Val Perry’s soul may have departed this Earth at the end of January, but his legacy lives on at LLA.

Val served on the LLA Board of Directors from 1999 to 2016, first as Executive Vice-President under our Founder, Jackie Joseph, and later as President. He was the face and voice of the organization for most of that time and fulfilled his role eminently.

Val came to LLA from a career with IBM and Equifax, training grounds that served him well in his executive role at LLA. He directed the policies and practices of the organization, some controversial but all prescient.

Under Val’s leadership, LLA formulated its mission to keep Lanier clean, full, and safe, the same mission it fulfills today. It was the programs that were created under his watch that make up most of the day-to-day work of the Association today: Adopt-A-Lake, Shore Sweep, Solar Lights, Abandoned and Derelict Docks & Vessels, and Erosion & Sedimentation.



Clean Lake

We’re all familiar with Adopt-A-Lake, Shore Sweep, Abandoned and Derelict Docks & Vessels, and Erosion & Sedimentation, but it was Val’s epic decision in 2000 to challenge EPD’s application of the state’s anti-degradation rule in court that first put LLA on the map. The Association opposed EPD’s interpretation of the rule allowing higher effluent levels of treated wastewater to be discharged into Lake Lanier. The Association won that case after a protracted battle that ended in the Georgia Supreme Court. And although the Department of Natural Resources subsequently modified the rule to get around the Supreme Court’s decision, Val responded by soliciting voluntary compliance by all the counties surrounding the lake with a lower limit than the new rule would allow. The result was a resounding victory for all recreational users of the lake.

Full Lake

Soon after solidifying that victory, Val had the temerity to join the State of Georgia, the Atlanta Regional Commission, Gwinnett County, Hall Country, Forsyth County, the City of Gainesville, and other governmental entities in seven federal lawsuits that comprised what became known euphemistically as the Water Wars between Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. LLA was the only private, non-commercial party to the suit and punched above its weight in representing the interests of not only LLA members but everyone who uses Lake Lanier for recreation. Initially viewed by the “big players” as a trivial matter, it was through LLA’s dogged determination that the Corps of Engineers, our southern neighbors, and the federal courts came to realize just how important Lake Lanier’s recreational economy is to North Georgia. And as everybody now knows, we won.

Safe Lake

But litigation was just a means to an end for Val. Everyone who has been saved by LLA’s solar lights from a nighttime collision with a water hazard has benefited from the Solar Lights initiative, which Val started. And it was LLA’s commitment to safety that led to the creation of our Life Jacket Loaner Stations initiative and our campaign to remind everyone about the “100-Foot Rule.”

It would not be an overstatement to say that without Val, the Association would not be the well-respected and influential Lake Lanier steward it is today. It takes a leader to guide a nascent organization to greater achievements, and Val was that leader for LLA for many years. He will be greatly missed, but his work endures as a tribute to his unique and capable leadership of this organization.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lake Lanier Association in Val Perry’s honor. To give online, please visit www.lakelanier.org/donate/. Checks can be sent to the LLA Office at 821 Dawsonville Hwy, Suite 110, Gainesville, GA 30501. Please include Val Perry in the memo line. We will honor and remember him as we continue our efforts toward a Clean, Full & Safe Lake Lanier.

If you’d like to learn more about Val Perry, click here to read his obituary.


Photo Right: Val Perry with founder of the Lake Lanier Association, Jackie Joseph.