April  2022

Celebrating the Park and the People who Worked to Create it  

Our first fundraising event Party for the Park on March 15 was a success, raising over $85,000 to fund a youth trail crew and help us continue to provide the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area with the support it requires and deserves. The trail crew will work to repair six-miles of trail beginning late this summer. A special shout-out to our generous donor who matched every dollar raised ($26,250) for the youth trail crew!  

All attendees will agree that the highlight of the evening was the premiere of the oral history of the park, River Rats and Junior Leaguers The Story Behind the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. What made this moment special was that many of the people interviewed in the video and their families were in attendance. Please take the time to view the oral history, links below, to feel inspired by how this small group helped create our well-loved national park. 

7-minute version

16-minute version

Top row: Susan Buerki Crutchley (daughter of Roger), Henry Howell,  Marcia Bansley, Chatty Stover, Roger Buerki, Jerry Hightower, and  Karen Buerki (daughter of Roger).  
Front row:  Dyna Kohler,  David Eldridge, and Katie Stegall (granddaughter of the late Kay McKenzie).  

The Park wants your Input! Public Comment Open for Trails Plan 

The National Park Service is preparing a long-​range comprehensive Trails Management Plan for the entirety of the Chattahoochee River NRA. The 100% draft of the plan is available for a 30-day public comment period ending on April 30, 2022.

After working with trail users and professional trail designers, the park developed a set of ​proposed trail ​system design​s for each of its 15 land units. The proposed trail systems aim to improve the visitor experience, the structural and managerial sustainability of the park's trails, and its connectivity to planned and existing regional trail systems.

For more information on the trail plan and a link to provide comments, go to: parkplanning.nps.gov/crnra_trails

Park Highlight: Jones Bridge 

CRNRA’s Jones Bridge Unit has much to offer visitors. Located just outside of Atlanta in Johns Creek, this unit offers hiking trails, river access, fishing and a dedicated picnic area with facilities. Plus, the Jones Bridge Unit is home to the Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center (CREEC). 

There are two entrances to the Jones Bridge Unit off Barnwell Road. Each entrance provides access to approximately five miles of unique hiking trails that are moderate in difficulty. 

When parking at the main northern parking area, follow the trail north for a short distance to enjoy an amazing view from the new overlook that CNPC helped finance with a $50,000 grant through the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. 

From there, the trail continues south along the riverbank, periodically intersecting with man-made features such as a boat ramp, gravel road, and wooden bridges. An intersection eventually appears, offering hikers a choice to continue along the riverbank or shift further into the forest. Both paths lead to a seemingly endless amount of smaller, connecting trail segments. Repeat hikers of the Jones Bridge Unit rarely take the same route twice, leading to constant exploration. 

Hikers can go all the way to the Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center. CREEC is used for a variety of purposes including school field trips, conferences, and special events

With hiking, river access, fishing, picnic areas, and CREEC, the Jones Bridge Unit of CRNRA has something to offer everyone. To view a map, visit our website

Time for Discovery Days at Sibley Pond 

For eight years, CNPC in partnership with the CRNRA and Cobb County Water System, has hosted up to six hundred fourth graders from Cobb County Title 1 schools at Discovery Days at Sibley Pond. The program provides the children with the opportunity, most for the first time, to experience our local national park. It is always a memorable and exciting field trip for the children who participate in interactive educational stations, including boating around the pond, with park rangers and volunteers. Topics covered include lessons on the source of their drinking water, the Chattahoochee River, what lives in Sibley Pond, and the Food Web.  

Each child takes home educational materials to reinforce what they learned, and they also receive a one-year pass to any National Park so they can continue to learn in their national parks with their families. This year's field trips will take place at the Sope Creek entrance to the CRNRA April 13 - 22. 

Thank you to the UPS Foundation for generously funding the Spring 2022 Discovery Days at Sibley Pond, providing the opportunity for low-income, minority fourth-grade children to have a memorable one-day field trip to teach them the importance of our eco-system and our responsibility to take care of it. 

People of the Park: Dyna Kohler 

This month we had the opportunity to speak with Dyna Kohler, who has a long history of volunteering and supporting the CRNRA and CNPC. 

Since 1997, Dyna and her late husband John have volunteered for numerous park projects, and from 2012 - 2016 they both served on the board of the newly formed Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy (CNPC).

Most recently, Dyna and John commissioned the video “River Rats and Junior Leaguers” using Oral History recordings she and John collected regarding how the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area came to be (link in first article). 

Photo of Dyna and John Kohler

What is your favorite CRNRA park?

Canoeing the Palisades was one of my first dates with my husband John in the 1970s, with Tom & Gwen, friends who had introduced us. After work, we’d canoe through that magical mist from summer heat meeting cold waters.    

In the 90’s, we moved to a neighborhood near the Jones Bridge section of the Park.  Exploring the trail along the river, I saw blue herons on each side of the river and dubbed them the Fulton County heron and Gwinnett County heron. 

Do you have a National Park on your bucket list to visit?

I’ve visited many National Parks in my lifetime, but although I’m a native Texan, I’ve never been to Big Bend National Park (https://www.nps.gov/bibe/index.htm) so that is on my Bucket List.

I really like the oral history video you and John produced. How did you first get involved with the CRNRA? 

After moving near the Jones Bridge unit of the CRNRA, we met Jerry Hightower and volunteers who supported his educational programs. This began our relationship with the CRNRA. Over time we volunteered in various ways.

In 2012, we were recruited by Beth St. Jean to be on the new Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy (now CNPC). During this time, we began recording the stories of Jerry Hightower, Roger Buerki, and others about the beginnings of the CRNRA.  

Have you always liked the outdoors? 

Yes, however, we first lived on a farm in the Texas panhandle – flat and treeless, except for a few large elms around the house.  My Dad made sure we visited natural wonders, seashores, lakes, and rivers, and finally we moved to central Texas which fortunately has hills, trees, rivers, and lakes.

I moved to Atlanta in the 70s, and a wonderful older couple, the Engles introduced me to backpacking in North Georgia.  After I met my husband, camping and hiking were important in our relationship, providing space and time for sharing stories, so the Oral History video project was a natural for us.

Finally, do you have a favorite book or movie to recommend?

I’ve always enjoyed biographies, so Will Harlan’s book “Untamed” about Carol Ruckdeschel is a favorite. She is well known as a Cumberland Island resident and naturalist.  Before that, she also spent a lot of years living near the Chattahoochee.

Upcoming Events: 



7 - 9 PM




9 - 11 AM





9 AM - 12 PM 



MAY 15 

8 - 11:30 AM 



MAY 22

2 - 4:30 PM 


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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.

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