February 2020

10th Annual 'Sweep the Hooch' Set for April 4

A decade ago, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, National Park Service and Upper Chattahoochee Chapter Trout Unlimited joined forces to pull trash and debris out of the Chattahoochee River and its tributaries within the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. To date, 113 tons of trash have been removed with the help of more than 5,600 volunteers and dozens of new partners and sponsors. Today, the event has expanded to forty cleanup sites along a 100-mile stretch of the river from Lake Lanier to Chattahoochee Bend State Park.

This year’s 10th Anniversary of Sweep the Hooch will take place on Saturday, April 4 (9am-1pm). Mark your calendars! Volunteers can register to pick up trash as a walker, wader or paddler. Once a site reaches its capacity, registration for that site will close – so we encourage you to register early! As we have done for the past five years, Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy (CPC) will sponsor the Palisades-Whitewater Creek cleanup site. Join us!

Registration will open on Valentine’s Day – February 14, 2020 here. Show your love for our river and volunteer to help us sweep the Hooch. You never know what you’re going to find! Thank you.

Old Growth Descendants in the Park

Kathryn Kolb is passionate about trees in Atlanta and their history. In January, the EcoAddendum director led CPC’s first outing of the year in our Walk & Talk Series on trails in the West Palisades/Akers Mill Unit. Along with twenty enthusiastic CPC members, she found remnants of the original forest on a steep slope: half a dozen oak species, hickories, hophornbeam, sparkleberry and horse sugar. Kathryn showed the group how to identify the leafless winter trees from bark and acorns by using an “artist’s eye” to observe the different bark patterns and varieties.

While hilly areas in the CRNRA may have been timbered in the past, Kathryn does not believe they were ever farmed, meaning that the soil has never been disturbed, so re-growth of native species could occur. In fact, she notes that the urban forest throughout metro Atlanta is special because settlement didn’t start in earnest until the 1830s, much later than most cities on the East Coast, and the development was not dense. Forest pockets were preserved, as the urban area sprawled and growth accelerated in the 1960s. The following decade protection measures, including the national park, were established for the Chattahoochee River corridor and its trees.

FREE OUTINGS FOR OUR MEMBERS: Join CPC today, so you can participate in our free Walk & Talk outings for members. It’s easy to join here. You will get an email notice when registration opens; sign up early, as our limited spaces fill up fast. Next Walk & Talk: Geology in the Park in March with Bill Witherspoon.

Board Profile: Graham Dorian

It’s almost an understatement to say that CPC board member Graham Dorian is an avid outdoorsman, given his wide-ranging outdoor passions and competencies: fly-fishing, mountain biking and racing, hiking, archery, hunting, scuba diving and piloting his Cessna 185 to western parks and wilderness. He also plays the fiddle for fun and competitively, an outgrowth of early years spent as a classical violinist. What can’t this man do?!

Graham joined the CPC board several years ago and is now a member of the executive committee, serving as our treasurer. The former owner of Valpak of Atlanta, which he managed for Cox Enterprises, moved to Atlanta from the Midwest in 1996 and has lived on the Chattahoochee River with his wife and two daughters for the past fifteen years. He says that he’s “so grateful” to live near the Cochran Shoals/Sope Creek Units of the CRNRA, where he regularly rides his mountain bike, and on the river, where he and his family can launch a kayak from their backyard.

Both Graham and his wife, Jennifer, are actively involved in community work, in addition to supporting efforts to protect our national park and the river. He is a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, flying people who are not allowed on commercial planes, due to serious illness, to medical facilities. Jennifer serves on the boards of the PATH Foundation and Atlanta Beltline Partnership.

How Safe is the Water in the CRNRA? 

If you're curious about how safe it is to swim, wade, paddle or fish in the Chattahoochee River within the CRNRA, check out this link on the park's website. It includes information about water quality, release schedules at Buford and Morgan Falls dams and river flow rates. The water quality section connects to the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) BacteriALERT webpage with estimated E. coli bacteria levels in the river; these levels are calculated daily based on turbidity measured at three gages operated by the USGS at the following park units: Medlock Bridge, Powers Ferry and Paces Ferry.

Celebrating twenty years of operation, the BacteriALERT program is a partnership between USGS, CRNRA, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Cobb County Water System, City of Roswell and CPC, which helps fund the operation of the Powers Ferry monitoring station. The good news is that the river water meets water quality standards the majority of the time, except after a hard rain and when the water is muddy. Take a few minutes to learn more about current river conditions before you plan your next adventure to the river. (Photo: USGS's Chris Smith samples at the Powers Ferry station (#02335880) with a trimaran-mounted Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler.)

Things to Do

Online Park Passes – You can buy your daily ($5) or annual ($40) pass to the CRNRA online now. Go to Recreation.Gov and type in Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Digital Pass. You will be directed to the page to purchase your pass. It’s easy and fast!

Volunteer in the Park! Help the CRNRA by donating your time to maintain trails and assist with events, youth programs and administrative tasks. Visit www.crnra.vip to get involved. Give forty hours and get a free annual parking pass. Monthly volunteer meetings are held at the Island Ford Visitor Center. Volunteer calendar here.

10th Sweep the Hooch Cleanup - Apr 4. Registration opens Feb 14 for the annual cleanup event. See above for details.

Winter Owl Prowl – Feb 22 (6-9pm) Join the National Park Service and Chattahoochee Nature Center for a campfire, guided night hike and live owl program at the Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center. All ages welcome. Reservations required at 678-538-1200.

Forest Loop Hike – Sat, Feb 23 (3:30-5:30pm) Join National Park Service Naturalist Jerry Hightower for a winter walk on a short loop trail through an oak/hickory forest in the Jones Bridge Unit. All ages welcome. Reservations required at 678-538-1200.

Walk & Talk Series: Geology in the Park with Bill Witherspoon – Sun, March 22. FREE for CPC members; join here. View one of the metro region’s largest natural rock faces and the quartzite outcrops that are responsible for the impressive depth and steep walls of Chattahoochee Palisades gorge. Space limited. Members will be notified when registration opens in late February.

19th Annual Parks and Greenspace Conference - March 23 (12-9pm) Attend the largest parks conference in the southeast, showcasing thought leaders from Atlanta and across the nation. Register here.

Become a CPC member or donate today!

YOU can help us achieve our vision of an inspired and thriving community of support for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

CPC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We are proud to support our Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, a unit of the national park system by the National Park Service.

National Park Service Website

CPC's Facebook

CPC's Instagram

Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy
P.O. Box 769332, Roswell, GA 30076