Politicians in Both Parties Agree!
Politicians on both sides of the aisle can agree on at least one thing: it’s important to get kids outside to learn about nature, culture and history. On September 12, the U.S. House passed the Every Kid Outdoors Act to continue a program that ensures every fourth grade student in the nation and their families have access and encouragement to visit national parks and public lands, including a free annual pass. Without Congressional authorization, this popular program could end this year.
Thanks to the Every Kid in the Park (EKIP) program and funding from the National Park Foundation, thousands of students, mostly underserved, have been able to participate in hands-on activities in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA). Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy secures these funds from NPF and raises additional support from private donors. Thanks to a generous donation to CPC from the Parsonson Foundation, the park was able to purchase new rafts, paddles and PFDs for the program.
Photo: Boys and girls from the Robert D. Fowler YMCA attend summer camp at the Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center in the national park every year. Trail Management Plan Available Soon
A year after they initiated the first-ever Trail Assessment and Management Plan for the CRNRA, consultant Applied Trails Research is putting the finishing touches on this important document which will serve as a blueprint for trail improvements, restoration and new maintenance standards. CPC is pleased to have helped fund this plan, to be finalized by November. Thanks to all of you who made donations to this project and provided comments and recommendations to improve our park’s trail system; as frequent visitors know, the CRNRA’s 80-plus miles of trails have been “loved to death” over the past four decades. Stay tuned! Park Hydrologist – Annie Couch
Annie Couch’s passion for water resources comes naturally. Her dad, Bill Couch, served as the manager of Georgia’s Buford Trout Hatchery for decades, raising his family in a house on hatchery property. With the Chattahoochee literally in her backyard, it wasn’t a surprise that Annie decided to major in Water and Soil Resources at the University of Georgia and then work for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. After getting her master’s degree, she saw a job posting for a park hydrologist on USAJobs; ultimately hired for that position, Annie came home to her childhood river in 2015.
Annie’s daily activities range from managing the park’s responsibilities under the BacteriAlert Program to studying Asian swamp eels and shoal bass to monitoring bank erosion in the river and its tributaries. But that’s not all: she helps develop agreements related to the park’s National Water Trail, the American Conservation Experience (an intern placement program) and, recently, the removal of an old bridge that fell in the river. She likes the variety of projects that cross her desk – or kayak, a favorite activity. “How many people get paid to paddle?” she asks rhetorically. Young, talented and enthusiastic about the mission of the National Park Service, Annie is a great asset for our park. THINGS TO DO IN THE PARK
- THIS COMING WEEKEND! Paddle-Camp Extravaganza at Abbotts Bridge on Sat/Sun, Sept 29-30. Looking for a mini-getaway? We’ve still got spaces for the 3rd Annual Paddle-Camp which includes kayaking, stand up boards, biking on a pump track, yoga, campfire meals and more. Details and registration here.
- Volunteer in the Park on Sat, Oct 6. Join Volunteer Coordinator Dave Thomas to help with trail maintenance at the Paces Mill Unit. For details and to register, email Dave here.
- REI BackCountry Navigation with Map and Compass, Level 1, on Sat, Oct 13 in the East Palisades Unit. Details and registration here.
- Shoot the Hooch – With A Camera! on Sat, Nov 3. CPC is again offering a one-day workshop with nature photographer Tom Wilson at the Island Ford Unit. Details and registration available here. Fee: $50.
- Annual CPC Member Celebration – Date in November TBD. Click here to join today!
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!