October 2020

Sope Creek Love!

We are officially underway in the field with the “Sope Creek Love” project to restore 6.7 miles of multi-use trails in the Sope Creek and Columns Drive areas of the Cochran Shoals Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA). 

This collaborative project, funded by REI, the Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy (CNPC), MTB Atlanta, and the CRNRA, provides $50,000 for trail improvements. The project will include heavy maintenance on most of the degraded sections of multi-use trails which are popular with mountain bikers, trail runners and walkers. Certain more degraded sections which are not easily rehabilitated will be rerouted in the future following the park-wide comprehensive trail plan undertaken by CRNRA and CNPC. The project also includes planned upgrades to signage to improve the visitor experience. The trail maintenance work is being performed by MTB Atlanta Pro Trails and a Student Conservation Association trail crew under the supervision of Dave Thomas of the CRNRA. Thank you to our partners REI and MTB Atlanta for helping fund and execute the project.

Watch for maintenance on the trails in October through December. Trails will remain open during this important restoration and maintenance work.

Love the trails? Contributions in support of the project can be made to CNPC at www.chattahoocheeparks.org or MTB Atlanta at https://mtbatlanta.com.

Thank You To Our Retiring Board Members

It is with sincere appreciation and a tinge of sadness that we honor four retiring CNPC board members. All four have worked tirelessly for the board and as advocates for the CRNRA and the National Park Service, heralding the organization through enormous growth in membership, programming and fundraising efforts.

Sally Bethea, who worked on the CRNRA's first general management plan in the 1970s while in graduate school, served as board chair, CNPC community advocate and rockstar fundraiser. Bob Ruby, vice-president, avid hiker and longtime volunteer for the CRNRA Volunteers in Parks (VIP) program, championed the CRNRA's first comprehensive trail system assessment. Tammy Bates handled many wonderful events for CNPC and has famously organized hundreds of cleanups in the Chattahoochee watershed. Jennifer McCoy led CNPC's education efforts, working with National Park Service rangers to bring students to the river for outdoor learning and water-related activities.

Sally, Bob, Tammy, and Jen helped build CNPC into the organization it is today and will always be special members of the CNPC family. Expect to see them on the park trails and on the river!

A Foray Among The Fungi

Different mushrooms can be found in the CRNRA during different seasons. Fall is a great time to see the CRNRA’s impressive mushroom collection, and it is prime season for Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa or Polyporus frondosus). This mushroom is found as a five to 20 inch cluster of flat, overlapping caps and is normally found between September and November. With the cooling weather, other noteworthy mushrooms along the trail include chicken of the woods, lion’s mane, and oyster mushrooms.

Hen of the Woods is seasonal and can weigh between five and 100 pounds. You can often return to the same place one year later and find another cluster since the aboveground mushroom is just the fruiting body of the fungus itself. Clusters of this type of mushroom are often found at the base of deciduous trees like oaks. The fungus’ mycelium threads in the soil interact with the tree roots in a process called mycorrhizae, which helps the tree take in nutrients more efficiently. Fungi are also largely responsible for the decomposition of organic matter and the return of nutrients to the soil. Without fungi, forests would regenerate more slowly.

Take a hike in the CRNRA and enjoy the wide array of mushrooms along the way. If you see a Hen of the Woods, just remember that the foraging of fungi in the CRNRA is prohibited. Fungi are incredibly diverse and fascinating, so next time you see one, take a moment for a closer look.

Photo: Evan Barnard 

Crayfish Creek Restoration Project

The Upper Chattahoochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited is working with its project partners to restore Crayfish Creek, a heavily impaired tributary of the Chattahoochee River. The project will improve water quality and wild trout spawning habitat through streambank restoration and removal of invasive plants combined with the replacement of native species.

To learn more about the Crayfish Creek Restoration Project, visit the project website:


Great things happen when we work together. Recognizing the Project Partners:

  • Upper Chattahoochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited
  • Oconee River Chapter of Trout Unlimited
  • UGA 5Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited College Program
  • Georgia Council of Trout Unlimited
  • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (NPS)
  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR)
  • Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy
  • Chattahoochee River Keeper
  • UGA Warnell School of Forestry & College of Environmental Design
  • River Through Atlanta
  • Trout Unlimited National

Photo: Cathy Barnard

Updates and Opportunities

September Matching Donation Fundraiser
In the month of September, we collected over $30,000 in our matching fundraiser under which our board matched $15,000 of generous donations. Thanks to everyone for helping us meet our September matching donation goal and end our fiscal year well-positioned to start new projects in fiscal 2021.  

Jones Bridge Overlook Pier Replacement Project is Underway!
The construction phase of the pier replacement project is now underway. Access to the pier will be closed during construction, but soon there will be a beautiful new observation deck and signage for park visitors to enjoy an upclose view of the shoals and opportunities for fishing.

Explore a New Park!
Is your favorite CRNRA unit overcrowded with people enjoying the outdoors? Are you looking to try a new trail? Try a different park unit! The CRNRA has 15 park units along 48 miles of the Chattahoochee River. Every unit is unique – try to see them all. For a map of the CRNRA:

Take the challenge!
While you are exploring different parks, sign up for the Hikes for Health Challenge, running from August 2020 to June 2021. Register here and hike ten different parks in metro Atlanta, including the CRNRA, in this challenge supported by national recreation retailer REI.

 Photo: Evan Barnard 

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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