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Thread: Day off Adventure - Exploring the Remains of Dawson Forest

  1. #1
    Troncalli Jeep Representative longarmwj's Avatar
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    Day off Adventure - Exploring the Remains of Dawson Forest

    Dawson Forest. For locals here in Northern Georgia those two words stir up a whirlwind of rumors and theories, everything from haunting to demonic activities, to mutated animals. While I've never seen any spirits and have for sure never seen any two headed deer, there is a bit of mystery surrounding this place. But the real question is, what exactly is Dawson Forest? For starters, Dawson Forest is a 10,130-acre public-use forest located in Dawson County, Georgia. It is owned by the city of Atlanta, but is considered a state forest, as it is managed by the Georgia Forestry Commission.

    It's only been that way since 1971 though, when it was purchased from Lockheed. The original use? A nuclear aircraft laboratory, also known as Air Force Plant 67 (AFP67). It was used to investigate the feasibility of a nuclear powered aircraft. The site was used to irradiate military equipment as well as the surrounding forest to try to study the effects of a possible nuclear war on the environment and the wildlife. What went on here is highly classified, and almost no documentation of it exist, and they took many precautions to make sure that any future adventurers weren't able to enter the remains. They went as far as burying some buildings entrances, and blocking off roads that went to certain places, however most remains are still very easy to find. I decided to take my day off work and climb in the WK2 and go explore.

    This is the main road that enters AFP67. This road runs adjacent to a few concrete slabs that took some research to figure out what was there.
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    Off to one side is what is believed to be a hanger where they disassembled planes and other equipment to prepare them for testing. This theory is heavily fortified because in the concrete slab are obvious mounts for what look to be very heavy duty lifting systems, as well as some remaining hookup points for what could be an air compressor or other tool system. Also there is the obvious remains of a loading platform and steps into the building, as well as the remains of the exterior wall foundation.
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    On the other side is what is believed to be a garage where military vehicles were stored. This theory is further reinforced by obvious entry ramps.
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    Further behind the supposed storage building is another structure. And this one has me scratching my head. There's a very steep ramp on one side, but on the other side there are stairs that would have gone to an entry, with a few very obvious tracks where it appears sliding partitions were mounted. On the other side there appears to be some cut out for another loading dock type of contraption. What's more puzzling is the fact that there was an exposed gas or water line. Makes you wonder what this structure was used for, especially since I've been able to find zero information about it. What's even more strange is on one of the outside walls there seems to be a window, or some kind of vent. It's not a result of vandals because it's too perfectly square. It's something that was built into the structure.
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    The metal tracks that appear to be for sliding partitions
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    Further back, it was obvious that the state didn't want people exploring too close these buildings. Mostly because they were surrounded by two layers of barbed wire fence, and had multiple signs warning you to keep out. These next few buildings are super interesting though.
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    First off, there's an underground bunker. When you're dealing with radiation and a nuclear reactor, the threat of a meltdown is real. This was designed to be a place for the people working here to flee to in the event that an explosion or radiation leak was imminent. I find it ironic that it has windows, because that kind of defeats the purpose.
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    The building directly behind it is the actual laboratory. Because they were dealing with nuclear substance here, there are absolutely zero windows on it. I couldn't get close to it to get any good pictures but I was able to stick my camera through the fence most places and get the best I could. Most of this lab is underground, and it extends about 10 stories beneath the surface. And shockingly it extends almost a mile in diameter, but more on that later.
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  2. #2
    Troncalli Jeep Representative longarmwj's Avatar
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    One of the old doors and one of the old bay doors to move equipment and parts in
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    Now obviously when you have a reactor, you need a way to cool it. So they made a dam on Shoal Creek to build a cooling pond to feed water at will through a series up underground pumps. This is the observation platform they built that's been converted to a duck blind.
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    The water level is kept super low so you can see one of the water intake lines converted into a bird house, as well as the remains of an old antennae used for guiding planes in to land
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    Now, time to find the base of the reactor itself. This is the main road, and it was the road used to transport the planes from the landing strip, to the rumored hanger for testing.
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    Found a dirt path that I had never been down that was opened up. So I decided to explore. It was pretty narrow and actually had me lifting tires once. But it led to Shoal Creek which was used to feed the retention pond.
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    Back onto the main road. I got to the end where I found the remains of the control room as well as the reactor. Also I found the exterior wall of the underground lab, which has had a massive hole punched in the side.
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    Now I could have very easily squeezed through this hole and gone inside, and there was actually a ladder that went down into the lab! However I wasn't sure of the condition of the structure below ground and figured it was in my best interest not to enter. Also next to this is where the landing strip used to exist. It was demolished and turned into a food plot for deer and other wildlife.
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    Where the air strip used to be.
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    Last but not least, the base of the reactor.
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    A few old vent tubes
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    Hope you enjoyed my little adventure. It's not quite as cool as some of the stuff Eddie finds in his neck of the woods, but it's for sure a hidden treasure tucked away in North Georgia in the least suspecting place. It was nice to take a day off work and enjoy my Jeep and the great outdoors. After all, that's what the Jeep Wayalife is all about!


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    Nothing but a Thing black pearl's Avatar
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    That was great what a amazing way to spend a day thanks for sharing


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    Token East Coast Guy MR.Ty's Avatar
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    Awesome write up and photos! Thanks for sharing!
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    Meme King WJCO's Avatar
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    Looks like fun exploring.

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    Nothing but a Thing NecessaryEvil's Avatar
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    I love stuff like this! I really would have wanted to go past the fencing!! Looks interesting.


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    Old Timer AllAmericanInfidel's Avatar
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    Awesome adventure and pics! Thanks for sharing. It's this kind of exploring type adventures that got my wife and I away from high horsepower pre runners and in to Jeeps to begin with. I wish I would have known about Dawson when I was living in SC.


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    Troncalli Jeep Representative longarmwj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NecessaryEvil View Post
    I love stuff like this! I really would have wanted to go past the fencing!! Looks interesting.


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    Plenty of people over the years have cut through the fence and gone back there. Somewhere floating around YouTube is a video of somebody actually in the laboratory but a lot of it was flooded if I remember correctly.

    There was one road I wanted to go down that was closed off. It goes through Shoal Creek itself and I'm suspecting that due to last nights heavy rain they had it closed because they deemed it too deep to pass. However off of that road are a few remaining auxiliary water pumps and the site where they started digging to build a second reactor. I'll have to go back up there sometime soon and see if the road is opened and add those pictures.


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    Nothing but a Thing NecessaryEvil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by longarmwj View Post
    Plenty of people over the years have cut through the fence and gone back there. Somewhere floating around YouTube is a video of somebody actually in the laboratory but a lot of it was flooded if I remember correctly.

    There was one road I wanted to go down that was closed off. It goes through Shoal Creek itself and I'm suspecting that due to last nights heavy rain they had it closed because they deemed it too deep to pass. However off of that road are a few remaining auxiliary water pumps and the site where they started digging to build a second reactor. I'll have to go back up there sometime soon and see if the road is opened and add those pictures.


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    I will have to look for the videos. This place sounds really cool to visit in person. Please post more photos when you revisit the place.


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