In my column last fall, I wrote about North Georgia without a Lake Lanier, a metro Atlanta without its water supply, without its playground and without energy, vibrancy and connectivity that is stimulated and intertwined with Lake Lanier.
It struck nerves. We have received more comments and follow up questions than any other article that we have published to date. So in that line of exploratory thinking, and my perpetual pondering of “what if,” I thought I might look 40 years ahead at this Lanier Land we call home in the year 2055.
Many of us will be long gone, or those “old” folks remaining will be running around with bionic limbs, computer-assisted heart mechanics or other Star Wars era medical support systems, but Lake Lanier endures, without sounding too much like a Popular Science magazine. Here are a few random predictions (please save this article and look back in 2055 to see how accurate we were).
● The general population of Lake Lanier in 2055 has reached 558,558 up from 308,487 in 2015, a 45 percent increase. Lake Lanier is now in the heart of Megalithic Atlanta, whose 2055 population has tipped 12 million people. Outer regions of Atlanta now stretch to Chattanooga, Greenville and south toward Macon.
● By 2055, homes with direct access to Lake Lanier average $2,106,000 in price and the average home with proximity to Lanier is $1,125,000.
● Lake Lanier has a stable water level, in fact, higher thanks to the Corp of Engineers’ 2025 decision to raise the surface area by 2 feet. Now, understand the tri-state water war started in 1987 still rages on, with the latest appeal to the Supreme Court and the United Nations Committee for Full Water Resources.
● The water is clean. Surrounding communities continue to push for municipal sewer and enacted 2030 five-year recertification of private septic systems and biannual pump-outs. Giant robotic computerized worms scour the lower levels of Lanier filtering and purifying water on a continual basis, providing some of the cleanest water on the continent.
● Recreation is still Lanier’s No. 1 byproduct. Unmanned, computerized GPS glass-bottom boat tours are launched multiple times per day from four different points of Lanier. Jet propeller ski boats, hovercrafts and hover skis are now the norm. Sonic fish tracking devices allow record bass catches and the new cooling systems put in place on the north end of the Lanier/Chattahoochee River corridor has allowed the in product of rainbow, brown and black trout from Lanier Park North.
● The casino build on the old PineIsle site in 2025 has brought a new level of tourist year-round to take Lanier and riverboat gambling cruises. 2030 just extends that impact.
● The lawsuit challenging the Corps’ maximum private boat dock count fixed in the 2020s was finally settled in 2032, with the Corps increasing group and marina facilities to a 17,000 count. As a compromise for that action, boats must all be on lifts (environmental protection for gas-oil leakage) or dry dock stored when not in direct use. (long coming to Lanier.)
● Google-shot aerial photographs in the 1990s created GPS shoreline coordinates in the 2000s. In the 2030s it mapped every subsurface-level nook and cranny so recreational diving would be safer and three-dimensional ocular glass experiences could be generated without ever venturing below the surface.
● The Lake Lanier Association is now celebrating its 85th year and continues to be a valuable ombudsman for lake initiatives.
Bottom line, by 2055, Lake Lanier is a mega-commercial region with corporate offices built on its shore with equally commanding views. Residential planned communities have morphed into luxury compounds; hotels and recreation put the shore from one end to the other. Here’s to the future!
About the author
Frank Norton is a seventh generation north Georgian, CEO of the region’s largest and oldest real estate insurance firm and a Lake Lanier homeowner/activist. He is a passionate market researcher, demographer and prognosticator and noted national speaker on emerging real estate issues.