A group of Covington and Porterdale residents are working to turn the Yellow River into a destination for fans of boating, canoeing and kayaking, and they plan to move quickly.
The Yellow River Preservation and Conservation group was officially formed Wednesday night in Porterdale in the presence of a group of enthusiasts and local officials.
Elected Chairman Lamar Brown will approach the Porterdale City Council at its next meeting to ask for permission for two entry/exit points to be installed on the river, so people can easily and safely access the river. The proposed points would be under the Main Street bridge and at the Yellow River Park.
Members elected to go with a short span to begin with so that families and residents of all skills levels would be able to enjoy the river without having to go on a multi-mile trek.
The idea is being driven by Covington resident Kimberly Brown who sees the creation of a "blue trail" as a positive step for Porterdale and the county's development.
Her husband Lamar said the Yellow River is a good recreational river because it's slow moving, has been cleaned up considerably over the years and has a nice sandy bottom. He said efforts by the environmental authorities to curb pollution have returned the river to a healthy state.
Many people already canoe and kayak on the river, but established entry/exit points would improve access for all.
Volunteers have already been cleaning up debris and trash in and along the river and will continue those efforts.
"The cool thing about a blue trail is that it's already there; you don't have to build a concrete trail," said group member and water enthusiast Fred Franklin.
The group hopes to eventually expand the trail north to the Almon community, north of Almon Road. County Commissioner Nancy Schulz said residents there have expressed a desire to see the river used for recreation, but the river would have to be dredged before that would be realistic.
As far as the entry/exit points, the group will seek funding and assistance from various groups including Athens-based Georgia River Network. Lamar said the group will also work with the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce to seek out lumber donations, and its possible members could build and install the points themselves.
The Yellow River Preservation group itself is underneath the Newton Trails umbrella so that it can take advantage of Newton Trails 501(c)(3) status.
Several Porterdale council members in attendance expressed support for the group.
To learn more visit the group on Facebook at facebook.com/Yellow.River.Preservation; the group is planning to meet again at 6 p.m. Sept. 28 at a location to be determined.