Our Park is Turning 40 – Let’s Celebrate!
Standing in the Rose Garden on August 15, 1978, Friends of the River members thank Sen. Sam Nunn for his leadership in getting the park bill passed. Marcia Bansley hands Nunn a box of arrowheads from the banks of the Chattahoochee as a remembrance, while Alan Toney (CPC board member) stands behind the senator. Also shown: David Jones, Shield Grant, Bob Humphries and Claude Terry.
Four decades later, Marcia Bansley still remembers August 15, 1978 very well. “It was the most joyful day of my life; we had worked like hell for years to get the park bill passed,” she said recently.
On that day, forty years ago, President Jimmy Carter signed a bill to establish the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA). He was surrounded by members of the nonprofit Friends of the River, elected officials and other advocates who had fought since the early 1970s to protect the river and its corridor through designation as a unit of the national park system. The combination of the river’s scenic vistas, urban location, geologic features and biodiversity qualified the area to meet the strict standards of becoming part of the National Park Service.
Today, the CRNRA boasts nearly 7,000 acres of land in units along a 48-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River also protected by the park designation – and efforts continue to expand park acreage to link units and trails. Last year, a National Park Service report revealed that the nearly three million visitors to the CRNRA in 2016 yielded a cumulative benefit of $166.7 million to the local economy.
Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy (CPC) will be celebrating our park’s birthday in many ways this year. Stay tuned and join us in showing your support for our much-beloved Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area! Learn more here.
PEOPLE OF THE PARK
Charlie Freed has been rowing racing shells in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area for nearly thirty years. Not long after he moved to Atlanta and bought a house near the Chattahoochee, he got hooked on the sport thanks to encouragement from a colleague who had rowed with the German National Team. Over the years, Charlie has seen many changes in and along the six-mile stretch of river where rowers practice (Hwy 400 Bridge to Morgan Falls Dam); however, he says that he still “sees more herons than houses,” when he’s rowing, despite the area’s growth over the past three decades.
Charlie is an active member of the Atlanta Rowing Club (ARC), a group established in 1974 to promote the sport for recreational and competitive interests; the club has a boathouse on Azalea Drive in Roswell where members can row ARC boats. On behalf of the organization, Charlie serves as a liaison with the National Park Service on CRNRA issues of mutual interest and concern and also with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper on water quality monitoring.
A dozen ARC members take turns collecting weekly water samples at three locations upstream and within the rowing section of the park. The data has revealed that bacteria levels in the river are low, except when it rains. Charlie says that a big problem for rowers is the steady increase in sandbars from sediment sloughing off the riverbanks when upstream Buford Dam generates power and the river level rises rapidly. www.atlantarow.org
THINGS TO DO IN THE PARK
● Attend the Owl Prowl on Sat, Feb 24 (6:30-9pm) at the Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center: campfire, guided hike by Ranger Jerry Hightower, live owl program and complimentary Chattahoochee River Journal. Reservations required by calling 678-538-1200. Limit: 150
● Join a Volunteers in Parks (VIP) Orientation Class on Sat, March 10 (1-3:30pm) at Island Ford Visitor Center. Learn about the creation of the CRNRA and its history, along with volunteer opportunities and procedures — and meet other park-lovers. Register with NPS Volunteer Coordinator Dave Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
● Show YOUR LOVE FOR OUR PARK by registering for the annual Sweep the Hooch Cleanup on Sat, April 7. CPC is sponsoring the cleanup at the East Palisades/ Whitewater Unit of the CRNRA. Click here to register and select Whitewater as your team site.
GA WATER COALITION
As a member of the Georgia Water Coalition (www.gawater.org), CPC will be participating in the following events. We hope that you'll join us too! For questions, contact email@example.com.
● Capitol Conservation Day, March 1, 2018 – 7:30am-Noon at Central Presbyterian Church and the Georgia State Capitol. Join more than one hundred GWC members as we talk to our state legislators about the importance of rivers for our communities. Click here to register for the free event.
● Clean 13 Report and Celebration, March 8, 2018 - 6:30-9:30pm at the Mason Fine Arts Center in Atlanta. This inaugural event will highlight extraordinary efforts on the part of businesses, industries, local governments, nonprofits and individuals to protect Georgia's natural resources. Purchase Tickets here. Read the Report here.
Become a member of Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy today!
As a member, you can help us achieve our vision of an inspired and thriving community of support for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Click here to join!