CRBI to host Aug. 27 paddle on Etowah River

Aticle Published in Rome News Tribune 08/22/2011


TheCoosa River Basin Initiative(CRBI) and Upper Etowah River Alliance (UERA) will host a canoe/kayak paddle on the Etowah River Aug. 27 from Old Federal Road to East Cherokee Drive in Forsyth and Cherokee counties.

The trip will allow local residents to explore a 15-mile stretch of the Etowah highlighted by several Native American fish weirs and the McGraw-Ford Wildlife Management Area.

Shuttles will be provided for a small fee and boat rentals are available. The trip is free to CRBI and UERA members. CRBI and UERA are offering joint year memberships for $35 through these trips. Pre-registration is required.

To register for the trip, pay membership dues and/or rent a boat,click hereor contact Joe Cook at 706-232-2724 or

CRBI and UERA are working with multiple stakeholders, including the City of Canton to create a 160-mile Etowah River canoe and kayak trail stretching from Dawson County to Floyd County.

The trail would include numerous public boat launches as well as informational kiosks at key river access points.

The City of Canton is currently moving forward with plans to install a new canoe/kayak launch on the Etowah with funds that CRBI secured through a legal settlement with the developers of the Canton Marketplace shopping complex on Ga. 20.

The Rome-based Riverkeeper group appealed state and federal environmental permits for the project, ultimately forcing the Sembler Co. to minimize impacts to streams at the

Canton Marketplace site and provide $500,000 to purchase and preserve land in the upper Etowah River basin.

“In the Etowah River, Cherokee County has a real recreational gem,” said Joe Cook, CRBI Executive Director & Riverkeeper. “Unfortunately, with the exception of Lake Allatoona, there is not a single public boat launch on the Etowah in the county. As the area continues to grow the importance of outdoor recreational amenities will also grow. We need to take advantage of the beautiful resource that we have in the Etowah.”

Provided suitable water levels, participants in Saturday’s paddle will also get a chance to view several Native American fish dams dating back 500 to 1,000 years. These V-shaped dams were built by ancestors of the Cherokee Indians who ingeniously used them to capture fish.

The Etowah is considered one of the country’s most biologically diverse river systems with 76 native fish species. It is home to 10 imperiled aquatic species, including the federally protected Cherokee, Etowah and Amber darters.

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