October 9, 2012

CRBI launches Etowah Water Trail website

Submitted by the Coosa River Basin Initiative

— A project more than two years in the making to map and document all 163 miles of the Etowah River has been completed, and to celebrate, the Coosa River Basin Initiative (CRBI) is hosting two on-river events in Bartow and Floyd counties during October.

In an ongoing effort to create an Etowah River water trail, on Oct. 1 CRBI launched its Etowah River Water Trail website (www.etowahwatertrail.org), a comprehensive guide to the Etowah River from the river’s beginning along the Appalachian Trail in Lumpkin County to its confluence with the Oostanaula River in Rome.

CRBI will host its “Paddling Through History” fundraising event at Valley View Farm in Cartersville on Oct. 14, and then on Oct. 20, the group is organizing “Etowah River Clean Sweep,” a community river cleanup with the goal of cleaning all 48 miles of the river from Allatoona Dam to Rome.

The Etowah Water Trail website serves as a guide for river users, providing information about public access points, river features and mileage, historic sites and more. An interactive map allows site visitors to learn about points of interest along the river. Printable maps and guides can also be downloaded from the site. Funding for the project was provided by the Lyndhurst Foundation in Chattanooga.

“Whether you are paddling, fishing or boating, this site provides everything you need to know to get out and enjoy the Etowah,” said Joe Cook, executive director and riverkeeper at CRBI.

Information contained on the website is currently being used to produce a guidebook to be published in spring 2013 by the University of Georgia Press, in conjunction with Georgia River Network and CRBI.

The website and guidebooks are part of an ongoing effort to improve public access to the river and create a 160-mile long boating trail.

Bartow County and the city of Euharlee completed a new public boat launch on the river earlier this year; CRBI is in the design phase of a boat launch at US 411 in Kingston and the cities of Cartersville and Canton also have plans for new launches in the near future.

“There’s a lot of excitement about this river,” Cook said. “There’s more and more people discovering the charms of the Etowah, and local officials and business people are discovering how the river serves as an amenity and tourism draw for river communities.”

CRBI’s Paddling Through History event on Oct. 14 includes a tour of Valley View Farm, an antebellum plantation occupied by Union troops during the Civil War, followed by a six-mile paddle and catered dinner at the home. Participants receive a year’s membership in CRBI and a chance to win a new kayak that will be raffled off at the event. Tickets are available at www.coosa.org.

The organization is currently recruiting individuals and groups to participate in Etowah River Clean Sweep. During this event, crews will clean up both land-based and on-river sites. The event will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.. End-of-cleanup celebrations are planned for Euharlee and Rome with food, drinks and prizes for participants. For more information, contact Amos Tuck at atuck@coosa.org or call (706) 232-2724.

CRBI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of informing and empowering citizens to protect, preserve and restore North America’s most biologically diverse river basin.