"There are heartbeats in the wilderness. They share our moments in the mountains, in the swamps, and in and on the waters of our land, wherever we might be. They are the large part of the reason we are there, whether with a camera, gun, fishing rod, or pack sack on."
The 6,400-acre Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, offers a variety of activities and programs. This beautiful area is centrally located in the state in a beautiful wooded setting near Mansfield, making it easily accessible from Atlanta, Athens and Macon.
- Brooke Ager Discovery Area School Programs
- Outreach Programs
- The Outdoor Discovery School Overnight School Programs
- Wildlife and Other Wonders (WOW) Outdoor Programs
- Project WILD
- Homeschool Programs
- Family Public Programs
- Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Program
Accommodations & Facilities
- 28 Lodge-Style Guest Rooms
- Banquet Hall
- Clybel Archery Range
- Clybel Shooting Range
- Clybel WMA
- Marben PFA
- Boat Ramp
- Primitive Campground
- Visitor Center & Museum
- Bird Watching
- Horseback Riding
- Primitive Camping
Who Was Charlie Elliott?
"Whatever your reason for being there, the outdoors is a world apart, a creation unique with its own colors, its special music, and its matchless variety of fragrance. No human paint brush could ever duplicate its beauty, no musical instrument its blended symphonies, and there is no way to match its fragrance with chemicals."
Charles Newton Elliott (1906–2000) lived in Covington, Georgia and served as the first Director of Georgia State Parks in 1937–1938. He became the Commissioner of Natural Resources in 1938–1941 then was the first Director of the Game and Fish Commission (now known as the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division) in 1943–1949. Elliott also was Southeastern Field Editor for Outdoor Life magazine from 1950 until his passing. His dedication to the conservation of the natural world and wildlife was evident to those who knew him personally and those who read his many writings.
The Charlie Elliott Visitor Center is the information “hub.” If you are not sure how to begin your outdoor adventures at CEWC—start here! Our staff will give you information on available activities at CEWC. If your outdoor interests include shooting sports, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, or even star-gazing, opportunities abound. Trail maps with regulations are available at the Visitor Center.
If you prefer learning about nature inside, you will love the museum housed within the visitor’s center! Come experience Charlie Elliott’s life through the collection of books, photographs, and other hunting and fishing memorabilia that he personally donated. The museum also houses a replica of Charlie’s actual den (where he wrote the last two books in his life), interactive wildlife exhibits, and a bird viewing alcove (with supplied binoculars), which overlooks a pond and a native plant garden. Children of all ages will enjoy playing nature detective with our museum Scavenger Hunt worksheet. Children can also pick up a Junior Ranger book, a program started in Georgia by Charlie himself.
Admission to the museum is free, and self-guided groups are welcome (please give advanced notice of groups of ten or more). Bring cash or your cards for our gift gallery too. You will love our reasonable prices on apparel, field guides, shooting gear and other unique gifts.
Groups may reserve a variety of facilities for meetings, conferences, banquets and other functions at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. The expansive wood and stone Arts and Crafts style buildings were designed to complement the surrounding landscape of the area, providing a beautiful backdrop and comfortably accommodating many types of functions. Before and after meetings, visitors can tour the exhibits in the Visitor Center, stroll along nature trails, cast a line in one of nineteen fishing ponds or practice their skills at the shooting range.
Conference facilities include a large main conference room with an adjoining covered patio and deck. The main conference room will accommodate up to 68 people and two additional conference rooms will accommodate up to 20 guests. Large windows afford stunning views of the lake and surrounding natural hardwood forest. Rates range from $100 to $3,000. Call 770-784-3152 for specific pricing.
Twenty-eight lodge-style rooms are available for groups renting a one of the conference spaces. 16 rooms have two full-size beds, 12 rooms have three twin-sized beds. Up to 68 people can be accommodated. A handicapped-accessible room is available in each of the lodge buildings. $50/night, single or double occupancy, $60/night, triple or quad occupancy.
An expansive banquet hall with a massive stone fireplace adjoins a 2,500-square-foot deck. The banquet hall currently is furnished for groups up to 310 people. Meal plans for both overnight and day meetings can be tailored to fit any need. CECC offers a variety of menu selections, served buffet style. For an additional rental fee, guests may arrange for meals to be catered, provided the caterer is registered with the Conference Center. Please call 770-784-3152 for meals and banquet hall rental pricing.
Charlie Elliott requires contracts for reservations of any type. All reservations require a damage and security deposit.
In the event of a cancellation, 30 days or less from event, deposit is forfeited and customer will be assessed 100% of total estimated contract value (including catering charges). Cancellation’s made 31–60 days prior to event date, forfeit deposit and customer will be assessed 50% of total estimated contract value (including catering charges). Any cancellation made 61 days or more prior to event start date, customer would be eligible for return of entire damage and security deposit, and not be liable for any additional fees.
- An on-site professional event coordinator is available to help plan activities.
- Pricing for conference rooms, lodging and dining/banquet hall listed assumes use of on-site meal services. If a group uses outside services (caterer, etc.), room rental prices are subject to change.
- Currently, easels, podiums, microphones and coffee with condiments and cups are included in meeting room rental costs. Additional audio-visual equipment is available for rent upon request.
- Telephones and televisions are not available in rooms—helping you to focus on business or educational purposes! Phones are available for local calls or for calling card use at the Conference Room and Dining/Banquet Hall.
- Daily maid service is not provided, however fresh towels are provided daily.
- If your organization is tax-exempt REMOVE MOTEL TAX, you must provide a copy of the official governmental form for exemption for each tax upon reservation or taxes will be charged.
- Sales tax is not included in restaurant and lodging rate quotes.
- This facility is a smoke-free and tobacco-free environment. Smoking or other tobacco use is permitted only in designated areas outside the buildings.
For more information or to make a reservation, contact:
Lacy Mitchell, Charlie Elliott Conference Coordinator
F: 770-784 3116
Following is a listing of several other opportunities available at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center (CEWC).
Several 3-D targets of various sizes and ranges provide a unique opportunity to practice archery. Rules are posted at the beginning of the trail, which is located adjacent to the 100-yard shooting range off Marben Farm Road (CEWC's north entrance road). Stay straight past Elliott Trial, and turn left into the next driveway to go to the trial. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center offers a variety of public programs year-round for all ages, including shooting sports, wildlife conservation, fishing, plant identification and more. Most public programs are free, but pre-registration may be required since space is limited.
The Charlie Elliott Astronomy Club meets at the Visitors' Center once a month and frequently views the night sky from an on-site observing field. Visit http://ceastronomy.org for starting times, highlights of presentations, and the latest on special events that may come up during the year.
The wide range of habitats found at the CEWC provide critical habitat for many bird species, both common and rare. Over 200 bird species use these diverse habitats. Therefore, CEWC was designated an Important Bird Area in 2002 by the Atlanta Audubon Society. Bring your binoculars and field guides, and see how many species you can find! Bird Species Checklists are available at the Visitor Center or the online bird checklist.
Camping is allowed only in the designated primitive campground area, and as of October 1, 2019, all campsites are $10 per night. Sites can be reserved by calling or visiting the Charlie Elliott Visitor Center. Each site is numbered and has a fire ring. Sites are available on a first-come first-served basis and each has room for a tent, a fire ring and a picnic table. Camping is limited to 14 consecutive days. Loaded firearms are prohibited in camping areas. No noise is allowed after 10 p.m. or before 7 a.m. in such a manner that may be heard by other campers.
Two shooting ranges (50- & 100-yard) offer recreational shooters a chance to take aim! Visitors are asked to sign in at the range and abide by the posted rules. A DNR range safety officer can help you with any questions. You must bring your own eye and ear protection, targets and target stands. The target should be high enough for the round to strike the backstop berm and not the ground, thereby reducing the chance of it skipping off and escaping the range. You must remove all of your trash before leaving the range complex, including spent brass and used targets. Plans for building your own target stands are available at the Visitor Center. All range rules are strictly enforced. A minimum $250 fine is imposed for shooting outside range operating hours.
Several miles of hiking trails provide the perfect opportunity to explore various habitats and to view wildlife. Try our 5.6-mile multiuse trail for horseback riding, non-motorized biking and hiking. We also offer a Driving Trail, which begins and ends at the entrance information boards (where brochures are available). Hiking trail and multi-use trail maps are available at the Visitor's Center. Dogs are allowed on trails but must be on a leash at all times. Horses are required to have current Coggins test results.
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and contribute to the community. Regular and occasional help is needed with educational programs, kids fishing events, gardening, trail maintenance and more! In addition to the good feeling when helping others, CEWC volunteering brings other perks too—like a 10% discount on clothing and 5 percent on other items in our Gift Gallery! For more information on how to offer your time and talents, please call our Volunteer Coordinator at 770-784-3060.