GEORGIA - This Saturday more than 250 people will embark on a seven-day,
86-mile adventure on the Yellow and Ocmulgee rivers as part of Georgia River
Network’s Paddle Georgia 2018.
Regarded as the country’s largest week-long canoe/kayak camping journey, the event will take participants from Stone Mountain to Macon, with stops near Conyers, Porterdale, Jackson, Monticello and Forsyth.
Paddlers, ranging in age from 2 to 82 and hailing from nine different states (and even Australia) will participate.
On the river by day, at night, the participants will camp at nearby facilities. The group will tent at Yellow River Park in Porterdale from June 15-19 as they explore the Yellow River through Gwinnett, DeKalb, Rockdale and Newton counties; and then move downstream for three nights at Danridge Farms near Monticello as they journey down the Ocmulgee through Jasper, Butts, Monroe, Jones and Bibb counties.
The event 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 with the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream program to give a snapshot of the rivers’ current health.
The trip culminates June 22 with a Journey’s End celebration and feast at Amerson Park in Macon hosted by Altamaha Riverkeeper. Members of the community are invited to attend the event, which includes a traditional low country boil. The celebration is from Noon to 6 p.m., with a midday meal served at 3:30 p.m. Tickets for the meal ($16) are available at https://squareup.com/store/georgia-river-network/item/end-of-trip-feast
On Sunday, June 17, the City of Porterdale, Nomadic Flow Outfitters and volunteers with the Yellow River Water Trail will host a downtown street party from 6-9 p.m. at the historic Porterdale Gymnasium. The free festival will feature food vendors, canoe and kayak demo rides and canoe tug-o-wars in a massive portable pool provided by Cedar Creek Park & Outdoor Center and live music from Scarlett Stitch. Four-person co-ed tug-o-war teams can register at the event for $20 each. Proceeds from the tug-o-war benefit the Yellow River Water Trail.
This is the 14th anniversary for Paddle Georgia. In the event’s first 13 years, GRN has introduced more than 4,500 paddlers to water trails on 13 Georgia rivers. Along the way the event has generated more than $400,000 for river protection. Altamaha Riverkeeper, Yellow River Water Trail and Ocmulgee River Water Trail will be the local groups benefitting from this year’s event.
Many participants will be embarking on their 14th Paddle Georgia, meaning they have journeyed more than 1,300 miles on Georgia rivers.
Both the Yellow and Ocmulgee rivers are home to emerging water trails, and event organizers hope to highlight the efforts of locals working to improve access to these rivers and promote them as amenities for local residents and visitors to the area.
“Both the Yellow and Ocmulgee are often overlooked as boating destinations,” Joe Cook, Paddle Georgia coordinator, said. “But, both rivers are actually home to some great paddling and both are within an easy drive of metro Atlanta. As these trails are developed, local communities are realizing the economic development potential of river recreation.”
Information for the media, including a daily itinerary, directions to campsites, launch sites, and take-out sites can be found on the Paddle Georgia website: www.garivers.org/paddle_georgia
Sponsors of the event include Hennessy Land Rover Centres; Cedar Creek RV and Outdoor Center; Nomadic Flow Outfitters; Cary Baxter, CPA; CYA Agency, Inc.; Oglethorpe Power; StreamTechs; Terry Pate, PC, CPA; China Clay Producers Association; Georgia Mining Association; Storm Water Systems; The Rain Barrel Depot; Patagonia; EarthShare of Georgia; Len Foote Hike Inn; and Friends of Georgia State Parks. Partners include American Canoe Association, Café Campesino, Altamaha Riverkeeper, Yellow River Water Trail, Ocmulgee River Water Trail, Georgia Canoe Association, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream and Project WET.
Georgia River Network is a non-profit 501c3 organization working to ensure a clean water legacy by engaging and empowering Georgians to protect and restore our rivers from the mountains to the coast.