April 2020

A Message to All Who Love and Support our National Park

We hope you are well, as we all come together with kindness and generosity, as a global community, to support one another during the COVID-19 crisis. While we are dealing with the pandemic – practicing social distancing and sheltering in place – our much-loved national park is getting some rest. For the safety of visitors, volunteers and park employees, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) is closed until further notice. For the moment, we must let the park rest and dream of future park outings, as we respect the National Park Service (NPS) decision to close the park. The park we love will open again and the river, forests, trails and wildlife will be there for us to enjoy, when we emerge.

After this crisis ends, every family and business will reevaluate their situation, as will we at Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy (CPC). Thanks to your love of the park and generous support, CPC is positioned to continue to thrive, completing the projects we have planned: introducing underserved youth to the park, managing the dog waste problem that is impacting water quality in the river, replacing the dilapidated observation deck in the Jones Bridge Unit, improving the shared use trails in the Cochran Shoals/Sope Creek Units, and replacing the old decks along the river in the Cochran Shoals Unit. After a brief pause, resting just like the park, CPC will still be here for you and the park we all love.  Your support will continue to be needed and much-appreciated! Thank you.

Phillip Hodges
CPC Board President

Board Profile: Alex Hinerfeld

If you spend much time on trails in the CRNRA, you have probably seen Alex Hinerfeld, working hard to improve the trails with a team of volunteers, cutting up a fallen tree, or tabling with park information – doing anything needed to help our national park be the best it can be. A volunteer leader who says he “enjoys playing in the dirt”, Alex is a member of the Volunteers in Parks Program, which began in the early 1970s to provide a way for the NPS to use volunteers. He’s also a member of the CPC board of directors, where the self-described “doer” is willing to take on any project, large or small. 

Five years ago, Alex joined his daughter for a high school service day in the CRNRA, met NPS Volunteer Coordinator Dave Thomas, and decided to jump into park volunteering with both feet and hands. A longtime community volunteer, he had spent ten years as a volunteer fireman in Roswell and was looking for something new to do. The co-owner of Secom Systems, a manufacturers’ representative firm in the radio-communications industry, has been an outdoors enthusiast his whole life: hiking, camping, rock-climbing and mountain biking. More recently, Alex has been adventuring around the world – climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and trekking the 100-mile circuit in Torres Del Paine, Patagonia (photo). When he’s not traveling, you can find Alex in the park just about every weekend. Become a park volunteer here.

Crayfish Creek Workday with Trout Unlimited

In early March, about 70 volunteers (ages 3-80) joined Upper Chattahoochee Chapter Trout Unlimited (UCCTU) and its partners, including CPC, for the first Embrace a Stream monitoring project at Crayfish Creek, a tributary to the Chattahoochee River near SR-20 in Gwinnett County. The highlight of the day was finding young-of-the-year wild brown trout in the upper reaches of the creek, near the heavily-trafficked state highway. Other species found: bluehead chub, bluefin stoneroller, yellowfin shiner, green sunfish, white sucker, creek chub, crayfish, salamanders and mayfly, crane fly and dragonfly larvae. UGA Warnell students, guided by Dr. Jon Calabria, will create a design to restore the impaired stream that will aid in the permitting, planning and implementation stages of the project.

In 2016, for the centennial of the National Park Service, extraordinary nature writer Terry Tempest Williams was commissioned to write a literary celebration of our national parks – what they mean to us and what we mean to them. Called The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks, this inspiring and thought-provoking book illuminates the unique grandeur of a dozen national parks. In lyrical prose, Williams describes what it means to hold land in trust, who defines its best uses, and how the chronically underfunded National Park Service can manage increasing stresses on its lands and waters that belong to all of us. We can’t visit most of our national parks right now, but we can read about them and better understand the challenges they face, so we can be more effective advocates for their protection. Ten other “must-read” books about America’s national park system can be found here.

Think Before You Flush!

Local utilities are asking us to protect our local rivers and streams and their infrastructure by not putting wipes (marketed as “flushable”) and paper towels in the toilet. With a lack of toilet paper on store shelves because of the coronavirus pandemic, some people are turning to these products, which do not break down easily and can cause major blockages in sewer systems; they may disappear down your toilet, but they create serious problems further down the drain. When the wastewater backs up in the pipes, it has to go somewhere, so it overflows from manholes and cracks in pipes into nearby streams, contaminating these waterways with untreated sewage. The solution? Put all wipes, paper towels and similar products in your trash. You’ll be helping protect our neighborhood streams, drinking water supplies and the CRNRA!

Things To Do

10th Sweep the Hooch Cleanup – Saturday, August 29 (9am-Noon). Registration will open in June. We hope to see you at the CPC cleanup site at Whitewater, East Palisades Unit.

Your Shopping Can Help Our Park!
Are you ordering more online to stock up on stay-at-home supplies? Help CPC through Amazon Smile, by registering at this link; a small percentage of your eligible purchases will be donated to our organization to help our national park. Amazon Smile offers the very same items as Amazon. Kroger Community Rewards also provides a percentage of your grocery purchase to a charity; it’s easy – sign up here. Thank you!

Walk & Talk Series: Founders Day in the Park, Sunday, Aug 23. Members Only. We will celebrate the 104th birthday of the NPS with a special outing led by Interpretive Ranger Sean Walsh-Haehle. Moderate 2.5-mile hike. Ages 10 and up. Registration for members opens mid-summer. Limit: 20.

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. Sign up now and get ready to help us re-open the park in the coming months.

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.

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