Settlement Benefits Park with Water Monitoring Funds
For the past 18 years, the National Park Service (NPS), US Geological Survey (USGS) and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (CRK) have operated a BacteriAlert Program within the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) to monitor bacteria and turbidity levels and provide safety alerts to more than one million recreational users annually. Funding for one of the three monitoring stations was set to expire later this year – until CRK settled a legal case that will support the continuation of this important water quality program.
When a developer failed to install necessary protections to filter mud and sediment from a large warehouse project in Gwinnett County, the polluted water poured into a tributary to the Chattahoochee within the CRNRA, thereby violating the federal Clean Water Act. CRK’s settlement includes a supplemental environmental project in the amount of $150,000 to be managed by Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy; it will fund three years of the BacteriAlert Program and also support CPC’s mission to build community support for our national park.
Riverkeeper Jason Ulseth: “The BacteriAlert program is an invaluable system. Having enough funds on hand to sustain three years of the program provides security and relieves some of the burden on our partners to fund this essential work to document water quality conditions in this heavily used stretch of river.” To volunteer to take weekly water samples at Powers Island, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: River samples are taken weekly at three locations in the CRNRA.
Volunteers Move a Bridge, Repair Trails
Volunteer Coordinator Dave Thomas has learned to get creative when a job needs to be done and financial resources are limited. In the Whitewater/East Palisades Unit, a rotting bridge over a stream had holes in the deck and needed to be replaced. In another park unit, a little-used bridge in good condition had been knocked off its footings by a falling tree. Dave’s “light-bulb” idea: disassemble the good bridge and move it to Whitewater.
More than 70 volunteers and multiple spring work-days later, a sturdy, 25-foot bridge now spans the stream for hikers and anglers to use – and the NPS has saved the significant sum that a brand-new bridge would have required. The project could not have been accomplished without the help of the Boy Scout’s Order of the Arrow Lodge, Triage Consulting and our VIPs (Volunteers in Parks).
Another project took place at Hyde Farm, an historic 135-acre farm on the Chattahoochee River managed jointly by Cobb County and the NPS. Volunteers with the Atlanta Outdoor Club and Hyde Farm Friends Foundation joined park volunteers to close several illegal trails between Mulberry Creek and Morgan Falls Dam. Morning Washburn with the friends group, established recently as a way to manage hands-on activities at the farm, appreciated the “great turnout” of more than 30 people.
Nearly 300 active VIPs, also known as Trail Blazers, perform essential work every week to help manage and maintain the nearly 7,000 acres that make up the CRNRA. Become a VIP at: www.chattahoocheeparks.org/volunteering
Photo: The “new” bridge at Whitewater/East Palisades, moved and installed by volunteers.
Photo: Historic Hyde Farm was the site of a volunteer trail repair project.
TRAIL REPORT: Vickery Creek Stairway
CPC is making progress with our fundraising initiative to secure $75,000 to build a new stairway in the Vickery Creek Unit of the CRNRA at the entrance to the national park from Roswell’s covered bridge at Old Mill Park. We are pleased to announce that we have raised two-thirds of the funds needed to construct this project! We are still seeking the remaining $25,000 and urge you to consider making a donation TODAY, so that construction can begin this fall.
More than a decade ago, the city of Roswell built the covered bridge over Vickery Creek (aka Big Creek) from Old Mill Park, linking it to the CRNRA. Unfortunately, at the end of the bridge, visitors are met with a steep, eroding slope, making it difficult to hike uphill to national park trails and downhill to the creek; the erosion is also harming the creek.
You can make a designated donation here, noting VC Stairway in the comment section or mail a designated contribution to PO Box 769332 Roswell, GA 30076 Thank you!
THINGS TO DO IN THE PARK
- JULY 6 & 20 (8-10pm) – Sibley Pond Sunset with NPS Ranger Jerry Hightower at Sope Creek Unit. Reservations required at 678-538-1200.
JULY 7 (8:30-10pm) – Camp Fire and Night Hike with NPS Ranger Jerry Hightower at the Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center, Johns Creek. Reservations required at 678-538-1200.
AUG 4 – Back to the Chatt Race, Big Float & Festival Paddlers and floaters will take to the river at the Johnson Ferry or Powers Island Units, ending at the Paces Mill Unit for a free, family-friendly festival. Learn more and register today here.
STAY TUNED for details about CPC’s 40th Anniversary Walk and Talk in the Park Series (Aug-Oct 2018). Walks will explore the park’s creation by a small group of “river rats”, park geology and park trees.
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!