MAY 6 - 8

Ogeechee River Paddle & Ossabaw Island Tour
Fort McAllister State Park, GA

For the weekend of May 6-8, join the Georgia Conservancy, the Georgia Canoeing Association, Georgia State Parks and the Ossabaw Island Foundation for a paddle down the beautiful blackwater Ogeechee River, a tour of historic Ossabaw Island and two-nights at Ft. McAllister State Park.

On Saturday, we will paddle 12 miles on the stunning Ogeechee River from Morgan’s Bridge to the Savannah Ogeechee Canal, retiring to Fort McAllister State Park for the night.

From the Ogeechee Riverkeeper:  The river system drains over 5,000 square miles of land (known as a watershed or river basin). The Ogeechee River Watershed includes 4 sub-watersheds: Upper Ogeechee, Lower Ogeechee, Ogeechee Coastal and the Canoochee watersheds. The Ogeechee River itself is approximately 245 miles long.

The freshwater streams in this river system are known as blackwater streams due to their dark, tea-colored water. Blackwater streams are really unique and have an interesting ecology. The tannins from the swamps that stain the water the tea-color also make the water more acidic than other streams. This acidity reduces the amount of vegetation that can grow naturally in the rivers, and also affects the mercury uptake by fish.

On Sunday, we will charter a boat with Bull River Cruises to Ossabaw Island and host a full island exploration of historic and beautiful Ossabaw - including the beach and the historic buildings! The Ossabaw Island Tour is only available to individuals participating in Saturday’s paddle.

From the Ossabaw Island FoundationOssabaw Island, on the Georgia coast, contains 26,000 acres of maritime forest, tidal wetlands and wide beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. It is an unspoiled place set aside by the State of Georgia as a heritage preserve for natural, scientific and cultural study, and research and education. It's only 20 minutes by boat from Savannah, yet it's worlds apart. Ossabaw Island is where loggerhead sea turtles and endangered wood storks nest; where students learn research techniques and the value of an unspoiled place; where historic cultures are studied; and where photographers, writers, painters and musicians find inspiration.

This trip will showcase the relationship between a delicate backwater river and a pristine barrier island and is a rare opportunity to both paddle the Ogeechee and explore Ossabaw over a 2-day period.

In-kind donors and local food producers we will be enjoying during our weekend on the Ogeechee: Sweet Grass DairySweetwater Brewing Company, and Cafe Campesino Coffee


OGEECHEE PADDLE Day Pass - $40**

No overnight accommodations. Includes guided Saturday paddle. Day Pass participants meet at the Morgan's Bridge at 9:30 a.m. for our boat shuttle. After the trip, they are invited to participate in the low county boil at Ft. McAllister for $10 extra.

Price does not include canoe or kayak* 

Weekend Camping at Ft. McAllister State Park - $125 PER PERSON**

Registration includes a primitive campsite at Ft. McAllister State Park in the secluded pioneer camping area and guided Saturday paddle on the Ogeechee River.

This camping price includes dinners, but does not include breakfast or Saturday lunch

  • $50 per person to add on Ossabaw Island Tour (includes lunch)

Price does not include canoe or kayak*


Registration includes a two-night stay in the wonderful marshside cottages at Ft. McAllister State Park

This camping price includes dinners, but does not include breakfast or Saturday lunch.

  • $50 per person to add on Ossabaw Island Tour (includes lunch)

Price does not include canoe or kayak* 

*To rent a kayak or a tandem kayak from SouthEast Adventure Outfitters,please visit their dedicated rental websites for our Ogeechee River Paddle (kayak rentals start at $35 in include PFD and paddle).

** Children 14 and under register for FREE on select Heartland Rivers of Georgia Paddle Series Trips. When completing registration add your children’s names and ages under Question #1.


  • Children must be 14 and under
  • Children must be accompanied by a full paying adult.
  • All children must have a signed waiver from their legal guardian
  • Boat rental and meals not included. Camping Only.
  • Does not include our Flint River Paddle at Montezuma Bluffs.
  • One adult for every two children.

Participants have access to GC's REI Gear Bank (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad) on this trip for a fee of $5.  Using your account ID #, Georgia Conservancy members (Live Oak level and above) have FREE access to the GC REI Gear Bank.

Membership Discounts - A Georgia Conservancy membership comes a number of Stewardship Trips and Events discounts.

Georgia Conservancy members (Live Oak Level and above)- use your member id # to receive a discount when registering for a trip. . Having trouble identifying your membership id #? Contact Alexis Torres at



Dates: May 6-8, 2016 (Friday - Sunday)
*Some of our trips take place on a Friday, so please be aware that you may have to rearrange your work schedule if it begins earlier in the day.


  • Guided paddle along the Ogeechee River
  • Camping and Cottage Reservations at Ft. McAllister State Park
  • Guided tour of Ossabaw Island
  • Dinner on Friday and Saturday evening; Lunch on Sunday
  • Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese hors d'oeuvres
  • Café Campesino Coffee
  • Camping Gear - Tents, Sleeping bags, and Sleeping pads may be rented through the Georgia Conservancy free of charge thanks to our REI Sponsorship.

Capacity: 55 Participants *if trip is full, please contact Ben Fowler for waiting list options.

Staff/Guides: Ben Fowler, Georgia Conservancy Stewardship Trips Director 

Hosts: Laurie deVegter and Jeff Robbins

Duration: 3 Days, 2 Nights - Friday through Sunday

Skills/Knowledge Takeaways: Ossabaw Island and Ogeechee River history, basic paddling and canoe instruction, river navigation, Ft. McAllister State Park history, intro to camping skills, Leave No Trace Principles, Georgia Conservancy’s mission and goals.

Challenge level/difficulty/fitness required: All participants must have basic paddling skills and be capable of self-rescue in the water. No more than 2 children under the age of 12 per adult guardian.

Carpooling/Shuttle (option yes, no): NO, participants are responsible for their own transportation. The Georgia Conservancy does not provide a shuttle from Atlanta to Ft. McAllister. We are not responsible for organizing carpooling, but if enough participants express interest we will facilitate communication between parties. The reality is carpooling is just a better option because it saves money, promotes the human connection, and truly lessens the automotive impact on the environment.*please note that the Georgia Conservancy DOES provide shuttle services from Atlanta on a number of trips so make sure to always ask.

Reservation and Cancellation Policy: Within 30 days before the start of the trip, you can cancel your reservation for a refund minus a $10 processing fee. After 30 days, you can receive a refund minus a $10 transaction fee, only if we can find someone to take your place. 2 days before a trip we can no longer offer a refund for cancellations.

What to expect after you register for a trip: Upon completion of your registration you will receive a series of emails, including:

  • Confirmation of registration: this email is sent by our payment provider and serves as your payment receipt for the trip and lets you know you’re on the list! 
  • Welcome to Georgia Conservancy Stewardship Trips: this email will be sent by Ben Fowler welcoming you to the Ogeechee River Paddle and we may ask you for a few details concerning yourself and your party if registering for multiple people
  • 2 weeks away: A reminder to start getting excited for your upcoming adventure and will include any remaining details or specifics concerning the trip if not explained before (ex. waivers, medical forms, gear checklist, ferry schedule, service work choices, ect.)
  • 1 week away: We are all set and looking forward to seeing you! We may provide updates on any minor trip changes. If it is a service trip, for example, we will provide lists of elected service work or sleeping locations.

The Ogeechee River Paddle & Ossabaw Island Tour is one of our twelve Heartland Rivers of Georgia trips featuring camping, paddling and stewardship in south and central Georgia. The series brings to light conservation efforts, economic development and recreational opportunities on the Flint, Ochlockonee, Ocmulgee, Ogeechee, Chattahoochee, Altamaha, Satilla, Savannah and Yellow rivers, as well as Spring Creek near Bainbridge.

Largely unknown to the Georgia outdoor enthusiast, Georgia’s heartland rivers are a treasure trove of unparalleled natural beauty and recreation opportunity just a short drive from home.

Learn more about the Georgia Conservancy's Stewardship Trips Program

If you have any questions about our Stewardship Trips Program or about any upcoming trip, please contact Georgia Conservancy Stewardship Trips Director Ben Fowler at

Thinking of joining us for a trip? Please read our "Know Before You Go" page for more details.