by Amy K. Lavender/The Tallapoosa Journal
A project that has been in the works for two years may finally be coming to fruition, says Tallapoosa Planning Coordinator Patrick Clarey, as the city of Tallapoosa is nearing the end of the requirements it must meet to get the Dub Denman Canoe Trail officially up and running.
According to Clarey, the city has been moving forward with the Georgian Department and Natural Resources on two of the original five proposed sites that would be loading and unloading zones for kayaks and canoes.
Five sites along the Tallapoosa River were originally being considered for trail access points, including two on county property. The other three sites are on private property that will require the landowners’ permission before development.
Starting at the northernmost site in Tallapoosa, the sites include locations just east of U.S. Highway 27 on Garner Road; on East Poplar Springs Road near the old steel bridge; on Georgia Highway 100 near the Haralson County Water Authority Treatment Plant; at the bridge crossing on Broad Street; and Liner Road’s rail road trestle, just west of U.S. Highway 78.
Several months ago, the city applied for their variance that will allow them to disturb the creek bed to build access ramps at two of the proposed locations: the ones at Broad Street and Poplar Springs Road. After getting approval, the city was required to run an advertisement and allow for public comment for 30 days.
“We notified the EPD (Environmental Protection Division) in Atlanta that we’ve completed that, so we’re just waiting on confirmation,” Clarey said.
Clarey is coordinating the implementation of the canoe trail. The project was originally researched by Clarey after Haralson County resident and river enthusiast Dub Denman suggested it to the Tallapoosa City Council. Since then, the council and the Haralson County Board of Commissioners have expressed their support and a grant of $51,150 has been awarded to the county by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to pay for the trail’s access points. The access points are expected to include concrete staircases and wooden canoe launches where needed, as well as gravel parking lots, trash receptacles and signage.
Now, Clarey says several officials and volunteers may soon reap the fruit of their labor as they are only waiting to get the go ahead from DNR and for the river level to drop before beginning construction on the Broad Street and Poplar Springs Road sites.
“The goal is to do it when the river is low,” Clarey said. “We’re anxious to get something started, so we’ll probably start on those two sites between June and August, unless the river dries up a bit before then.”
Clarey said the site located at the Water Authority Treatment Plant will require more planning before getting approval, as a route around the intake valve needs to be established for river tourists. The other two sites are on private property and are still being negotiated with the owners.
However, despite the fact that the canoe trail may only have two access points this year, Clarey said those who put in at these sites can still paddle most of the trail, which is 23.8 miles long along the Tallapoosa River, and then link up with a canoe trail in Alabama and use that state’s access points as well.
Even with partial completion, Clarey says the trail will be a “fantastic recreational activity” for area residents as well as visitors.