Paddle GA 2013 launches on Flint - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Paddle GA 2013 launches on Flint

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Information from Paddle Georgia 2013

More than 350 paddlers will traverse 106 miles of the lower Flint River as part of Paddle Georgia 2013, a week-long canoe/kayak journey organized by Georgia River Network (GRN), June 15-21, 2013.

An annual educational adventure and fundraiser for GRN, a statewide river advocacy group, Paddle Georgia is entering its ninth year. In the event's first eight years, organizers have guided more than 2,400 paddlers down more than 800 miles of Georgia rivers, including trips on the Chattahoochee, Etowah, Ocmulgee, Flint, Coosawattee-Oostanaula, Broad-Savannah, Oconee and Altamaha rivers.

The trips have generated more than $125,000 for river protection in Georgia and have become wildly popular. Last year, the 350 registration spaces available were claimed in just 14 days.

"The event has become a hot ticket so we're encouraging people to make their plans for the summer now," said Joe Cook, Paddle Georgia Coordinator. "This is a unique opportunity to vacation in Georgia and see it in a way you never have before."
 
The 2013 edition will introduce paddlers to southwest Georgia's unique Flint River. Fed by clear, cold springs bubbling up from the Floridan Aquifer, the lower Flint flows 106 beautiful miles from Lake Blackshear Dam near Warwick, through Albany and on to Bainbridge and the backwaters of Lake Seminole. Along the way, paddlers will coast beneath ancient limestone bluffs, cool off in "blue hole" springs and get a chance to see alligators, otters, bald eagles and a host of other wildlife.  

More than just a canoe trip, Paddle Georgia will include 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 river.

Organizers are billing it as an inexpensive, eco-friendly vacation. "For less than $70 a day you get an all inclusive vacation," said Georgia River Network Executive Director, April Ingle. "Paddlers meet great people, learn about our rivers, have a great adventure and never have to stop to fill up their gas tank or stand in an airport baggage line."  

The trip is suitable for novice paddlers as well as experienced paddlers. Paddlers range in age from four to 84, with many families participating. Registration fees range from $150 to $275 for the seven-day trip.

On the river by day, at night, the participants will camp at nearby facilities such as local high schools. For additional fees, hot breakfasts and dinners are provided, along with sack lunches.

In addition to supporting GRN's efforts to protect Georgia's rivers, proceeds from this year's event will provide funding to the Flint Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization working to protect the Flint River from its headwaters near Atlanta to its confluence with the Chattahoochee River in southwest Georgia.

Through support from sponsors and individuals, GRN offers "scholarships" for both teachers and students to participate in the trip. Georgia teachers can participate and receive Georgia Adopt-A-Stream and Project WET training so that they may include environmental education in their classroom activities.

Sponsors of the event include Georgia Power; Hennessy Land Rover Centres; Patagonia;  Oglethorpe Power Corporation; StreamTechs ; Cedar Creek RV and Outdoor Center; Chambliss, Sheppard, Roland & Baxter LLP; China Clay Producers Association; Sea to Summit; The Outside World; and Cellairis. Event partners include the Georgia Canoe Association; Georgia Adopt-A - Stream; Project WET; and Flint Riverkeeper.

Georgia River Network is a non-profit 501c3 organization working to ensure a clean water legacy by engaging and empowering Georgians to protect, restore and enjoy our rivers from the mountains to the coast.

 

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