Category Archives: Blueway

Sulak’s Defeat at Jennings Defeat 2020-08-26

Explorer Dr. Ken Sulak has solved an Alapaha River rapids naming mystery. He recounts:


So in 1797, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a poem inspired by a dream.

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

Insert three ‘A” and the dreamscape river becomes the Alapaha, and appropriately so. Yesterday, I embarked on the foolish idea of a solo kayak journey up 3 miles of the Alapaha from Sasser Landing (just below the confluence of the Alapaha and the Alapahoochee rivers) to the site of the 1800s Roebucks Ferry and later Roebucks Bridge.

[Jennings Defeat Rapids, Ogeechee Gum, GS&F RR trestle below CR 150]
Jennings Defeat Rapids, Ogeechee Gum, GS&F RR trestle below CR 150

That crossing brought settlers and other travelers from Jacksonville and Fernandina along the GA/FL border across the Alapaha to Miccotown, the old Seminole Indian town in the triangle of land protected by the two flanking rivers. The road/trail (gone now on both sides) continued west across the Alapahoochee at the site of the early 1900s Beatty Bridge (undoubtedly preceded in the mid-1800s by an undocumented ferry), and on to Hickstown in Madison County and westward. Miccotown became the first county seat of Hamilton County as the settlers suppressed the Seminoles and the old Indian town faded into obscurity in 1839. Continue reading

Langdale Park open and upgraded –Bobby McKenzie 2020-11-29

Bobby McKenzie says:

I drove by Langdale Park yesterday and it was open.

[Driveway, pavillion, streetlight, logjam, sandbar (rotated)]
Driveway, pavillion, streetlight, logjam, sandbar (rotated)

VLPRA did a great job cleaning up the road back there. There wasn’t a single rut to be seen, all filled in nice and smooth the whole way. Continue reading

Canceled because of weather: Banks Lake Full Beaver Moon Paddle 2020-11-29

Expedition leader Bobby McKenzie says: “I’d like to cancel tonight’s Full Moon paddle. I’ve been monitoring the weather and it looks like there is thunderstorm movement headed our way and will hit while we are on the water. I’ve attached reports from 3 sources.”

So today’s outing is cancelled.

[Three weather reports]
Three weather reports

But no worries! The Full Cold Moon Banks Lake paddle is coming up Tuesday, December 29.

Before that, bring your boat and decorations to Banks Lake for the Winter Solstice Light Parade, Saturday, December 19!

More: For more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar or the WWALS outings and events web page. WWALS members also get an upcoming list in the Tannin Times newsletter. Continue reading

Floyd’s Island, Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee River 2020-11-07

A little rain didn’t stop us on a fun two nights of camping and two days of paddling to and from Floyd’s Island in the Okefenokee NWR. Yes, the dozen of us saw gators, cormorants, and herons on the Suwannee River, the tree canopy over the run to Floyd’s Island, and deer on the island.

Thanks to Bobby McKenzie for leading this expedition, and to Shirley Kokidko for provoking it.

[banners, river, gator, canopy, island, deer]
banners, river, gator, canopy, island, deer

Also we saw Georgia River Network’s thirty paddlers coming in Sunday as we were going out, but my camera had run down by then. Here’s a picture of GRN E.D. Rena Ann Peck on the Friday before, in Moniac, GA.

Here are more pictures, also on the WWALS website.

Many paddlers posted pictures on facebook. Continue reading

Pictures: Ichetucknee, Santa Fe Rivers 2020-01-20

The manatee swam under my boat; I was sitting still. This was on the Ichetucknee River, just above the Santa Fe River. Shirley Kokidko led us on the Redo: Ichetucknee and Sante Fe River Paddle 2020-01-20.

We’re going again January 2, 2021.

[Manatee under boat, 14:07:12, 29.9327060, -82.8000880]
Manatee under boat, 14:07:12, 29.9327060, -82.8000880

This is just a small selection of pictures. There are more here:
https://wwals.net/pictures/2020-01-20–ichetucknee-santa-fe-pictures

Click on any small picture to see a larger one. Continue reading

Troupville to Spook Bridge, Mayor’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-06

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, November 12, 2020 — Join the Mayor of Valdosta and a hundred of his closest friends for a leisurely paddle on the Withlacoochee River. Mayor Scott James says, “Over a year removed from a terrible spill into our area waterways, and right at a year of massive improvements to our infrastructure since our last ‘Mayors Paddle,’ I am again looking forward to fellowship on the river February 6.”

All elected officials present will have three minutes to speak. And you can paddle up to them and ask questions.

WWALS President Tom H. Johnson Jr. said, “This stretch of river extends from the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin past some suburbs and many rural woods. It is important for all the upstream city and county wastewater treatment plants to keep a grip on their sewage, because many people depend on the Withlacoochee River for swimming, fishing, and boating, plus water wells nearby may be affected by anything that goes into the river. It’s a joy that publicly elected officials are involved in this activity, and that the Mayor is helping organize it.”

It was fun last year, so let’s do it again! There is plenty of room to stay six feet apart, at Troupville Boat Ramp, the lunch stop, and at Spook Bridge, and of course on the water. We are still working out how the shuttle will work.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman said, “Thanks again to The Langdale Company for riverside access at the mid-way lunch stop, and at the Spook Bridge takeout.”

[Pictures from last year]
Pictures from last year, 2020-01-18.

Attractions include Valdosta’s famous Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Outfall, which has not spilled since December 2019. Yes, we know some people in the Valdosta city government consider that not a spill, since the raw sewage never actually got into the WWTP. We hope Valdosta’s new catch basin prevents that. Most of the route is downstream from GA 133, where Valdosta has frequently gotten high E. coli results from nobody yet knows what source. The entire route is upstream of Okapilco Creek, which sometimes carries cattle manure runoff after big rains. We will once again test the water quality from the river.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, February 6, 2021

Put In: Troupville Boat Ramp, 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602: on GA 133 off I-75 exit 18. in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.851842, -83.346536

Take Out: Spook Bridge, west from Valdosta on US 84, left onto Ousley Road, right onto Old Quitman Highway, stop at the gate.
Thanks to The Langdale Company for access through their private property to Spook Bridge for this outing and for water quality testing.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net/donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup

[Troupville Boat Ramp (upper right) to Spook Bridge (lower left)]
Troupville Boat Ramp (upper right) to Spook Bridge (lower left) in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

Continue reading

New Year Ichetucknee to Santa Fe River Paddle 2021-01-02

First paddle of 2021, from Ichetucknee to Santa Fe Rivers.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park tells us no Ichy Nippy Dip Day for 2021, due to the virus pandemic, but the North Entrance will be open. So see you there, but keep your distance. Then WWALS will paddle downstream. We will also paddle past the notorious Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline.

When: Gather 9:00 AM, Launch 10:30 AM, End 4:00 PM, Saturday, January 4, 2020

Put In: Ichetucknee S.P. North Entrance, 8294 SW Elim Church Rd, Fort White, FL 32038.

GPS: 29.9859, -82.7602

Take Out: Hwy 129 Boat Ramp, William Guy Lemmons Memorial Park Ramp @ 296th St. Ramp, From Branford, travel east on US 27; turn right on US 129; travel south to 296th Street; turn right and William Guy Lemons Memorial Park is on the left, in Suwannee County. 29.912717, -82.860514

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

NOTE: The Ichetucknee is a non-disposable river; do not have any food or drinks in disposable packaging. All liquids and foods should be in reusable type containers. This helps keep litter out of our rivers.

Free: Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay at the event or online.
https://wwals.net/donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Fee: There is a $5.00 park fee.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Start]
Start, 2020-01-20.

Continue reading

Winners: WWALS Boomerang 2020-10-24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, October 29, 2020 — Everybody had a good time on a fine sunny day with the water just right. We had a few more paddlers than last year, and more vendors and sponsors, so WWALS Boomerang 2020 was a rousing success!

[WWALS Boomerang 2020]
WWALS Boomerang 2020

“The winner drove up from Tallahassee: Jackson Buttery, who finished the six-mile round trip in one hour sixteen minutes and 42 seconds. He got the $100 cash First Prize.” said Bobby McKenzie, the WWALS Boomerang mastermind.

[Jackson Buttery winning and with First Prize]
Jackson Buttery winning and with First Prize

Of the racers, 10 were male and 12 were female, in 16 boats, of which 6 were tandem kayaks and 10 were solo kayaks.

[And they're off]
And they’re off

The four McKenzies in one canoe (Bobby Mckenzie and his 2 young sons and 1 daughter, all from Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, in the Alapaha River watershed) did register, although they did not race, so that’s 13 male and 13 female paddlers, for 26 in all, in 17 boats.

“I would say considering the Coronavirus and the other metrics listed, the Boomerang had a stronger showing this year than last. Plus the vendors have grown and we had a fourth outfitter join us at the ramp, Madison Outdoor Adventures, along with Banks Lake Outdoors, NWXpeditions, and VSU Core. We also got more sponsors this year, adding Olympia Bend and Life Outdoors and SBMS CrossFit.”

Other winners included first, second, and third for various distances, classes (solo or tandem) and genders, as well as for upside down, backwards, and last: Continue reading

Lunch and drive by mine site near Okefenokee Swamp 2020-11-06

Since there are two weekend outings in the Okefenokee Swamp 7-8 November 2020, I suggested some paddlers may also want to drive by the proposed titanium mine site southeast of the Swamp. Kim Bednarek, Executive Director of Okefenokee Swamp Park, suggested we meet first at Lacy’s Kountry Store in Moniac, for lunch, talks, and discussion. She and Rena Ann Peck, Executive Director of Georgia River Network, will say a few words. Also saying a few words will be either Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman or WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. Possibly we will have another speaker.

[Moniac marked by green ellipse]
Moniac marked by green ellipse on the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail and the Okefenokee Swamp.

No doubt everybody will have plenty to discuss, considering the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers just abdicated oversight of streams near the mine site and Twin Pines Minerals says it will plow ahead yet TPM still needs five Georgia permits.

This is just a small, informal, side trip. We will only be able to see the mine site from the public highway. Yes, I did ask TPM if they would hold a tour for us, but they said they were only allowing employees and contractors on their site.

When: Noon, Friday, 6 November 2020.
Please come early so we can start at noon.

Where: Lacy’s Kountry Store, 389 GA-94, St George, GA 31562.
They have a wide selection of foods you can order.

GPS: 30.518918, -82.224829

Event: facebook

May I also recommend you read this book: Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land, by Janisse Ray. Continue reading

Silent auction online for WWALS Boomerang paddle race

You don’t have to wait for Saturday and the WWALS Boomerang to bid in the online slient auction:
https://www.betterunite.com/WWALS-wwalsboomerang2020

You can bid on paintings by Julie Bowland, a day trip by NWXpeditions, a Life Outdoors archery package, a one month SBMS Crossfit membership, kayak racks, cake, bowl, pump, and more!

[Silent Auction]
WWALS Boomerang 2020 Silent Auction

You can even buy a $30 ticket to the Boomerang through the silent auction link.

Everything about WWALS Boomerang 2020 is here:
wwals.net/pictures/2020-10-24–boomerang

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!