Fixing Our Park!
With a deferred maintenance backlog of more than $14 million, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) needs all the help it can get to upgrade and replace visitor facilities, improve the 80-plus mile trail system and safeguard natural and cultural resources.
Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy (CPC), the park's official friends group, was created to raise awareness, funds and volunteers to help our national park be the best it can be. Last year, we worked with the National Park Service (NPS) to build a trail stairway in the Vickery Creek Unit that enhances visitor safety and protects natural resources. This year, we're working on these important projects:
- New Kids Fishing Pier: The decades-old kids fishing pier at the pond in the Island Ford Unit, much-loved by young anglers but increasingly unsafe, is going to be replaced! We are nearing our fundraising goal to match a cost-share grant secured by the NPS, thanks to generous donors; project implementation to begin this fall.
- Sope/Cochran Trail Improvements: The shared use biking and hiking trails in these popular park units are some of the most degraded trails in the CRNRA, given the high use and uneven terrain. With an REI grant, secured with your votes, we have begun to work with the NPS, consultant Applied Trails Research and MTB Atlanta to improve the trails and develop new signage to guide the shared use. We are still seeking funds to implement this project in 2020!
- River Overlook Platforms: Who doesn’t want to get close to the river? Overlook platforms in the CRNRA were built long ago to help park visitors view scenic areas, but some of these structures are in poor shape and must be replaced, e.g. Jones Bridge and Cochran Shoals Units. We have just begun fundraising efforts for these priority projects with help from Upper Chattahoochee Chapter Trout Unlimited and others.
Please help us Fix our Park! You can make a general or designated donation here. Thank you!Trail Proposed in Holcomb Bridge Unit
In partnership with the city of Sandy Springs, the CRNRA is proposing to develop a hiking trail in the Holcomb Bridge Unit, a 33-acre tract of undisturbed forest land bordered by the Chattahoochee River and Crooked Creek. Upon completion, the national park trail will connect to a one-mile access trail to be constructed by Sandy Springs in a new city park, thereby creating nearly two miles of natural surface hiking trails that will include river views from a bluff. The NPS is requesting public comment on this trail proposal by August 22, 2019. Learn more about the project and comment here or mail your comments to Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, c/o Crooked Creek Project, 1978 Island Ford Parkway, Sandy Springs, GA 30350.
Park Volunteers Monitor Streams
In June, the NPS kicked off a new Stream Stewards Pilot Project with a training session held for interested VIPs (Volunteers in Parks). Thirteen volunteers are now sampling eleven locations on tributaries that flow into the Chattahoochee River within the national park. Ranger Annie Couch says that the project goal is to develop a group of volunteer scientists who collect water quality data that will establish baseline conditions for streams not currently being monitored. Ultimately, the data will help inform park management decisions and/or future restoration projects. Data collected can be viewed here. To become a Stream Steward and VIP (Volunteer in Parks), contact Annie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greenway Planners Join CPC Board
Two passionate park and greenway planners have joined the CPC Board this year to help us support the CRNRA with land and water trail planning and facility upgrades. A professional landscape architect with Alta Planning + Design, Britt Storck (left) has built her career around natural resource-based recreation projects and active community design and planning; she leads Alta’s national trail service area and technical resources and has worked in more than 100 communities to develop open space and trail projects. She has also served as an adviser and board member of various organizations, including North Carolina Rails-Trails and the American Society of Landscape Architects-Georgia Chapter.
Sarah Boyer (right), who describes herself as a “spirited parks advocate,” is a landscape architect with Lord Aeck Sargent and nonprofit board experience, including with the American Society of Landscape Architects. On weekends, you can find her hiking in the CRNRA or tabling for CPC, working to engage more people in our mission to help our national park. We’re thrilled to have both of these young women on board!
THINGS TO DO
Volunteer in the Park! Help our national park by donating your time to maintain trails and landscaping, assist with events and youth programs, and help with administrative tasks. Visit www.crnra.vip to get involved.
A Sibley Pond Sunset - Fri, Aug 23 and Aug 30 (8-10pm). Join Ranger Jerry Hightower for a fantastic summer evening of nature exploration, roasted marshmallows and night sounds. Reservations required at 678-538-1200; directions will be provided.
Historic Roswell Mills – Sat, Aug 24 and Aug 31 (3-5:30pm). Join Ranger Jerry Higher for a walk back in time and discover 10,000 years of human history in the Vickery Creek area in an afternoon. Reservations required at 678-538-1200.
CPC Walk & Talk Series – Sun, Sept 15 (2-4:30pm). Geology in the Park with Bill Witherspoon. Registration opens to the public on Aug 25; CPC members will receive early registration notice for this FREE event which will fill quickly; join today here.
Chattahoochee River Kayak Series – Summer 2019. Join REI on kayak tours in the CRNRA, designated the first National Water Trail in 2012. Details and registration here.
REI Paddle-Camp Extravaganza – Sat/Sun, Oct 5-6. SAVE THE DATE! Join CPC and REI for a weekend of fun and adventure in the park. Stay tuned for details.
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!