African American

Heritage Trail

Bartow County, Ga

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