February 2022

#ParkLove #CNPC

Hello fellow Park lovers! Valentine's Day is only a few days away. It’s a perfect time to hike and enjoy the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) with those special to you. And a Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy (CNPC) membership makes a perfect Valentine’s gift, even for yourself!  While you are out enjoying the CRNRA please show the Park and CNPC some love by tagging your pics on social #ParkLove and #CNPC.

Photo by Tom Wilson

Get Ready to Party for the Park!

Join CNPC on Tuesday, March 15 for our first-ever fundraiser, Party for the Park! Mingle with other outdoor enthusiasts at SweetWater Brewing Company in Atlanta to celebrate and support the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

Attendees will be able to enjoy refreshing SweetWater brews, wine, dinner, and live music. In addition, we’ll have a robust silent auction of outdoor experiences and gear, restaurant gift cards, and local art, as well as a one-of-a-kind Wine Raffle.

Don’t miss out on this inaugural opportunity to gather with community members to support Atlanta’s favorite national park! Registration details and additional information about Party for the Park are available here.

Park Highlight: Abbotts Bridge & Settles Bridge

Abbotts Bridge and Settles Bridge are two of the smallest units in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Modest in size but mighty in splendor, these delightful park units should not be overlooked.

Settles Bridge is located in Suwanee, GA near the northern end of the CRNRA. The ~2.4-mile trail winds through the forest and offers scenic views of the Chattahoochee River. According to the National Park Service, the bridge was constructed in 1880 and served as an easier way to cross than the ferries that were common at the time. In fact, the steel frame that was Settles Bridge still spans the Chattahoochee, although the wooden planks that made it usable are long gone.

Abbotts Bridge is a short section of trail located in Duluth, GA. An out-and-back hike, the .4-mile trail goes along the Chattahoochee River. Because of its short distance and flat terrain, Abbotts Bridge is great for novice hikers and small children.

Trail maps for these units and completion forms for the HikeCRNRA program are available at Chattahoocheeparks.org. 

Photo of Settles Bridge by Tom Wilson

Partners for Life

Love is in the air, literally and figuratively, this February. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this month’s nature spotlight is focused on a species that mates for life – the Bald Eagle.

Since 1782, the Bald Eagle has been America’s national symbol; it was selected by the Second Continental Congress because it elicits a sense of strength, dignity, and pride. Easily identifiable, both male and female adult Bald Eagles have white heads and tails, chocolate brown bodies and wings, and yellow legs and beaks. It’s one of the largest raptors in North America with a wingspan of 80-inches.

Bald Eagles are found throughout the United States. Their primary habitat is forests that are close to water, and thus are frequently spotted along rivers, lakes, marshes, and the like. In metro Atlanta, the species can be seen nesting along the Chattahoochee. Bald Eagle nests, which can be 5-6 feet wide and 2-4 feet tall, are often built high up and near the trunk of a large tree. Bald Eagles mate for life and typically lay one to three eggs annually, using the same nesting site year after year. Like many other raptors, Bald Eagles primarily eat fish but will also hunt waterfowl, amphibians, and small mammals and scavenge for carrion or garbage.

While abundant today, Bald Eagles were on the brink of extinction in the relatively recent past. This was due to a combination of factors including habitat decline, an inaccurate threat perception by farmers, and the pesticide DDT. In the 1970s, the Bald Eagle was one of many species listed in the Endangered Species Act as being endangered or threatened (depending on location). Mitigation efforts such as nest site protection and captive breeding helped the species recover to sustainable levels by the mid-1990s. In 2007, the Bald Eagle was officially removed from the list of endangered species, marking a “happily ever after” for the nation. 

Photo of a Bald Eagle flying over the Chattahoochee River by Tom Wilson

People of the Park: Tom Wilson

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) is not just an urban park. Rather the park is really gorgeous. This beauty is on full display throughout Tom Wilson’s photography, much of which he provides to the CNPC. The following are highlights of our conversation with Tom.

What is your favorite CRNRA park? 

I really like the Palisades with the various entrances to the park. Entering from Akers Mill in the Spring will take you past blooming wildflowers such as Bloodroot and Trout Lilies as well as flowering plants like Mountain Laurel. East Palisades (White Water Creek and Indian Trail) has spectacular scenery and wildlife, including otters of which I’ve been able to get quite a few photographs.  

You have done your fair share of hiking and climbing. Are there one or two National Parks on your bucket list to visit?  

Top of the list is Yellowstone National Park (https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm), “the Serengeti of the States”.  For me it’s all about seeing the wildlife. Anytime would be great, but prefer wintertime. 

How did you get involved with the CNPC?

An interest in photography drew me into the park. I worked for the Boy Scouts of America, and with the help of a colleague, Lynn LaBudde, organized Scout “good turn days” - large groups of scouts to work in the CRNRA pulling out privet and picking up trash. Also I was involved with the Georgia Nature Photographers Association and we would volunteer to take pictures of Sweep the Hooch and other river festivals. One thing leads to another. 

Sounds like you definitely enjoy the CRNRA. Have you always enjoyed the outdoors?   

I was raised in Huntsville, Alabama and enjoyed hiking, camping and canoeing as a kid. After graduating from the University of Alabama, I moved to Atlanta to work with the Boy Scouts of America. Really enjoyed helping to get kids into the outdoors and involved with volunteering - to be aware is to care. 

Thank you for talking with us. One final question, do you have a favorite nature book or movie you would like to share? 

Can I mention two books? The first is The Riverkeeper's Guide to the Chattahoochee by Fred Brown, from which I’ve learned much about the Chattahoochee. The other book is Wild Spectacle by Janisse Ray. Reading her stories made me think about my own experiences.

Upcoming Events: 

Community Hike

Feb. 5

10 AM - 12:30 PM 


Trail Day

Feb. 5

8:45 AM - 1 PM 


Winter Forest Walk 

Feb. 13

9 AM - 12 PM 


Community Thank You:  SweetWater Brewing Company

Cheers to SweetWater Brewing Company for all of the ways they support CNPC!  Our Party for the Park fundraiser would not be possible without SweetWater's donation of event space and beer, and Yoga in the Park would not be the same without cool post work-out beverages! 

SweetWater is hosting a 25th Anniversary Party on Feb. 19th!  Use code CNPCGA when purchasing your ticket and SweetWater will donate $5 to CNPC for every code redeemed. Just another reason we love our friends at SweetWater Brewing Company.  Learn more at SweetWater 25th Anniversary


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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.

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