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Local residents set to Paddle Georgia
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Covington residents Tonya and Taylor Bechtler, Kelly Harbac and Carol Winters are set to paddle 82 miles this summer as part of Georgia River Network’s Paddle Georgia 2010 on Northeast Georgia’s Broad and Savannah rivers.

The annual canoe and kayak adventure brings together more than 300 people each year from across the Southeast and the country for a week-long journey. This year, paddlers launch from Franklin Springs on June 19 and complete their trip June 25 in downtown Augusta.

Fashioned after the annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia, Paddle Georgia is more than just a canoe and kayak trip. The event will include educational programs on the rivers’ 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 Broad and Savannah.

In the past, paddlers participating in the trip have ranged in age from 4 to 74 and family groups are common.

“We’ve had people come on this trip that have never paddled before and now they are life-long paddlers,” said Joe Cook, coordinator of the event. “This is an adventure that changes peoples’ lives.”

The trip also serves as a fundraiser for Georgia River Network and local watershed groups, including the Broad River Watershed Association and Savannah Riverkeeper.

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. For more information, visit