Rome's Rivers

Published in the Rome News Tribune July 2010

Rome's Rivers: The rivers that snake through Rome provide a wealth of activities for area residents

by Severo Avila, Features Editor

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Unusually high temperatures are baking the Georgia clay and Rome residents are trying to cool down.

While out-of-town destinations may be tempting, local waterways provide an abundance of activities as well. And not many people realize that.

“No doubt most people don’t realize what we have in our own backyard,” said River Keeper Joe Cook of the Coosa River Basin Initiative. “We try to promote recreational use of our rivers. That includes paddle trips, canoeing, or boating. It’s basically free entertainment. Get out there. Fish, swim and have a good time.”

One point Cook emphasized was that swimming and fishing in local rivers are indeed options although many local residents believe the opposite.

“Our rivers are healthy,” he said. “Our rivers are much healthier than they were 30 years ago when we had no wastewater treatment plants. Of course at certain times — such as after heavy rains — there is the possibility that more contaminants can run into the rivers from the land. But other than that, swimming and fishing shouldn’t be a problem.”

Cook says the CRBI is especially excited about the opportunities on the Etowah River, saying that in many ways it is one of Floyd County’s best kept secrets.

“It’s the kind of river that any family can enjoy,” he said. “Unfortunately in Bartow and Floyd counties, there are only two developed public access points — Allatoona Dam and Grizzard Park — 42 miles apart. We’re trying to work to change that.”

The Etowah is home to more Native American fish weirs than in all Georgia rivers combined, Cook said. Weirs are an ancient type of fish trap used by, among others, native North Americans and early settlers.

“You can paddle down the Etowah and stop at a fish weir built by indigenous people hundreds of years ago,” he said. “You can literally get out and stand on the stones that were placed there by Native American people centuries ago. It’s a very special place.”

Etowah Indian Mounds and other historic sites associated with the Cherokee people also dot the Etowah’s bank as do caves and antebellum plantations.

The area’s waterways provide a myriad of activities. From fishing at the Lock and Dam regional park to canoeing down the Etowah or swimming in the brisk waters of Cave Spring.

The CRBI’s web site,, provides a full list of river activities for the Coosa River Basin including upcoming paddling and kayaking events.

Upcoming River Events

July 31

Cherokee County (Ga.)

Fish Weir Paddle on the Etowah River near Canton

Aug. 6

First Friday Concert Paddle past downtown Rome

Aug. 7

Indian Mound Paddle on the Etowah River from Allatoona Dam to Euharlee visiting the Etowah Indian Mounds

Aug. 14

Peacock Alley Paddle

near Calhoun

Aug. 21

River Revelry - A Biodiversity Bash at Heritage Park in downtown Rome. An addition to this year’s event will be a raft race in which participants build their own rafts and race from Ridge Ferry Park to Heritage Park. Tickets to the event are available online at

For additional information about these events, visit online or call 706-232-2724.

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