June 2020

Have You Heard the News?!

Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy has a new name – Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy (CNPC)! By changing our name, we’ve embraced who we’ve always been: the official friends group, or nonprofit partner, for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA). We believe that this name better describes who we are and what we do for one of the top forty, most-visited national parks in the country.

The Chattahoochee is fortunate to have many public parks along its shores that are managed by local, state and federal government agencies, but there is only one park on our river that is a unit of the national park system – the CRNRA. To recognize this important distinction, we added “national park” to our name. Nearly 7,000 acres in fifteen separate land units along 48 miles of the Chattahoochee River constitute one fantastic park for the three million people who visit the CRNRA every year.

While our name has changed, our mission is the same: to build a community of support for the CRNRA and promote stewardship of its natural and cultural resources. Of course, your membership status remains the same. Importantly, ninety cents of every dollar you donate to CNPC goes directly to support our national park with better land trails, enhancements for our National Water Trail, new facilities, equipment for volunteers and park staff, and transportation to bring underserved youth to the park for educational programs.

Not a CNPC member yet? Join here. Among other benefits, you’ll get discounts on Nantahala Outdoor Center boat rentals during the week. Rent one boat and get the second rental for free!

Fix our Parks with Great American Outdoors Act

When the U.S. Senate returns to Washington this month, it will vote on the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422), legislation to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and invest in critical repair needs in national parks and on other public lands. From Yosemite to the Smokies and our own CRNRA, these much-loved natural spaces have crumbling roads, degraded trails and aging infrastructure that are in desperate need of repair: a backlog of $12 billion in deferred maintenance projects throughout the national park system. Here at the Chattahoochee, our national recreation area needs more than $15 million to fund its backlog of priority projects and enhance visitor safety and enjoyment of our park. Investing in the LWCF also means investing in local economies and creating thousands of jobs.

According to the National Parks Conservation Association, the LWCF is America’s most important conservation program, responsible for protecting parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local level. For fifty years, it has provided critical funding for land and water conservation projects, recreational construction and activities, and the continued historic preservation of our nation’s iconic landmarks from coast-to-coast. LWCF does not use any taxpayer dollars; it is funded using a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments.

Contact Georgia’s Senators TODAY and ask them to vote for the GAOA, S. 3422!

Sen. David Perdue: 202-224-3521 (DC); 404-865-0087 (ATL). www.perdue.senate.gov

Sen. Kelly Loeffler:  202-224-3643 (DC); 770-661-0999 (ATL). www.loeffler.senate.gov                                                    

Board Profile: Ray Steed

An active hiker and paddler since his teenage years, Ray Steed naturally gravitated to the Chattahoochee River and our national park, when he moved to Atlanta in 1990 to continue his career with The Coca-Cola Company – where he led the quality, environmental sustainability, and safety functions for North America. In fact, he chose to make his home on the Chattahoochee River near the CRNRA and has fond memories of family hikes at Island Ford and rafting, canoeing and tubing trips on the river with his wife and two sons.

Now in retirement after 33 years with Coca-Cola, Ray can spend as much time as he likes on his favorite pastimes: paddling and traveling. With a large collection of canoes and kayaks, he says that he welcomes people to join him on the water, whether it be the Chattahoochee or an exotic location such as a crocodile reserve and eco-lodge in Cuba (see photo). Ray is a leader for the Atlanta Outdoor Club and can frequently be found hiking the trails of the CRNRA or leading paddlers on day trips on the river. Working with another park volunteer, he is helping create a new Hike Every Trail program that will be announced later this year. Ray says that he’s “excited to contribute to the sustainability of this magnificent resource.” As a new CNPC board member, he wants to “pay back for all that the national park has offered to him” over the years.

Tributaries: A River System's 'Keystone Species'

A mile-long tributary to the Chattahoochee River in Gwinnett County is getting some much-needed attention, thanks to the vision and hard work of Upper Chattahoochee Chapter Trout Unlimited, led by Connor Reynolds, and many partners, including CNPC. Emily Rogers, a student in the University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design, will serve as the full-time project coordinator for ten weeks, working with the CRNRA’s Annie Couch, and a committee of experts. Permits needed to restore an eroded, 500-foot section of streambank are expected this summer with work likely to begin this fall; volunteers will be needed to assist with the riverbank plantings. Selected as one of the featured demonstration sites in the Chattahoochee RiverLands plan, the Crayfish Creek project, once completed, will improve stream and riparian habitat and minimize the effects of sedimentation on water quality. 

“Tributaries are, in a way, the keystone species for a resilient river ecosystem,” says Rogers.  “The stream can become the prime location to restore the surrounding environment if enhanced correctly.” She notes that this restoration project will serve as a blueprint for the enhancement of many other tributaries across the southeast. The hope is that Crayfish Creek will become a key place for wild trout to spawn; at a work day in early March, a juvenile brown trout was found in the stream. More information can be found here.

Chattahoochee Slider Turtles

In a wonderful video that the whole family will love, CRNRA Ranger Jerry Hightower explains everything you need to know about the slider turtles that inhabit the Chattahoochee River system and its riparian lands: yellow-bellied (native) and red-eared (non-native, photo). Enjoy the video here. Learn more about the abundant wildlife in our national park here.  

Your Zen Moment at the River

If you can’t make it to the CRNRA due to the pandemic or other reasons, bookmark this peaceful video and watch it at least once a day. We promise that it will calm any frazzled nerves and put a smile on your face.

Things To Do

Social Distance Safely in the Park! Trails and the Chattahoochee River are open for your enjoyment, but facilities are not all open yet. Bring your own water bottles and “go before you go”. Thank you!

10th Annual SWEEP THE HOOCH Cleanup – Sat, Aug 29 (9am-Noon). Registration will open mid-summer. CNPC is again sponsoring the cleanup site at Whitewater/East Palisades. Join us!

Partner Activities:

Chattahoochee Nature Center

  • Most Popular Exhibit: Butterfly Encounter – June 6-Aug 2 (Daily). Details here.
  • Sunset Sips Concert with Ruby Reds (New Orleans Jazz) – June 11 (7-9:30pm) Details here

Chattahoochee Riverkeeper

  • Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival ONLINE – June 18 (6:30-9:30pm). Details here.

Your Shopping Can Help Our Park! Are you ordering more online to stock up on stay-at-home supplies? Help CNPC through Amazon Smile by registering at this link; a 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!

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!

Become a CNPC 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.

CNPC 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 managed by the National Park Service.

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Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy
P.O. Box 769332, Roswell, GA 30076
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