Jarrell Plantation has survived Civil War raids, typhoid fever epidemics and the boll weevil.

But can it survive the budget cuts of Gov. Sonny Perdue (R)?

This 1847 plantation in Jones County was once home to hundreds of acres of cotton fields. Now it is a quiet, out-of-the-way state park where visitors can learn to pick cotton and okra or make cane syrup.

The plantation is one of 63 state parks, historic sites and golf courses in danger of being closed because of state budget cuts.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which operates the parks, has said it may have to close some of them if the agency has to cut any more from its budget.

The state legislature ultimately decides how much money state agencies get, but the governor sets the guidelines for what agencies should expect. For the next fiscal year, Perdue has warned agencies that they may have to cut an additional 3 percent, after at least three years of belt-tightening.

"We can't achieve that amount without closing parks," said Becky Kelley, director of the agency's Division of Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites.

The agency has not said which parks and historic sites would be closed first, though almost all lose money.

Jarrell Plantation gets 11,000 or so visitors a year, and that makes it one of the more popular historic sites. Many weekdays, visitors get a one-on-one tour with a guide who can demonstrate how to pull water from a well or cook on a wood stove.

The plantation lost $134,006 in fiscal 2003, the most recent year for which figures are available.

Parks officials insist the sites are not intended to make money and should be kept open.

"So much would be lost if this place had to close," said Brenda Banks, interpretive program specialist at Jarrell Plantation. "Where else can you come and see exactly how they lived on a middle Georgia plantation?"

Banks shows visitors the hard life on a 19th-century plantation. Visitors are shocked to find that very few plantations were the julep-sippin' manses popularized by "Gone With the Wind." This plantation, more typical of the era, consists of a tiny wood-hewn home that housed more than a dozen people. The Jarrell family grew its own food, salted meats and cooked syrup in huge iron pots.

"It would be a real shame if these historic sites had to close," Banks said.

Parks supporters also argue that the sites are a boon to local economies. At the Whistlestop Cafe in Juliette, waitresses said Jarrell Plantation visitors make up a good chunk of business.

"We'd be real down if it wasn't for Jarrell Plantation," said Kristen Murray, who serves up the cafe's famous fried green tomatoes to tour groups coming from the historic site. "That's where all our groups come from."

In Toccoa, home to state's least-visited park or historic site, Travelers Rest Historic Home, Chamber of Commerce President Cynthia Brown calls the home an invaluable contributor to the community.

"It is part of that engine that brings people to a community," Brown said. "It teaches community pride and respect for our history."

If state parks and historic sites are so popular with the public and businesses, why would the state consider shuttering them? Some lawmakers say that popularity itself is the reason.

It is a time-honored practice at the Capitol for state agencies to propose eliminating their most visible programs when budget cuts are planned. The thinking is that state lawmakers will fight to save an agency if they think the cuts will be noticed back home.

One long-serving budget writer, Rep. Gerald Greene, said he doubts any parks will close.

"You always put the things that are most popular out on the chopping block. That gets people talking and gets legislators real, real nervous," said Greene, a Democrat from Cuthbert.

Greene's southwest Georgia district includes a state park that lost more money last year than any other. George T. Bagby State Park lost $503,973 in 2003, despite attracting 200,000 visitors.

Kelley insists the park closures are no empty threat. They have already cut every non-essential expense, she said.

"We're looking at all options," she said. "All of our parks and historic sites are precious treasures to the state."

Kelley said every attempt would be made to cut hours, not shut down a park, and that even if parks were closed to the public, they would be preserved by state workers.

"We are not in the business of selling off our history," she said.