RUTLEDGE, GA., September 1, 2020 – At the recent annual Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites Manager’s Meeting, Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge received the 2020 Award for Best Customer Service. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Carol Sanchez, park manager since May 2019, won the customer service award for her ability to serve her employees, the guests of the park, and her local community.
Early during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hard Labor Creek served as an isolation area for two quarantined Georgia residents with nowhere else to go. Manager Sanchez accepted the opportunity for her staff and volunteers to serve the citizens of Georgia in a time of need, leading her staff through media attention and public reaction.
According to park staff, Manager Sanchez also does a great job serving her customers throughout the year. She is a proactive leader,quickly solving issues that may arise. She performs her duties with passion and has worked alongside park staff to make vast improvements in the park within the short time she’s been manager. Some of these enhancements include opening up the beach area, expanding the bike trails, constructing new boardwalk on nature trails, trimming vegetation, upgrading the pollinator gardens with irrigation, promoting cabin rentals, improving the equestrian area, and expanding retail operations in the visitor center.
In addition, Interpretive Ranger David Guzman received a Natural Resource Enhancement Award nomination for a recent community service project he worked on with Commerce Middle School’s FFA organization. They constructed and dropped 15 PVC fish attractors into Lake Rutledge, and then geo-referenced the locations in the lake for fishermen to use. The map is posted on GaStateParks.org/HardLaborCreek. According to the DNR, this is a great example of mixing resource management, park rangers, and volunteers to enhance recreation opportunities at state parks.