Annual Winter Paddle Not So "Polar" This Year

Rome News-Tribune Article Jan. 15, 2013


John Holderfield and his son Tyler were two among 150 paddlers who made their way down the Etowah River on Saturday for the seventh annual Coosa River Basin Initiative Polar Bear Paddle. The Holderfields are experienced paddlers — experienced and brave enough to bring along their dog Shelby — so they expected something else entirely. 


It wasn’t cold.


“I wish it was colder, I was looking forward to seeing ice on the side of the banks,” Tyler Holderfield said. “But I’m glad I’m able to wear sandals this year.”


The warmer-than-normal weather provided the boost that CRBI Executive Director Joe Cook was hoping for this year to bring out a huge crowd onto the river, even though he joked the paddle was now the “Global Warming Polar Bear Paddle.”


“It’s not very good weather for a Polar Bear paddle, but good weather for being on the river,” said Cook. 


The large number of paddlers also provided Cook with an opportunity to remind people about the ecological diversity of the river. 


“We’re really excited about having this many people out on our rivers, discovering its charms even in the dead of winter,” Cook said Saturday.


Paddlers will be able to get back out on the river with CRBI again on Feb. 23 during the Heart of the Community Walk, Bike and Paddle event. The paddling portion of the course will take participants from Ridge Ferry Park to Heritage Park. 


CRBI will also be sponsoring two paddles during March. On March 16 CRBI will be host at 10-mile paddle on the Etowah and Shoal Creek in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area near Dawson ville. The group will be back on the Etowah near Canton on March 23 for a Fish Weir paddle in Cherokee County. 


For more information about upcoming paddles and how to participate on these trips visit



To watch accompanying video and pictures, got - Annual paddle not so ‘polar’ this year 


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