October 2022

In Full Color 

Atlanta is known for its hot summers and mild winters, but, according to most Atlantans (including me), the fall is our best season, and the best place to get out and enjoy the awesome weather and the turning of the leaves is the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA). 

From Bowmans Island in Cumming and Sugarhill all the way south to East Palisades in Sandy Springs there are incredible opportunities to get outside to hike, bike, run and forest bathe in the nation’s 22nd most visited national park. With varied elevation and topography including cliffs, valleys, creeks and streams, the park units offer a range of microclimates boasting a wonderful palette of fall colors. 

In the late summer/early fall you can catch cardinal flowers blooming, and a bit later you’ll see red maples turn shades of bright red and crimson, yellow goldenrod wildflowers, and ironwood trees darkening to a deep purple. While Georgia is known for sprawling pine forests, the river boasts large swaths of native hardwood trees which are amazing to view in the fall.  

For a moderate level hiker, the overlook in East Palisades is accessible by parking at Indian Trail or Whitewater Creek and offers an expansive view of the river. Or check out the covered bridge in Roswell that provides a stunning entrance to the Vickery Creek unit. Each of the park's 15 units display additional splendor and are easily accessible. We encourage everyone to get out and enjoy one of the units near you this fall and take in everything the park has to offer.

By John Crandall, CNPC Board

Photos by Tom Wilson

Chat with former Board President Phillip Hodges

Last week, I had the opportunity to have lunch with Phillip Hodges, past president of Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy (CNPC). Of course, many of you probably know or know of Phillip and his involvement with the Conservancy.  

We caught up for a bit, then the conversation shifted to CNPC and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. I mentioned being about half-way through the HikeCRNRA challenge, which he had already completed. Later I learned that he had hiked the Appalachian Trail and also competed in the Chattahoochee River Canoe & Kayak Race from Helen to Atlanta - which he and his partner won once. 

After retiring, Phillip began exploring water issues and even took a course at Georgia Tech taught by Sally Bethea, another past president of CNPC. They talked about CNPC and of him joining the board, which he did in 2017. For him, the CRNRA is where two of his favorite pastimes - paddling and hiking - come together.  

When asked about the status of CNPC, he mentioned that the organization is in a really good position for growth - both in terms of members and projects - and to broaden its contributions to the park, adding that it's important to continue growing donations and grant funding to help maintain this valuable resource. 

The CRNRA is enjoyed by over 3.3 million visitors every year - mostly locals but also people from around the US and the world. Phillip suggested trying to imagine living in Atlanta without having real access to the Chattahoochee River for paddling or hiking. It was really tough for me to imagine Atlantans not being able to enjoy the 15 park units including access to the 48 miles of National Water Trail.   

We are fortunate that there were a group of dedicated individuals that worked to save the land and create the park and we are thankful that people like Phillip continue to work to preserve and improve it for the physical and mental wellbeing of the community. 

By Mark Sauer, CNPC Board

Student Conservation Association 

Trail Crew Update 

Thank you to everyone who made a donation to help us fund a Student Conservation Association (SCA) trail crew. The four-person crew are all SCA alumni, and two are Georgie natives. They begin their work at the park this week. 

The SCA crew​'s first three weeks will be focused on training, including wilderness first aid, chain saw​, and trail maintenance courses. ​Later in October, they will begin working on trails in the Palisades unit. In addition to the Palisades, they will spend the next four months rehabilitating priority trails in the Island Ford, Vickery Creek, Gold Branch, and Cochran Shoals units. By January 2023, the crew will have rehabilitated approximately 50% of the trails marked for Heavy Maintenance in the forthcoming NPS Trails Management Plan. 

​Beyond trail work, park staff are hosting resumé workshops, organizing trainings on the federal hiring process, and coordinating networking opportunities for the crew members. CRNRA and CNPC hope that this experience can be a valuable opportunity to position the crew members for future professional opportunities in the conservation sector.

We are looking forward to getting to know the group as they help rebuild and improve miles of badly eroded trails that have been identified for immediate need. 

Upcoming Events 

October Community Hike

Oct. 15, 

9 AM - 1 PM


Tai Chi

Oct. 19, 

9:30 - 11 AM


High School Cleanup

Oct. 22, 

9 AM - 12 PM


Tree Id Walk

Oct. 29, 

9:30 - 11 AM


Become a 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.

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Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy  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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