Category Archives: Blueway

Why Withlacoochee River floodplain deannexation from Valdosta? @ GLPC 2021-07-26 2021-07-26

Valdosta should not deannex 310 acres of Withlacoochee River floodplain around Cherry Creek. No good reason for deannexation has been given by the applicant, and there are substantial reasons to be concerned about potential uses of that land if deannexed. Instead, Valdosta and Lowndes County should purchase the entire 530.24 acre property down to the Withlacoochee River to add to a trails system up and down the Withlacoochee River. The advisory Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) at its meeting this Monday should recommend against annexation, and then the Valdosta Mayor and Council should deny.

I am sending a letter to that effect today to Valdosta City Planner Matt Martin, and I recommend you do, as well: mlmartin@valdostacity.com

[Public land and Uvalde Land Trust Deannexation request, Withlacoochee River]
Public land and Uvalde Land Trust Deannexation request, Withlacoochee River

That deannexation is on the GLPC agenda for this Monday, July 26, 2021. The only land access to the property is through the City of Valdosta, and since that whole area of the river has extensive flood plain and little road access, Lowndes County cannot provide public utilities, fire/police protection, or emergency medical response across the river to the subject property, as the City Planner points out in the agenda sheet. The landowner’s stated purpose would be better served by the property remaining inside the city limits: “to use for wildlife management, and rec. use as it is in a mitgation bank & has no development use.” The City Planner even recommends annexing the rest of the subject property into the city, down to the river. Continue reading

Pictures: Juneteenth @ Reed Bingham State Park Lake with Macedonia Community Foundation 2021-06-19

Fannie Gibbs of Macedonia Community Foundation invited WWALS to their Juneteenth celebration at Reed Bingham State Park Lake. So we took boats and volunteers and got people in boats on the lake.

Including Fannie, in a boat, with a paddle, in the rain!

[Juneteenth at Reed Bingham State Park Lake with Macedonia Community Foundation and Suwannee Riverkeeper]
Juneteenth at Reed Bingham State Park Lake with Macedonia Community Foundation and Suwannee Riverkeeper

Thanks especially to Fannie Gibbs for inviting WWALS. We will keep writing joint grant proposals until we get some funded for boating and swimming lessons, historical research, and paddle outings designed around African-American waterway history. Meanwhile, we will keep doing things like this anyway. Continue reading

WWALS Watershed Coalition thanks Atkinson Commission for support –WFXL TV 2021-07-09

Alapaha River Water Trail and GA-EPD Recreational redesignation of the Alapaha River at Atkinson County Commission last Thursday made the news.

Typhani Gray, Fox 31 WFXL, 9 July 2021, WWALS Watershed Coalition thanks Atkinson Commission for support,

[Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135, Alapaha River Water Trail, Suwannee Riverkeeper at Atkinson County Commission, Reporter Typhani Gray and Tester Valerie Folsom, ARWT road sign]
Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135, Alapaha River Water Trail, Suwannee Riverkeeper at Atkinson County Commission, Reporter Typhani Gray and Tester Valerie Folsom, ARWT road sign

WWALS Watershed Coalition was started after organizers were concerned about sewage spills, and roads being closed because of trees being down in the river.

Most of that was in the Withlacoochee River around 2009, but the Alapaha River did have water quality issues back then.

The organization came to the Atkinson County Board of Commissioners to thank them for the Alapaha River Water Trail contribution.

In 2018 commissions passed a resolution supporting the water trail.

Here is that Atkinson County Commission resolution of 18 January 2018 supporting the Alapaha River Water Trail.

This trail runs for more than 100 miles on the Alapaha River all the way down to Florida.

Atkinson County has one landing on Georgia 135 that’s called Willacoochee [Landing].

According to John Quarterman, the Watershed Coalition has expanded its organization and is now tests waters to make it safer for people to swim and fish.

Valerie Folsom, who tests in Atkinson County at Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135, also spoke to the Atkinson County Commission about the latest test results. Continue reading

Clean Rivers Again 2021-06-10

Update 2021-06-19: Clean eleven sites: Withlacoochee, Little, and Alapaha Rivers 2021-06-17.

All clear again on the Withlacoochee River, as far as we can tell, which is from US 41 at North Valdosta Road down almost to the Suwannee River. Valdosta’s results for Friday, Monday, and Wednesday at US 41, GA 133, and US 84 concur.

Also Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River, and Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 on the Alapaha River were clean Thursday. Of course, if the predicted rains arrive, they could wash something into the rivers.

But for now, by the recent water quality results we have, happy boating, swimming, and fishing!

[Chart, Swim Guide, many river test sites]
Chart, Swim Guide, many river test sites

All the WWALS results for Thursday, June 10, 2021, were well below the 410 cfu/100 mL one-time sample limit, and most were below the 126 average limit. Thanks to Bobby McKenzie for testing at US 41 and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River, as well as at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, plus Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River.

Thanks to Gus Cleary for samping at Cleary Bluff, which is between Allen Ramp and the Suwannee River on the Withlacoochee. All those sites are on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

And thanks to new tester Valerie Folsom for testing Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 on the Alapaha River Wednesday, in the Alapaha River Water Trail.

Thanks to WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall for reviewing all the plates.

And thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for getting at least the upstream Valdosta data on the Valdosta website in a timely manner. The downstream Valdosta data continues to lag two weeks behind. Continue reading

Water Trail signs planted 2021-05-21

Bobby McKenzie has been busy planting water trail signs, both road signs and at-water signs. All these signs were paid for by a grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR). There was a cash match, so if you want to help with that, you can:
https://www.gagives.org/story/Wwalswatertrailsigns

[Kinard Bridge Road, Adel-Moultrie, andAntioch Road Landings, Cook County Boat Ramp, Folsom Bridge, Hagan Bridge, and Pafford's Landings]
Kinard Bridge Road, Adel-Moultrie, andAntioch Road Landings, Cook County Boat Ramp, Folsom Bridge, Hagan Bridge, and Pafford’s Landings

Little River

Kinard Bridge Road Landing

We bought road signs from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). GDOT is planting road signs on state and federal highways, but WWALS has to put them on county roads, like Kinard Bridge Road. There are two sets of road signs for each location, for each direction. In this case, for Kinard Bridge Road Landig, the most upstream landing on the Little River in the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT). Continue reading

Big Shoals Scouting, Suwannee River 2021-05-14

Bring boat wheels and be ready for a half-mile portage around Big Shoals in the WWALS outing tomorrow.

[Portage Now, Big Shoals, Beach eddy, Banner at beach below shoals]
Portage Now, Big Shoals, Beach eddy, Banner at beach below shoals

That’s the conclusion from the Friday scouting organized by Park Manager Manny Perez and Randy Madison of Florida Trails, in conjunction with WWALS Intern Bobby McKenzie and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. Park Ranger Peter Shanks led Randy, Bobby, and me to three possible put-ins below BIG Shoals. The third one is best, with a nice slope to a beach.

We are all for reasonable accommodation per our WWALS nondiscrimination policy, which in this case means you’ll need to be able to climb up at the take-out before the shoals, pull your boat for a half mile, including dragging it over a couple of rough spots, and slide it back into the water at the beach put-in. We can help, but you’ll need to do most of the work, because we’ll be pulling our own boats.

Click on any of the small pictures below to see a bigger one. There’s also a google map of the locations of these pictures. Continue reading

GA 376 Alapahoochee River Bridge to be replaced 2021-05-10

There was quite a bit of advance notice that the bridge that provides the most upstream paddling access to the Alapahoochee River is being replaced, and now the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) has given public notice of a variance for a contractor to replace the bridge according to specifications by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and Echols County, Georgia.

[Notice, GA 136 Alapahoochee River Bridge in Lanier County News]
Notice, GA 136 Alapahoochee River Bridge in Lanier County News

This bridge is on the WWALS map of the Alapaha River Water Trail. Continue reading

Water Trail signs planted at Langdale Park Boat Ramp 2021-05-06

In time for the Salty Snapper Pop Up Paddle and Lunch this coming Saturday, April May 15, 2021, Bobby McKenzie planted the WWALS water trail signs next to the put in, Langdale Boat Ramp.

[Signs, Camera]
Signs, Camera

Thanks to Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA) for re-opening Langdale Park after the recent high water.

These WWALS signs are for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT), and here they are next to the boat ramp, which is on the Withlacoochee River. Thanks to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR) for the grant that funded making these signs. Continue reading

Water Trail Brochures available: Alapaha, Withlacoochee, and Little Rivers

WWALS has printed 10,000 z-fold brochures for each of two water trails, through a generous grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR). Plus Georgia Beer Company is a new sponsor, adding to a long list of cities, counties, tourist councils, and development authorities that have assisted with money or letters or resolutions of support. The images here are updated to what we printed. Contact us to get printed copies of these brochures: they’re free to individuals or to groups that will distribute them to the public.

[ARWT front and back, WLRWT mapside]
ARWT front and back, WLRWT mapside

This is the third edition of the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT) brochure, and the first-ever Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) brochure.

You can help defray the cash match for the grant, online, or contact us. Or maybe you’d like to contribute to our water trail signs.

WWALS is currently updating all our online water trail maps and web pages. You can help:
https://forms.gle/qXkPr7eCK51P4X4u7

There are also many other ways you can participate in the activities and advocacy of WWALS:
https://wwals.net/donations/

Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT)

See: https://wwals.net/maps/alapaha-water-trail/

The two previous ARWT brochure editions, 10,000 copies each, lasted about four years. This one has Continue reading

Cancelled due to weather: BIG Little River Paddle Race

Adel, Georgia, April 25, 2021 — Because of predicted water level rise and dirt shuttle roads being too muddy and treacherous to drive, the BIG Little River Paddle Race is cancelled.

Yesterday, due to predicted heavy rain, Bret Wagenhorst postponed BLRPR to this afternoon. But today, after still more rain last night, and despite a nice sunny day today, conditions are still not favorable, as described above.

So Dr. Wagenhorst says: “I am officially and finally cancelling this year’s BIG Little River Paddle Race. I hate to do this but paddler safety is paramount.”

[USGS Folsom Bridge Little River gauge near Hahira 2021-04-25 09:15]
USGS Folsom Bridge Little River gauge near Hahira 2021-04-25 09:15
USGS Folsom Bridge Little River Hahira Gauge 2021-04-25 09:15

I think we can all agree safety first. For next year, WWALS and FORB and the park will be evaluating how best to handle this sort of situation.

However, so decisions can be made, One person is in charge of rescheduling or cancelling BLRPR, and all three organizations involved support his decision.

Tomorrow, Monday, April 26, 2021, WWALS has the Banks Lake Full Pink Moon Paddle, to watch the sun set and the moon rise, and maybe see bats. To join us for this leisurely paddle on a flat lake, please be there by 7:15 PM, at Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635.

Friends of Reed Bingham State Park (FORB) is Continue reading