Flint River flood leads to park closures

The Flint will continue to increase in Albany and areas downriver even though the lake has already reached its peak.
Published: Apr. 1, 2023 at 7:06 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The Flint River Trail in Albany is underwater.

Multiple days of rain last week caused minor floods this weekend. Boaters were warned by Crisp County officials to stay away from the higher-up levels on the Flint as well as Lake Blackshear.

Some of the trails were walkable, but the 2-mile-long stretch was under waist-deep water.

“This is the highest I’ve seen it in years. All y’all be careful,” said Tyronda Butler. Butler saw the floods of 1994, so she knows how high the water could get. This isn’t uncommon for the River. 3 years ago it crested 6 feet higher than it’s expected to on Sunday, according to NOAA.

Bikers and runners were not able to access the trail for at least 2 days. The River is projected to return to normal levels early next week.

“When the wind dies down I hope people are careful because you can see the change in the color of the lake and the flow of the lake,” Chris Edwards said.

Edwards and others spent Saturday communicating the flood risk at Lake Blackshear through HAM radio. Saturday was also a test of their equipment’s capabilities through windy weather.

“It helps us prepare for emergencies and it also lets us equipment and get a workout,” Edwards said.

A few days ago, the water level at Lake Blackshear was lowered by about 6 feet in anticipation of the high flow event. Some of that water returned.

A few people were seen walking along the lake to observe. Tom Brock and Will Palmer were two of the few boaters seen Saturday.

“We are going to ride around and just try. I know the conditions might not be conducive,” Brock said.

They said they were going to keep it short and to an area with a lower current. They didn’t know of the threat before driving more than an hour to go boating. Most people at the park opted to just stay on land, play golf, fish, or hang out. The lake has already peaked, but Flint will continue to rise in Albany and areas downstream.