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Go Coastal with Altamaha Riverkeeper for a Paddle on Cathead Creek in Darien! May 11th…

dannyPaddle through Pierce Butler’s old abandoned rice fields and a tidal forest – teaming with wildlife. You will encounter old growth cypress, tupelo, and wildflowers.

Guide extraordinaire, Danny Grissette, with Altamaha Coastal Tours will lead the paddle on Saturday, May 11.

The adventure begins at 10 am at Skipper’s Fish Camp Restaurant parking lot – just off Hwy 17.  Danny will give a short kayaking lesson before the leisurely 2 ½ hour paddle.

The trip, suitable for beginners and children, is offered at a special price of $35 per person. Space is limited. Call Constance at (912) 437-8164 asap or email: cor@altamahariverkeeper.org to reserve your space, a tandem or single kayak, canoe, or bring your own.

After the paddle, (approximately 1:00-1:30), Skipper’s has reserved the Oyster Bar deck overlooking the river for our lunch (Dutch Treat). We look forward to having you join us; it’s a chance to meet some new friends, trade paddle stories, and find out what ARK is doing to protect our rivers.

Help Support Altamaha Riverkeeper’s work with a donation today.  Please donate at http://www.altamahariverkeeper.org

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Paddle Georgia Logo No Date A Project of Georgia River Network

Paddle Georgia 2013 on the Lower Flint!
                               REGISTER HERE!!!
Paddle Georgia Friends,heartWe know how much you LOVE Georgia’s rivers and Paddle Georgia, and to celebrate that LOVE, we thought it would be appropriate on Valentine’s Day to let you know that Paddle Georgia 2013 registration is now OPEN! dsc_0467If you haven’t heard the news yet – Paddle Georgia 2013 will take place on the lower Flint River – from Warwick to Bainbridge – June 15-21, 2013. Read Joe’s most recent blog post for all the details. It’s going to be another GREAT trip, and it’s going to be a hot ticket.Registration will be open until all the spaces are filled. There will be 350 spaces available for thru-paddlers this year. Last year, we sold out in just two weeks – so please register before we sell out.

 
Watch our Fun Lovin’ Paddle Georgia 2013 Registration Video:
http://youtu.be/hZcqVIB1v-w

ImageWe will also have a limited number of Paddle Georgia Lite 2013 spaces that will be available by invitation only to our supporters, special guests, and by lottery. Paddle Georgia Lite is our abbreviated trip for just the first two days of Paddle Georgia – June 15-16. If you would like to be considered for a Paddle Georgia Lite invitation this year please fill out the request form at this link by April 1, 2013 and we’ll put you in the pool. Invitations will be extended by April 12.

AND, A VERY EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT! Canoe-A-Thon 2013 participants will be eligible for a very special reward for helping us accomplish two important goals of Paddle Georgia – introducing more people to our beautiful rivers and raising more money to protect these precious resources. Canoe-A-Thon 2013 participants who raise at least $200 will be GUARANTEED A SPOT ON PADDLE GEORGIA 2014* by being eligible to register during a special PRIORITY REGISTRATION period before regular open registration begins in Feb. 2014 for Paddle Georgia 2014 – our 10 Year Anniversary Trip and return to the Chattahoochee River where it all began. To learn more about Canoe-A-Thon and sign up for Canoe-A-Thon 2013 go to: http://www.garivers.org/paddle_georgia/pgcanoeathon.html. *Be sure to click here and read all the specific rules and policies for Paddle Georgia 2014 Priority Registration. As always, there will be additional fabulous prizes for our top fundraisers.

Finally, please consider making a special gift to Georgia River Network to support the tradition of enjoying and protecting our rivers in 2013. It’s easy to do by just clicking this link.

We look forward to seeing you on the Flint in June!

The Paddle Georgia/Georgia River Network Team

2013 Sponsors to Date – Georgia Power; Hennessy Land Rover Centres; Patagonia; Oglethorpe Power Corporation; StreamTechs; Cedar Creek RV and Outdoor Center; Cellairis ; Len Foote Hike Inn; Chambliss, Sheppard, Roland & Baxter LLP; China Clay Producers Association; Sea to Summit; The Outside World

2013 Partners to Date – Georgia Canoe Association, Flint Riverkeeper, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, Project Wet

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Georgia River Network
126 South Milledge Ave. Suite E3, Athens, GA 30605
706-549-4508
http://www.garivers.org
Become a Member Today – Join

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The sport of kayaking is an excellent form of exercise!

The disciplines it develops are strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. A great cardiovascular workout, which can aid in strengthening the heart and increasing blood flow, it also can help keep the body tone and fit while enjoying nature and the great outdoors.

Check out this Kayak calorie burning estimation tool…

http://www.everydayhealth.com/food-fitness/calories-burned-paddling

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Tom BemanTom Beman, one of Georgia River Network’s leadership donors, recently told us that he supports GRN because “If we don’t protect our rivers from pollution, damming, and just the destruction of the rivers, we are going to lose them.  It is my belief that the quality of the water in the river and the quality of the land surrounding the river is an indicator of the condition of society around them.”  We are grateful to Tom and all of our donors who not only help us financially but who passionately believe that it is our duty to protect and restore the rivers of Georgia.One of the ways that GRN accomplishes this mission is through our annual Weekend for Rivers conference. Last year, 130 folks joined us at the Chattahoochee Nature Center to hear the stories that derived from their personal engagement with our rivers. These stories provide history, education, and inspiration for all of those who care about Georgia’s waterways.  We learned how to remove tires from a river; we heard a beautiful story about the power of Mother Nature and one person’s connection Ocmulgee River and an interesting tale about how rivers and politics can make strange bedfellows; and we were educated about the new National Water Trails designation for the Chattahoochee.Together, we are having a positive impact on the future of Georgia’s rivers, and we cannot thank you enough.

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Daniela Di Iorio, husband Donald Newman and sons Evan and Marco of Athens, shown here on the Coosawattee River, will explore the Altamaha with hundreds of others on this year's week-long Paddle Georgia kayak and canoe trip.

By Lee Shearer

Daniela Di Iorio, husband Donald Newman and sons Evan and Marco of Athens, shown here on the Coosawattee River, will explore the Altamaha with hundreds of others on this year’s week-long Paddle Georgia kayak and canoe trip.

published Saturday, June 9, 2012

Some people call the Altamaha River “Georgia’s little Amazon,” but not Dorinda Dallmeyer.

“I turn that phrase on its head and say ‘No, the Amazon is Brazil’s Altamaha,’” said Dallmeyer, director of the environmental ethics program at the University of Georgia. “People need to appreciate that the river is unique, that it is a national treasure.”

The big Altamaha is the longest free-flowing river system remaining in the eastern United States. Named one of the 75 “Last Great Places on Earth” by the Nature Conservancy, the Altamaha is home to a profusion of wildlife — hundreds of kinds of rare plants and animals, including some that grow nowhere else on Earth.

About 350 people, including several Athenians, will get a firsthand look at the ibises, alligators and other creatures that call the Altamaha home on the upcoming eighth annual Paddle Georgia, a project of the Georgia River Network. Paddle Georgia is a week-long caravan of kayaks and canoes that this year will travel down 105 miles of the Altamaha, from Reidsville to Darien. This year’s trek begins Saturday and continues through June 22.

“It’s a great family vacation and a great way to stay cool in the hot summer,” said Daniela Di Iorio, who will make the trip with husband Donald Newman and sons Evan, 14, and Marco, 12. Di Iorio and her family have become regulars on Paddle Georgia, which chooses a different Georgia river each year.

But Di Iorio has a special interest in this year’s river trip. An oceanographer, she’s part of a University of Georgia-based research team conducting long-term research on the Georgia coast where the Altamaha pours into the ocean, nourishing salt marshes and fisheries.

Like many who know the Altamaha, Di Iorio is worried for the river’s future. Big and wild as it is, the Altamaha is dying by degrees, say some of the people who know it best. It’s being killed, they say, by a constant and growing barrage of large and small environmental wounds, many inflicted by folks far upstream, including Athenians who use water from the Oconee River system that feeds into the Altamaha.

“We can’t continue the way we’re going,” said former Altamaha Riverkeeper James Holland, who’s kept a close eye on the river for decades, first as a crab fisherman, later as the Riverkeeper, and more recently as a photographer documenting the mighty river. The University of Georgia Press this month published a book of his photographs, “The Altamaha: A River and its Keeper,” with essays by Dallmeyer and noted environmental writer Janisse Ray.

Big factories like the ITT Rayonier pulp mill in Wayne County pour wastewater into the river; in Appling County, the Plant Hatch nuclear plant sucks out 60 million gallons a day to generate electricity, and only half goes back in the river.

Upstream, cities like Athens draw millions of gallons out of rivers feeding the Altamaha, returning some of it as treated wastewater which still contains pollutants. Runoff from construction silts the river, along with pesticides from farms.

But those are just some of the wounds we inflict on the river, Holland says.

Large numbers of impoundments, from Jackson County farm ponds to Lake Oconee, hold back the waters that feed the Altamaha, reducing its flow. Add in a record drought year like this one, and the toll on wildlife grows from big to enormous. With less water that is more polluted, fewer fish can survive, and as the fish decline, so do the birds and other creatures that eat the fish.

The Altamaha River’s flow this spring has been lower than ever recorded during the 80 years the U.S. Geological Survey has been collecting data at a gauge in Doctortown, in south Georgia’s Wayne County. As the flow of fresh water ebbs, salt water is pushing farther upstream, Di Iorio said, threatening ancient forests that grow around the river — and even in it, in some places.

Meanwhile, invasive fish species like the flathead catfish are changing the stream’s ecological balance by displacing or even eating other fish species — though some native fish, including shad and sturgeon, may be increasing in number after long declines, said Bert Deener, a DNR regional fisheries supervisor in Waycross.

With all the big river has endured, it still teems with life, Deener said.

“This time of year there’s nothing like going on the Altamaha and getting a shady area and fishing for river bass,” he said. “There’s something special about it.”

 

http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2012-06-09/paddle-georgia-explore-altamaha-river

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Water sport fans heading to river for weeklong trip

Updated: 6/6/2012 10:50 AM By CHRIS WALSH – Staff writer 11

Paddle Georgia 2012 is a week-long 105-mile kayak/canoe trip. This year’s event will be taking place on Georgia’s “Little Amazon” from Baxley to Darien and will be the first to end near the coast. Cofer has been on the trip nearly since the beginning, not long after the retired surgeon took up kayaking as a hobby. “I was settling in one of my children in Gainesville and, after getting done, we rented canoes to go down the river, and we enjoyed it so much we went rafting the next day, too,” Cofer recalled. “After, I’m driving home and thinking, you know, I can do this paddle stuff.” Paddle Georgia is a project of the Georgia River Network, fashioned after the annual bicycle ride across Georgia.

The trip is not just an annual fundraiser; it’s an educational adventure that takes people from all over through Georgia’s Coastal Plain beauty. For Tom, it’s also a chance to reconnect with his family. His daughter has joined him the last two years, and his niece is coming up from Savannah to join him this year. “It’s a great deal, and it’s so much fun,” Cofer said. “It’s an idea the Georgia River Keepers came up with because they’re concerned with the use of water. It’s really fun and educational.” In meeting with Tom at his former office turned home, we glanced over the map and started to plot out my itinerary. There are a slew of rivers in the Peach State and Cofer and GRN have tackled many of them. I’ve been on the Chattahoochee a couple times. According to the event’s release, “In the event’s first seven years, organizers have guided more than 2,100 paddlers down more than 700 miles of Georgia rivers, including trips on the Chattahoochee, Etowah, Ocmulgee, Flint, Coosawattee, Oostanaula, Broad, Savannah and Oconee rivers.

The trips have generated more than $120,000 for river protection in Georgia.” Along with hitting the water, the trip includes educational programs on the river’s cultural and natural history, tours of facilities and historic sites located along the river, nightly games and entertainment and even a research program in which participants will help collect chemical and biological data to give a snapshot of the current health of the rivers. Regretfully, we won’t be camping on the river banks. I won’t be eating MRE’s for a week either. Each night, the 300 or so paddling enthusiasts set up shop at a local high school, usually on the abandoned football field. The local townsfolk are always more than happy to help too, Tom said. They’ve catered dinners, provided buses to and from the river and even held celebrations at the journey’s final stop. Once, when the trip ended in Dublin, the locals put on a small Redneck Games – a tradition in the mid-Georgia town.

Tom has provided me with the equipment needed for the trip – helmet, life vest, kayak and paddle. I’ve done my share of water sports, but don’t think I haven’t done a couple sets of rows at the gym lately either. While Tom and most of the group will be making the entire trip, I regretfully will only be joining for a couple of days. But that won’t stop me from having fun and learning, like Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Down on the River.”

LINKS: www.garivers.org/paddle_georgia

Paddle Georgia on Facebook Read more: Water sport fans heading to river for weeklong trip

Aiken Standard Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

http://www.aikenstandard.com/story/0603-WalshPaddleTrip–4038069

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“Altamaha: A River and Its Keeper” is now available from the University of Georgia Press, just in time for Paddle Georgia! ARK will have it for sale at the River’s End celebration in Darien. A portion of the proceeds from all sales of the book go to support ARK.ImageImage

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