July 2020

Promoting Diversity in the National Parks

The National Park Service (NPS) recognizes that America’s diversity gives this country its unique strength, resilience, and richness. According to the NPS, diversity is used broadly to refer to demographic variables such as race, religion, color, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, education, geographic origin, and skill characteristics. 

Fundamentally, all Americans must have the opportunity to experience and enjoy our public lands and waters; all segments of the population must have the chance to engage in decisions about how our lands and waters are managed; and the federal workforce must be drawn from the diversity in our country. The NPS further recognizes that its goals in the 21st century cannot be achieved unless the agency improves on its record of including this diversity in all of its activities. As a partner organization to the NPS, the Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy (CNPC) stands with the NPS in its efforts to improve diversity in all park-related activities.

Our public lands and waters are treasured because they help tell the story of our nation, preserving history, protecting cultural sites and honoring the accomplishments of American leaders from Harriet Tubman to Abraham Lincoln to Cesar Chavez. The NPS has sought to expand access to public lands and waters, especially to those who have not regularly visited our country’s great outdoors, through initiatives such as Every Kid Outdoors, which is supported by CNPC every year.

Conservationists and former Atlantans Audrey and Frank Peterman (photo) have been working on diversity in national parks for decades. Learn more here.

The Annual Sweep the Hooch Cleanup is a GO!

Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy is proud to again sponsor the 10th Annual Sweep the Hooch Cleanup on Saturday, August 29 (9am-Noon). Volunteers can choose to walk, wade, or paddle at more than fifty cleanup sites from Lake Lanier downstream through the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) to West Point Lake. Last year, more than 1,100 volunteers pulled thirty-two tons of trash from the river, its tributaries and lakes. Let’s do it again!

As in previous years, the CNPC cleanup location will be at Whitewater in the East Palisades unit of the CRNRA (4010 Whitewater Creek Rd, Atlanta). Of course, you can volunteer for any of the sites along the river, but we hope you’ll join us and meet CNPC board members and supporters at Whitewater. Register here, on or after July 4.

COVID-19 NOTICE: Volunteer safety always comes first! If you are experiencing any signs of illness or suspect that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please do not come to our cleanup. Following CDC guidelines, we will adhere to the six-foot recommended distance between volunteers. All cleanup supplies will be provided, including gloves and hand sanitizer, but feel free to bring your own. Face masks are not required in an outdoors environment, but we encourage you to wear them. See you at the river!

Outdoor Club Celebrates Twenty Years

For nearly twenty years, Atlanta Outdoor Club (AOC) has done an impressive job of equitably and efficiently organizing free hikes and kayaking trips in the CRNRA and elsewhere. You just have to be quick – very quick – to register for the popular outings, which can fill in minutes, literally. With smaller group sizes required now, because of the pandemic, it’s even more important to register early. The good news is that AOC offers many outings, even on the same day. AOC officials and trip leaders are enthusiastic and extremely organized; they track every hike and member participation. 

CNPC member and AOC secretary Joyce Taaffe says that there have been 14,312 events held since AOC incorporated in 2000 – with eighteen events held in one single day a few years ago! Retired, Joyce is a regular hiker, whose participation record over ten years is nearing a remarkable 2,000 events.  Susan Ferguson, another CNPC member and AOC leader, who discovered the great outdoors while living in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, has a new role as the liaison between the outdoor club and the national park. Her goal: increase awareness of park needs, provide volunteer events, grow AOC participation, and encourage stewardship of the CRNRA and its trails.

In February, the first official AOC workday in the park was held in Vickery Creek (photo); a badly-eroded section of trail near the Oxbo trailhead was re-routed and a heavy log was moved to form a bridge over a flooded section. More volunteer projects are planned. To learn more about the Atlanta Outdoor Club and get involved, click here. To become a member and supporter of CNPC, click here.

Park Profile: Beth Wheeler Byrd

Beth Wheeler Byrd says that national parks have “been in her DNA,” since she was a child growing up in Virginia, where she camped and hiked with her family. When she decided to spend her summers during college as a seasonal interpretive ranger for the NPS, it came as no surprise to her friends and family. A degree in historic preservation from the University of Mary Washington led to a job in cultural resource archaeology, which was followed by a move to Georgia for graduate school in Athens and a masters in cultural landscapes. Beth’s career with the NPS began fifteen years ago with an internship at the agency’s regional office in Atlanta; it led to a permanent position.

Today, as Acting Chief of Planning and Resource Stewardship for the CRNRA, Beth is thrilled to have a position within a national park, especially one where she has worked on several special projects, including a cultural landscape report for Hyde Farm. As the supervisor for a team of seven park employees handling all resource management, interpretation and volunteer programming in the park, she has her hands full, but emphasizes that her staff are “exceptional, dedicated and knowledgeable.” With summer camps closed due to Covid-19, Beth is exploring each of the fifteen park units within the CRNRA with her lucky sons who are nine and seven. Please say hello to Beth, if you see her in the park!

Park Visitation, Local Economic Benefits Jump

A new NPS report shows that 3.4 million visitors to the CRNRA yielded a cumulative impact on the local metro Atlanta economy of $231 million in 2019 – significantly higher than in previous years. Acting Superintendent Ann Honious said: “National parks are a vital part of our nation’s economy, especially for park gateway communities, such as those along the Chattahoochee River, where millions of park visitors enjoy outdoor recreation opportunities each year.”

To learn more about national parks in Georgia and how the NPS works with communities to preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/georgia.

Adventure on the River in Roswell

Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) has opened the doors to its newest location on the Chattahoochee in Roswell, marking the eighth adventure operation for the outfitter across the Southeast and the second expansion within metro Atlanta. “The Chattahoochee River is an incredible resource for the Roswell and greater Atlanta communities. We are very excited to be able to open this year, despite all of the challenges,” says General Manager George Virgo.

Rent tubes, rafts, canoes, kayaks, SUPs and bikes at the Roswell Outpost (203 Azalea Dr. Roswell, GA); Reservations: 828-785-4834. Details here.

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!

REI Virtual! Build Your Outdoor Gathering Kit Thursday, July 9 (5-6pm). Ready to visit the park, but struggling to find the right essentials? Join an REI Atlanta expert for a virtual guide to creating the perfect mobile outdoor entertainment kit. Details here.

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!

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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