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The History of Lake Nottely

Monday, June 6, 2022   /   by Nathan Fitts

The History of Lake Nottely

The History of Lake Nottely


It’s hard to find The Lake on a map.


Yes, that’s how most of us refer to lakes that are considered home, a treasured retreat, or a gathering place to meet friends and family. 


Just The Lake.


The Lake is familiar. “We’re heading up to The Lake.” “We’re loving living on The Lake.” “We’re looking forward to getting away to The Lake.”


For many, in and around Blue Ridge, Blairsville, Fannin and Union counties, Lake Nottely is The Lake. And don’t worry, it’s actually easy to find on a map – about smack-dab central to Atlanta, Knoxville, Asheville and Chattanooga. For those living in those mid-size and big cities, The Lake is an escape from all things that come with higher population density and general city hub-bub.


It’s recreation, it’s fabulous views, and it’s quiet time together. But mostly, Lake Nottely is a place to relax. The beauty of life on the lake translating to a sense of peaceful calm and serenity is well documented. It’s also pretty darn obvious. You can feel it in a brilliant sunrise, a stunning sunset and a breathtaking 50-mile view.


Back in the Day


While Nottely was first formed as a Tennessee Valley Authority power and flood control project way back in 1942, it has morphed from power generator into a recreation destination and regional economic driver. Lakes, mountains and beaches tend to do that. People love water, not only for recreation, but also somehow as a reassurance that life on this planet is really quite okay.  Water to drink, water to swim in, boat in, and bathe in – it’s all there, you can see it. 


Although Lake Nottely has been around for quite a while, somehow, these days, it feels like it’s just being discovered, thanks in part to the growing appeal of Blue Ridge, Blairsville and Murphy, NC as travel destinations.  The charm of regional towns -- and the North Georgia Mountains in general and especially the growth of the wine industry and craft breweries, as well as festivals and events -- all contributes to an overall feeling of well-being. And Lake Nottely is a centerpiece for all that. 


The serenity of the lake is also influenced by the fact that 70% of its shoreline is under the jurisdiction of the United States Forest Service. That means that despite rapid growth in vacation and full-time home ownership on the lake, a large majority of the lake will remain undeveloped. It also guarantees that trees and foliage that produce spectacular fall color will be unaffected by new construction.


Access Today


For avid boaters and anglers, Lake Nottely offers quiet back bays, ideal habitat for a wide variety of fish, including black and striped bass, walleye, rainbow trout, crappies, sunfish and bluegill; and open channels enhance the boating experience and encourage boating safety. Four public boat ramps and two private marinas provide even more of the services boaters need.


For those looking for a bit of intrigue, it’s been rumored that if you scuba dive you might find the remains of the town that flooded when Lake Nottely was created, but if you’d prefer to stay above the water, a 1.7 mile wooded trail winds around the Nottely Dam on the north side of the lake.


There are no hotels on Lake Nottely, but Poteete Campground has 59 campsites, a boat dock and a bathhouse with restrooms and showers; and there are cabins and vacation properties galore.


Lake Nottely is a lively centerpiece in a growing region that’s just hitting its stride as a popular place to vacation or live full-time.


Meta Description: Lake Nottely is The Lake for the North Georgia Mountains and located centrally to Atlanta, Knoxville, Asheville and Chattanooga. For those living in those mid-size and big cities, Lake Nottely is an escape from all things that come with higher population density and general city hub-bub. With 70% of its shoreline under the jurisdiction of the United States Forest Service a large majority of the lake will remain undeveloped.


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3354 East 1st St
Blue Ridge, GA 30513
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