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The 2014 Heartland Rivers of Georgia Paddle Series introduces people to Georgia's Altamaha, Chattahoochee, Flint, Ocmulgee, Ogeechee and Savannah rivers and includes stops in more than 15 Georgia counties, running through or nearby Savannah, Darien, Thomaston, Hazlehurst, Hawkinsville, Columbus and Augusta. An estimated 500 people, ranging from expert to novice, will join the paddle series - making it the largest trips program in the Conservancy’s history. Many of the paddle programs are hosted over a full weekend and include the opportunity for camping, hiking and live music. Georgia-based musicians Sailing to Denver, City Mouse, and the Little County Giants have pledged to lend their musical skills to the campfire setting.
2014 Heartland Rivers of Georgia Paddle Series Schedule:
- Flint River Paddle at Montezuma Bluff (Mar 15-16)
- Altamaha River to Sea Paddle in Darien (Mar 28-30)
- Three Rivers Paddle at Towns Bluff in Hazlehurst (Apr 25-27)
- Ogeechee River and Ossabaw Adventure (May 16-17)
- Columbus Chattahoochee River Whitewater Adventure Weekend (Summer 2014)
- Historic Augusta Canal Paddle (June 21)
- Flint River Family Adventure at the Gerald I. Lawhorn Scout Camp (Sept. 6)
- Ocmulgee Paddle in Hawkinsville
Launched in 2012, the Heartland paddle series, which was born out of partnership between the Georgia Canoeing Association and the Georgia Conservancy, has grown to include community based nonprofits and civic groups including the Altamaha Riverkeeper, the Savannah Riverkeeper, the Ogeechee Riverkeeper, the Chattahoochee RiverWarden, Georgia State Parks, the Department of Natural Resources, Keeping it Wild, Towns Bluff Park and Heritage Center, Jeff Davis County Board of Tourism, Augusta Canal Heritage Area, Better Hometown Hawkinsville, Uptown Columbus, Montezuma Downtown Development Authority, Gerald I. Lawhorn Scout Camp, and Rivers Alive.
Fans of the Georgia Conservancy’s paddle program have noticed a big difference from last year’s successful offerings: more selection at a lower cost.
“There are rivers in our backyard that are greatly underutilized,” said Schroeder. “Why drive to North Carolina or Tennessee for a weekend on the river? The Ocmulgee, Flint, Ogeechee, Savannah, Chattahoochee and Altamaha rivers provide incredible outdoor recreational opportunities. We want to work with local civic groups to help people use these rivers as eco-tourist destinations. There should be thousands of paddlers, not just a handful, canoeing, camping and enjoying these rivers every weekend.”