Randy Patten used to say he’d never seen an alligator on the Alapaha River in Lanier County, but he just saw a log with eyes and a tail.
He also changed his mind about something else:
I have been against the publication and the making public of our river for people kayaking it, due to the fact that we couldn’t get people out of the river if they got in trouble.
Well, after a couple of years of planning with the assistance of the county commissioners, and volunteer firefighters, and everybody that would assist, we now have signs, 24 actually, up and down the river, from Atkinson County to Echols County. So every few miles you’ll see a sign with a phone number. And later on, when I get close to one I’ll go live again and show you what they look like.
But it makes it a lot nicer to know that if we have people looking at its beauty, which should never be kept a secret, but if something does happen, we have the ability to come get you.
Here’s the video:
Alapaha River Beauty should not be hidden 2018-04-07
Video by Randy Patten for Lanier County Emergency Management
And that makes life a lot better. you know for us as rescuers, and for people that want to feel safe. This is not a safe place to be by yourself with no communications and no way of knowing anything like that log I just went over. And there’s all kind of things that can get you in trouble out here. But hopefully we can make it a little safer on you. And for remote kayaking on such a beautiful river as this.
I’ll check back in with you later on down the river. Have a good day.
The publicity he is talking about is the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT). I had a long chat with him about that this afternoon, in which he insisted on sharing this facebook video with me so I could share it further.
Randy Patten is the Emergency Management Director for Lanier County, Georgia. He told me about the river mile signs when the Lanier County Commission passed a resolution supporting the ARWT back in January.
I told him GDOT is planting the road signs leading to the ARWT landings today. He told me Lanier County was going to plant some further information signs near the water at Berrien Beach Boat Ramp and at Lakeland Boat Ramp. I told him WWALS planned to start planting water trail kiosk signs at landings and boat ramps soon, as well. We agreed to work together on interesting and useful points on the river and miles to them.
He also told me that Burnt Church is actually a public landing. Previously I had determined it was owned by Lanier County, and I had asked for confirmation of public access, and never got any. Well, now the Lanier County Emergency Mangement Directory says it is, so we will promote Burnt Church to a public landing for the ARWT.
Oh yes: he’s well aware of the Marshall Deadfall, having boated to it both from downstream and upstream. He does not have the budget to remove it. Deadfall expedition volunteers?
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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