More than 350 paddlers traversed some 105 miles of the Altamaha River June 16-22 as part of Paddle Georgia 2012, a week-long canoe/kayak journey organized by Georgia River Network (GRN). Approximately 30 paddlers also participated in the weekend only version – Paddle Georgia Lite.
Paddle Georgia 2012 showed paddlers the Altamaha River from Baxley to Darien on Georgia’s coast. Paddlers were introduced to Georgia’s Coastal Plain beauty as they traveled down Georgia’s largest river, ending amongst the marshes of McIntosh County. The event was the first Paddle Georgia to finish on the Georgia coast.
Paddlers called Reidsville, Jesup, Glynn County and Darien home for the week, camping at Tattnall County High School June 15-17, Wayne County High School June 18-20, Altamaha Regional Park June 21, and downtown Darien June 22.
The event included 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 river’s current health in conjunction with the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream program.
The trip culminated June 24 with a Trip’s End Celebration and Feast in Darien. Members of the community were invited to attend the event, which included a low country boil.
This is the eighth year for Paddle Georgia. In the event’s first seven years, organizers have guided more than 2100 paddlers down more than 700 miles of Georgia rivers, including trips on the Chattahoochee, Etowah, Ocmulgee, Flint, Coosawattee, Oostanaula, Broad, Savannah and Oconee rivers. The trips have generated more than $120,000 for river protection in Georgia.
Paddle Georgia participants range in age from four to 84 and come from across the country. Eight Georgia teachers sponsored by a grant from Mohawk Industries will also be on the trip to participate and receive Project WET and Adopt-A-Stream training.
A portion of the proceeds from this year’s event will benefit Altamaha Riverkeeper.
Paddle Georgia is a project of Georgia River Network. Georgia River Network is a statewide 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.