The Grand

On August 9, to kick-off the Georgia Conservancy’s celebration of Columbus and the opening of the world-class whitewater course on the newly free-flowing Chattahoochee, our Stewardship Trips Program hosted the largest ever paddling event on this stretch of the river.  The Grand Columbus Whitewater Paddle, as it was dubbed, certainly lived up to our plans to put 1,000 paddlers and rafters on the water in day.  By day’s end, more than 1,100 people had shot the 2 mile stretch of rapids with our partners Whitewater Express.

The celebration on the water extended past the banks of the Chattahoochee and into Uptown Columbus for an after-paddle party.  Though treacherous rains and winds put a damper on the evening’s events at Woodruff Park and forced the revelers to seek shelter, the party soldiered on at the Whitewater Express headquarters. Paddlers and party-goers were soothed by the sounds of Conservancy favorite, Sailing to Denver, and quenched their thirst with beer from SweetWater Brewing Company.

“We dreamed big and it worked,” said Georgia Conservancy Senior Director of Stewardship and Outreach Bryan Schroeder. “Six months ago, we didn’t think we could do it. But we kept promoting and word got around about the whitewater course in Columbus and our numbers kept getting bigger. Hats off to our partners at Uptown Columbus and Whitewater Express. We couldn’t have done this alone.”

Thanks to THE GRAND hosts PricewaterhouseCoopers and TSYS, our presenters Whitewater Express (and their awesome guides) and Uptown Columbus, and our sponsors SweetWater Brewing Company, Atlanta Hawks, Aflac, Hatcher Stubbs Land Hollis & Rothschild LLP, and Seaboard Advisors, Inc.!