January 2023

Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy Celebrates its

10th Birthday! 

After more than nine months of organizing by a small group of dedicated volunteers, on November 1, 2012, the Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy was born as the official friends group and primary philanthropic partner of the CRNRA. By our 10th birthday on November 1, 2022, CNPC raised more than $1.3 million in support of our mission to build a community of support for the CRNRA and promote stewardship of its natural and cultural resources. And we are just getting started!

In our first 10 years we have completed many impressive improvement projects in the CRNRA, such as replacing the kid’s fishing pier at Island Ford, constructing a 106-step Vickery Creek staircase, rehabilitating the Sope Creek multi-use trails, replacing river overlooks in the Jones Bridge and Cochran Shoals units, and initiating a Lead the Pack, Bag and Bin It campaign. Also, starting in 2016, we have worked with the park to create a Comprehensive Trails Management Plan, completed in 2022, to improve trails throughout the park. We are continuing this focus on physical improvements in the park with current projects to create a pollinator garden at Island Ford, replace three damaged bridges, improve six miles of badly eroded trails, and work toward funding implementation of the Comprehensive Trails Management Plan. CNPC has also created exciting programs to bring people to the CRNRA, including Discovery Days at Sibley Pond, Community Hikes, HikeCRNRA, and Corporate and Community Group Volunteer events in the park. Again, all of that is the work of a 10-year-old. And we are just getting started!

In our first 10 years, CNPC has been fueled primarily by volunteers giving their personal time for the benefit of the park. The number of volunteers making significant contributions in our 10 years since inception is too long to list, but here are a few honorable mentions:  

From the founding board, Beth St. Jean (President), Cheryl Lenker (Secretary), and Bill Goldstrohm, Jr., (Treasurer), as well as our second President, Jim Schulz, spent countless hours creating founding documents and working to establish CNPC’s 501(c)3 non-profit tax status. Later, Dyna Kohler and her late husband John focused on the history of CRNRA, funding and helping create a fascinating oral history video, River Rats and Junior Leaguers, documenting the founding of CRNRA. And our third, fourth and fifth Presidents, Sally Bethea, Phillip Hodges, and Graham Dorian, ramped up fundraising for CNPC to become the organization you see today, positioning a successful 10-year-old CNPC to become a fast-growing teenager with grand ambitions. 

Incorporated as the Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy with a December 31 fiscal year end, in 2017 we changed our fiscal year end to September 30 to match the federal government fiscal year, and in 2020 we changed our name to Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy to help better identify the park we support as a unit of the National Park System. 

Together with you, our dedicated supporters, we can look forward to doing even more to improve our park during our second decade. Thank you for a great first 10! And remember….we are just getting started!

We invite you to join us to celebrate 10 years of success and prepare for the next 10 years at our annual Party for the Park on March 21 at SweetWater Brewing Company. Learn more  

Written by Phillip Hodges

Image by Tom Wilson 

The Park is More Popular Than Ever!

Surprise, the number of visits to the CRNRA grew (again) in 2022! Based on the visitation through November 2022, CRNRA is on track to welcome an estimated 3,579,000 visitors. That's more visitation than 95.3% of the other national park units in the United States received in 2021! This growth shows the value of our park to the ATL.

And the number one visited unit is Cochran Shoals that received over 1.4 million visits this year, making up more than 40% of the park's total visitation. If you are looking for more solitude when you visit the park, the northern units are less crowded.

So keep telling your family, friends and neighbors about this wonderful outdoor resource and how they can support the CRNRA through CNPC. And perhaps set a New Years resolution to complete the HikeCRNRA challenge. 

Written by Mark Sauer

Time to Begin the HikeCRNRA Challenge! 

HikeCRNRA challenges you to take your hiking to all the places the park has to offer by hiking the parks 66+ miles of trails. The CRNRA has 15 units along 48 miles of river to explore with fantastic nature, waterfalls, bridges, overlooks and curiosities to see.  When you complete the challenge you will be recognized as a HikeCRNRA finisher and receive a complimentary CNPC membership and the coveted HikeCRNRA patch.

Make 2023 the year you challenge yourself to hike all of the trails in the park. It is a great way to spend time with friends or family while exploring our beautiful national park. Learn more about HikeCRNRA challenge. 

Written by John Harper Crandall

A Company that Hikes Together! 

Pattillo Industrial Real Estate (PIRE) challenged everyone on their team to hike at least one section of the CRNRA with the goal that each of the park's 66 miles of trail is traveled by April 31, 2023. They have a map of the CRNRA and its 15 units along 48 miles of the Chattahoochee hung in their break room for everyone to initial the sections hiked. It has been a fun bonding experience for the PIRE team.  

Board of Directors Chair, Lynn Pattillo, is leading by example and has already hiked all 66 miles on her own completing the HikeCRNRA challenge!  Lynn is quoted as saying, "... hiking the trails was an invigorating way to relieve stress and improve my mental wellness. Thank you to the Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy, the National Park System, and its rangers for this incredible amenity in Atlanta’s backyard."

We appreciate Lynn and PIRE for building awareness of our beautiful national park through their hiking challenge. You can learn more about HikeCRNRA and view trail maps for all the park units at www.ChattahoocheeParks.org

Photo of Lynn Pattillo and members of the PIRE team at Vickery Creek 

East Palisades Hiking Guide

    East Palisades is one of the most popular units in the CRNRA due to its fantastic views, elevation changes, streams and destinations like the ruins of the old fishing camp and the view platform for the Devils Race Course shoals. Parking is very limited so be sure to go at off peak times and perhaps avoid those beautiful weekend afternoons. The best times to visit this unit include early mornings, weekday lunches, or early evenings. Be sure to go to the overlook for a spectacular sunset, but head back quickly as it can get dark fast in the woods

    Link to East Palisades Trail Map including Parking Lot addresses 

    Written by John Harper Crandall

    Photo by Tom Wilson

    Pay for Your Pass!

    At $5 an entrance fee is not expensive and the funds go directly toward upkeep and improvement of the park. The park entrance fee is required by all park visitors whether you drive, walk or bike into the park. If you drive, the entrance fee includes parking. 

    Make sure to pay for your pass by using the QR code at the parking lot or some park units have a fee machine where you can pay by credit card. You can also purchase a day pass ($5) an annual pass ($40) or annual senior pass ($20) to the CRNRA online or at the Visitor Center at Island Ford.  Click here to buy one

    Celebrate with us! 


    March 21, 6 - 9 PM

    Reel Room at SweetWater Brewing Company 

    Beer, Wine, Music & Dinner 

    $100 Per Person

    Help us support the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, while enjoying an evening out with the Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy community. There will be SweetWater beverages, wine, delicious food, music and the opportunity to bid on some great outdoor-themed items at the silent auction. 


    Upcoming Events 

    Pollinator Garden Workday 

    Jan. 9 

    9 AM - 12 PM


    Community Hike 

    Jan. 21 

    9 AM - 12 PM


    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.

    Follow us on social! - #ChattahoocheeParks

    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
    View this email in your browser.