June 2021

National Trails Day – June 5

This upcoming Saturday, June 5th is National Trails Day! National Trails Day is sponsored by the American Hiking Society and is described as “a day of service and advocacy for hometown trails.” No matter how you interact with a trail - as a hiker, runner, walker, biker, kayaker, picnicker, photographer, painter, or something else - celebrate National Trails Day by spending some time in your favorite CRNRA unit. Perhaps you will take the opportunity to share your passion for the outdoors with someone else, be it a family member, neighbor, or friend (two or four-legged). Whatever you do, remember to be a good steward of the park, and leave no trace of your visit; this will allow others to continue to experience nature in a pristine environment.

Photo: Congratulations to Carol Lief, shown with her dog Jack at Island Ford, on completing the HikeCRNRA Challenge!

Exploring the National Park System in Georgia: The Appalachian National Scenic Trail

There are many incredible national parks in our country. Fortunate Atlantans have the beautiful CRNRA right in their backyards, but there are many other wonderful national park system units, drives, trails, and even a national seashore in the state of Georgia. This year we are highlighting some of these areas and encouraging their exploration.

The Appalachian Trail, generally referred to as the AT, is a long-distance hiking trail that is well-known throughout the world. But few hikers know that its official name is the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and that it is a unit of the National Park System. This unique national park traverses the Appalachian Mountains, starting at Georgia’s Springer Mountain and continuing 2,180+ miles to Maine’s Mt. Katahdin, marked continuously by its trademark 2x6 inch white blaze. The AT was conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937. Today the AT is managed under cooperative arrangements between the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, and Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies, and 31 “maintaining” trail clubs. In Georgia, the AT is located within the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest and is maintained by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club (GATC), which was founded in 1930. Construction and maintenance of this national park is a superb example of volunteerism in our country.

We are fortunate in Georgia to host approximately 80 miles of this public footpath, including the southern terminus at Springer Mt. And a bonus to those of us who focus much of our time and attention on the Chattahoochee River, the AT in Georgia includes Chattahoochee Gap and Chattahoochee Spring, where our wonderful river begins. We suggest that the 2.5 mile hike up the Jack’s Knob Trail to the AT at Chattahoochee Gap to see where the river begins would be a great introduction to the AT.

The GATC’s website is a good place to learn more about the AT in Georgia: Georgia AT-Club Home Page - Georgia Appalachian Trail Club (georgia-atclub.org). The National Park Service Appalachian National Scenic Trail (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov) and Appalachian Trail Conservancy Appalachian Trail Conservancy  websites are good sources of information on the entire trail. As a reminder, please respect yourself and our public lands by being prepared, knowing your limits, and leaving no trace other than footprints.

Photo: AT blaze and plaque on Springer Mt, the southern terminus of the AT

Join the Great American Campout on

June 26, 2021

Save the date for Saturday, June 26th and the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Campout! This event, along with National Trails Day, is part of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s Great Outdoors Month. Originally known as Great Outdoors Week, it was established in 1998 by former President Bill Clinton, but has grown substantially in the years since to encompass the entire month of June. CNPC is excited to join in the celebration of America’s public lands and waterways, especially those of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

With a theme of “Camp in. Camp out. Camp on!,” the Great American Campout encourages Americans to spend an evening connecting with nature and learning about wildlife in a way that works for them. Camping for the purposes of this event is incredibly flexible – participants can camp at a campground, nearby park (where permitted), in a backyard, in an RV, or even in a living room! Fun ideas and family-friendly ways to experience and connect with nature including crafts, games, stargazing guides, and camping recipes are available on the National Wildlife Federation website.

Photo by Anjanettew 

Cochran Shoals Overlook Update

Watch for construction over the next two weeks as the contractor finishes the remaining two of three Cochran Shoals overlooks! 

Help CNPC finish this project and continue to support CRNRA with other much needed upgrades. Another $5,000 toward the costs of the overlook replacements is needed. Please consider a donation towards this project.

Donate to Cochran Shoals Overlooks

GPB's Georgia's Water Live Exploration: Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

In the latest video in the series on Georgia's Water (Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area | Georgia's Water | PBS LearningMedia), Park Ranger Jerry Hightower explains the importance of the Chattahoochee River in supplying freshwater to Georgia residents and the purpose of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in metro Atlanta. Ranger Hightower also explains the importance of water conservation and taking care of our freshwater sources. The video content and companion materials follow curriculum guidelines for grades 3-5 and 6-8.

Georgia's Water Live Exploration provides students with virtual field trips to learn about the water cycle, water treatment, and ways to help protect our freshwater systems. The Georgia's Water series provides content to meet educational standards and includes support materials for teachers and discussion questions. 

For more information on the Georgia's Water series, go to https://gpb.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/georgias-water/.

Flora and Fauna in the Park – Poison Ivy

    Springtime brings many cyclical changes, such as warmer temperatures, longer days, and new flora and fauna. These annual changes are always welcome and eagerly anticipated, with one notable exception – poison ivy. Chances are good that if you are an outdoorsman of any sorts, you have encountered this devilish plant or one its close relatives, namely poison oak and poison sumac. If you have never had the pleasure, consider yourself lucky.

    Poison ivy is widespread across the United States except in Hawaii and Alaska. It takes the form of a vine or shrub and is commonly found alongside trails, growing on trees and poles, or climbing atop low plants. With its three shiny leaves, smooth or toothed edges, and greenish-reddish color, poison ivy is easily recognizable. It is helpful to familiarize yourself with the appearance of poison ivy and keep the adage, “leaves of three, leave it be,” in mind when spending time outdoors.

    The itching, rash, and blisters that accompany an encounter with poison ivy are caused by urushiol oil. Urushiol oil is long lasting and can persist for months on clothing, shoes, pets, outdoor gear, gardening tools and more. Any exposed skin that comes into contact with this oil will start to itch and form a rash within 1 – 3 days after the initial exposure. You may notice a rash on your arm one day and on your leg the next, leading you to believe the rash is spreading. However, according to the FDA, it is actually the amount of oil and rate of absorption that determine when the rash appears on the body.

    For most people, poison ivy will clear up on its own within one to four weeks. However, that is quite a long time to be uncomfortable, so you may want to consider trying a household remedy to provide relief as needed. Pastes made with oatmeal or baking soda can relieve the itch while calamine lotion or zinc acetate help to dry the rash out. A doctor may prescribe an oral corticosteroid for severe cases.

    The best remedy of all for poison ivy is to simply take a few extra measures to avoid exposure. First, when spending time outdoors, wear long sleeves, pants, and closed toe shoes as much as possible. Second, wash your hands and any exposed areas of skin with soap and water as soon as you return indoors. And finally, wipe down or wash gear and pets if you suspect contact has occurred. These small steps can make a big difference and help you remain poison ivy-free as you enjoy the outdoors.

    Photo by VoxPhoto

    Updates & Opportunities 

    Join us for Yoga in the Park with SweetWater!

    Love the park and that peaceful feeling of being immersed outdoors? Join us on Thursday, June 17th from 6:00-8:00 pm at the Paces Mill Unit of CRNRA for Yoga in the Park with SweetWater. Enjoy a 60-minute traditional flow class along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, followed by healthy snacks and a cool SweetWater Brewing Company beverage. Stretch, Sip and Relax - the perfect way to end the day! 

    The class size will be limited, so register soon to reserve your space. To sign up, go to Yoga in the Park 

    The class is $15 for CNPC members, $20 for non-members, and includes a yoga class, light snack and SweetWater beverage(s). All proceeds from the event go to CNPC to help us help the park you love. You must be 21 years-old or over to attend. Please bring your own yoga mat. There will be no mats available to borrow.

    Book of the Month - Feast by Firelight – Simple Recipes for Camping, Cabins & the Great Outdoors By Emma Frisch 

    Outdoor enthusiasts and foodies, rejoice! Never again will cooking while camping be bland, boring, and limited to foods such as hotdogs, hobo stew, apple turnovers, and smores. There is not anything wrong with those foods, but there are more appetizing things to eat while dining al fresco.

    In Feast by Firelight – Simple Recipes for Camping, Cabins & the Great Outdoors, Emma Frisch completely reimagines the outdoor cooking experience. With 70 easy and accessible recipes, beautiful photography, and helpful illustrations, Frisch’s cookbook will nourish both the body and mind. Shopping lists, menu planners, and clever guides such as “how to pack a cooler” are what set this cookbook apart from the rest of the pack and will forever transform the way that you think about cooking outdoors.

    Family Fun – Introducing Kids to Hiking and Camping

    If this past year of virtual schooling has taught us anything, it is that children need to spend time outdoors. Numerous scientific studies have shown how time spent outside yields positive effects on a child’s growth and development. Nature stimulates young brains, provides a safe way to burn off energy, builds confidence, and sparks creativity, to name but a few of the benefits. Introducing babies and children to the outdoors at a young age is one of the best ways to foster a lifelong love and appreciation of the natural world. Whether your passion is hiking, camping, paddling, or something else, read on for tips on how to easily introduce your child to your favorite outdoor activity.

    1. Start small. Your first outdoor experience with your kiddo should not be too long or strenuous. You want to pique their interest and leave them with a desire to return.
    2. Set expectations. The goal is to simply to have a fun outdoor excursion and enjoy spending time together. It is ok if you do not hike the entire trail.
    3. Fuel your adventure. Bring plenty of kid-friendly snacks and water. You might be ok with a handful of trail mix or energy gel, but would your child prefer to eat something else? Remember to clean up and leave no trace – your kiddo can help make sure you leave a clean site.
    4. It is never too early to get outside. Did you know that spending time in nature has a calming effect on infants and toddlers? Consider purchasing a baby carrier or renting a pack from REI if your little one is not yet walking. The key is to get outside when your child is young and wants to spend time with you.
    5. Be positive and patient. Having the right mindset and attitude can make (or break) an afternoon. Remember that children will mimic adult emotions.
    6. Gear up. Make sure your little buddy has the right gear – good clothes, shoes, and socks make a difference. Sunscreen and bug spray, too. You can handle hiking with a blister, but a child cannot.
    7. Play games. Ditch the electronic devices and instead keep your child entertained and focused on your surroundings. Stop to appreciate a remarkable view or wade in the creek and turn over rocks. Bend down to your child’s level for a game of I Spy and appreciate how the world looks a little different from a child’s height.
    8. Reflect on your experience. If your child does not immediately fall asleep in the car after their outdoor excursion, use the ride home to talk about the experience. What did they like? What did they dislike? What could have gone differently? Understanding your child’s thoughts and perspective can help you plan an even better second (and third, fourth, fifth…) outdoor adventure.  

    What other tips do you have for getting outdoors with children? Respond to this newsletter or share your best tips on CNPC’s Facebook page.

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    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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