Archive for April, 2017

Six Word Story Time!

Six Word Story Time! Playing with the popular six word novel idea, we are collecting six word stories about rivers. Post your 6 word story in the comment section on Georgia River Network’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/georgiarivernetwork This Week’s Six Word Story Stream Theme: “riverbank”

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Recently, I received a book–The Emerald Mile–from Paddle Georgia alumnus Bob Selwyn. Some of you may remember Bob as our intrepid videographer the first several years of Paddle Georgia.

The book tells the story of the Colorado River, and of course, about the journey of John Wesley Powell and his ragtag band of men who inexplicably embarked on a three-month journey in the summer of 1869 down one of the wildest rivers in the country and through some of the harshest terrain in the country. No one had ever attempted such an audacious endeavor. In fact, no one had ever even mapped the Colorado. They journeyed into the literal unknown. Yet, they made it, running more than 400 rapids (in wooden boats ill-suited for such an endeavor) and lining their boats through a hundred more obstacles.

Their bravery and foolishness brought to mind one of my favorite sound bites from the pen of Mark Twain: “All you need in life is ignorance and confidence and success is sure.”

In 2005, when Georgia River Network embarked on the first Paddle Georgia adventure on the Chattahoochee, we were, in a word, clueless. We had what we thought was a good idea, but we were mostly ignorant as to the best way to implement it. Like Powell and his men, we blundered through…and still do to a large extent.

But, our return to the Etowah this year (we first ventured on the Etowah in 2006) is a reminder of why we do Paddle Georgia and what the Paddle Georgia community has accomplished.


On Paddle Georgia 2006, this was a typical take out on the Etowah River.

In 2006, by necessity, our Etowah journey featured some creative launch sites. Doc Stephens constructed a temporary wooden ramp to shoot boats in and out of the water at a steeply-sloped Old Federal Road site. Paddlers scrambled up the same steep slope with the help of a rope. Along our entire 100-mile route, we used just four developed public access points.

This year we will have access to 13 developed public access points. As of this writing, new boat launches are under construction in Forsyth and Bartow counties. Both are expected to be open by June.

Watch a youtube video about the Etowah River Water Trail: https://youtu.be/FFX5l84NyLo

How did this happen?


This year’s Paddle Georgia journey on the Etowah will utilize several launch sites that look like this.

Many things coalesced. A study conducted by University of Georgia graduate students touted the benefits of establishing a water trail on the Etowah. Local governments became interested in the concept, seeing these boating trails as a low cost alternative to provide recreational amenities for residents and attract visitors. Georgia River Network initiated a long-term effort to promote water trails across the state, and non-profits like the Coosa River Basin Initiative and Upper Etowah River Alliance became involved in coordinating the efforts of multiple local governments. Private foundations like the Lyndhurst Foundation provided funds to create an online guide to the river (www.etowahwatertrail.org). Since that first journey on the Etowah, CRBI has secured more than $50,000 to develop and promote the trail. Local governments have invested millions in securing property along the river and developing launch sites. This past legislative session, Georgia River Network was successful in having a resolution in support of water trails adopted by the House of Representatives. This marks the first time in state history that our legislative leaders have taken action to even acknowledge water trails.

Radioactive Rapid

Shooting Radioactive Rapid on the Etowah in Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area.

The Paddle Georgia Navy’s role in this movement cannot be overlooked. Simply by your sheer numbers you have opened local leaders eyes to the possibilities of our rivers as economic development drivers. Because of your participation–and your activism–new water trails have been developed–or are being developed–all over the state. Look no further than Paddle Georgia alumnus Tonya Bechtler who has been instrumental in establishing the Yellow River Water Trail–a path that is helping transform old mill towns like Porterdale in Newton County.

What’s happened on the Etowah and our state’s other rivers over the past decade is truly remarkable. So, when you venture on the Etowah this summer during Paddle Georgia and make use of the shiny new public facilities, stand tall with pride. Through your participation, your persistent paddling of Georgia’s rivers, your continued support of Georgia River Network and countless local river protection groups, this is a water trail you built.

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Are you Canoe-a-thoning yet? If not, get busy. Georgia River Network‘s Paddle Georgia 2017 on the Etowah River is right around the corner! Already, we’ve raised more than $2000, but we’re shooting for more than $30,000!

Thanks to generous support from Outside World Outfitters in Dawsonville, the top prize in this year’s Canoe-a-thon is a Jackson Tupelo kayak valued at $900. Additional prizes will be announced as we secure them.

Get started by setting up your fundraising page TODAY!


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It’s WATER TRAIL WEDNESDAY! Time for Georgia River Network’s Water Trail Tidbit of the Week ~ Do YOU want to start a water trail? Trails can provide recreation opportunities, assist in nature protection and wildlife conservation efforts, contribute to the health of your community and help drive economic growth. Here is a checklist on how to start a water trail! http://garivers.org/files/Newtrailchecklist.pdf

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It’s TIP TOP TUESDAY! Time for Georgia River Network’s Tip of Week~ Do YOU know how to read the water when paddling? Even the calmest river can have its own unique hazards. Hazards can be natural OR manmade. Check out this article so you know how to spot a hazard! https://paddling.com/learn/river-hazards/typical-river-hazards


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Paddle Georgia Canoe-a-thon

Why should you support the Paddle Georgia Canoe-a-thon this year? Because Georgia River Network is hard at work protecting the rivers you love to paddle, and every dollar you raise will help secure victories for Georgia rivers like…

During the recently completed Georgia General Assembly session, GRN was active in securing protections for property owners and our water through the passage of a bill addressing the threat of petroleum pipelines.

Learn more and set up your online fundraising page at:


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Are you Canoe-a-thoning yet?

Are you Canoe-a-thoning yet? If not, get busy.
By participating in the Canoe-A-Thon, you can help Georgia River Networkaccomplish two important goals of Paddle Georgia–introducing more people to our beautiful rivers and raising more money to protect these precious resources.

We know you can do it, because you’ve done it before. So fire up that social media network, scroll through your contacts on your phone and start soliciting donations to your Canoe-a-thon campaign!

We are depending on you!

Set up your online fundraising page at:


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