Tag Archives: Bill Slaughter

Suwannee Riverkeeper at Lowndes County Commission 2024-04-09

I thanked Lowndes County for their cooperation in the WWALS Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle, especially Public Works for grading the entrance road to Langdale Park on the Withlacoochee River.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper at Lowndes County Commission 2024-04-09, Chairman and Mayor's Paddle, Sugar Creek and Chainsaw Cleanups]
Suwannee Riverkeeper at Lowndes County Commission 2024-04-09, Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle, Sugar Creek and Chainsaw Cleanups

This was in Citizens Wishing to Be Heard in the April 9, 2024, Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission.

Earlier when I was talking to the Chairman he indicated the early takeout at Sugar Creek was a bit difficult due to a deadfall. So I mentioned that once the water gets low enough, we’ll work on that and other deadfalls, but meanwhile our chainsaws don’t work well underwater. I requested suggestions for when in March 2025 to hold the next one. I said WWALS has recently acquired a jon boat and outboard, and we’d be happy to take people out on the river, including Commissioners. Continue reading

Pictures: Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

The weather held off and 42 paddlers had a good time on the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle from Langdale Park Boat Ramp down the Withlacoochee River, around the Little River Confluence, and up to Troupville Boat Ramp. Only a few people fell in, and they were good sports. The City Manager needs a bigger boat.

[Mayor and Chairman's Paddle, Withlacoochee River, 2024-03-02]
Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River, 2024-03-02

Those who got out after three miles at Sugar Creek got to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family, which keeps much trash out of the river.

The remaining four miles went under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges. Many deadfalls (fallen dead trees) previously sawed out of the way by numerous WWALS Chainsaw Cleanups were visible. Outings leader Phil Hubbard sawed through a remaining deadfall during the paddle.

Paddlers saw all the river frontage of the land recently purchased by Lowndes County for Troupville River Camp and Nature Park. Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman used the jon boat with 9.9hp outboard paid for by a grant from Wild Green Future (WGF) to saw several deadfalls off the Withlacoochee River. Then he towed five paddlers and five boats from the Confluence to Troupville Boat Ramp, including Outing Sweep Phil Royce towing City Manager Richard Hardy’s to-small bad-seat boat. The City Manager walked from the Confluence to the boat ramp.

Thanks to Phil Hubbard for leading this outing, and Phil Royce and Russell Allen McBride for being sweep.

Thanks to them and Gretchen Quarterman and others for helping people over rough spots and to Gretchen for making sure everybody was signed in on the WWALS insurance waiver.

Thanks to Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson and Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter and their staffs.

Thanks to Joe Brownlee and Georgia Power for the grant that kept entry for paddlers free and paid for the Port-A-Potties.

Thanks to the Boys & Girls Club for the shuttle van.

Thanks to VSU CORE for bringing boats and student paddlers.

Thanks to everyone who helped on the numerous chainsaw cleanups, including Bobby McKenzie, Shawn O’Connor, Russell Allen McBride, Phil Royce from Live Oak, Florida, Gary Koch from Ocala, Florida, and especially Phil Hubbard.

Plus anybody else I have forgotten to mention.

I would mention everybody who has been involved in improving the trash and sewage situations, but this post would be very long.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Continue reading

Sponsored: Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Update 2024-03-08: Pictures: Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02.

Georgia Power has pledged a substantial grant for the Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle on the Withlacoochee River, Saturday, March 2, 2024.

“Thanks to Joe Brownlee and Georgia Power, WWALS will not require any payment to paddle,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Just use the eventbrite free ticket to reserve a spot so we’ll have an idea of how many are coming.”
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mayor-and-chairmans-paddle-langdale-park-to-troupville-2024-tickets-799890352577

[Paddlers, Mayor, Chairman 2023-03-04]
Paddlers, Mayor, Chairman 2023-03-04

“However, if you want to support the advocacy and activities of WWALS, there is also a paid ticket through eventbrite. Or become a member or sponsor. Anyway, come down and paddle, see the sights, and have fun!”

For further information about the paddle, see:
https://wwals.net/?p=64027

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Update 2024-02-02: Now no fee required, thanks to a pledge from Georgia Power.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River

Valdosta, Georgia, January 29, 2024 — Join us on March 2nd for a leisurely paddle with the Mayor of Valdosta and the Chairman of Lowndes County on the Withlacoochee River, along the west side of the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin, and along the site of future Troupville River Camp and Nature Park.

“The annual paddle event provides a unique opportunity for residents to come together and explore the natural beauties of Lowndes County, immersing themselves in the serenity of our waterways,” said Bill Slaughter, Chairman of the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners. “We encourage residents of all ages to come out and join us for a fun morning.”

“Together, we will showcase the natural beauty of our blackwater rivers and continue to work towards finding the most cost-effective solutions to educate our citizens and eliminate the trash that is littering our creeks and rivers,” said Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson. “With this event, we aim to empower our community and inspire everyone to take action towards protecting our precious waterways. It will take all of us working together to make a difference, and we are excited to lead the way towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.”

“Welcome to this one of our many paddles. All elected officials present, from both Florida and Georgia, get in free, and will have three minutes each to speak at the put-in. You can paddle up to them and ask questions,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “We have at least one daytime river paddle a month, in Florida or Georgia, plus an evening Full Moon paddle at Banks Lake, near Lakeland, GA.”

[FB: Paddlers 2023-03-04]
Paddlers 2023-03-04; Photo: John S. Quarterman

On a new route this year, we’ll go seven miles in four hours, with an early takeout.

Come as early as 8 AM, Saturday, March 2, 2024 to Langdale Park, drop off your boats, and drive to Troupville Boat Ramp. Shuttle from there back to Langdale Park.

One 15-seat van provided by the Boys & Girls Club will shuttle you back to Troupville. “We love supporting this event and giving back to our community! This is just another event that shows how good the Mayor and the Commission Chairman are always working together to help this community,” said Bill Holt, VP of Operations, Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta. This will be an outside event, but we will recommend those riders taking advantage of the shuttle service to please wear a mask.

We’ll paddle three miles from Langdale Park Boat Ramp through past Three Mile Branch to Sugar Creek with early takeout. On this all-wooded route it is hard to believe you are next to the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin. There are no houses, but you may see creeks, oaks, cypresses, pines, fish, birds, and turtles. Valdosta is getting much better at keeping sewage out of the creeks and rivers.

“I’m happy to lead this paddle again,” said Phil Hubbard.

Stop at Sugar Creek to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family. That floating chain and net keeps much trash out of the river. There is more for the City of Valdosta to do about trash, but that WaterGoat was the start of current progress on that problem. If you want to stop there, you can take out below Berta’s Pizza Kitchen on Gornto Road.

“The South Georgia Film Festival is proud to support this year’s Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle,” said Jason Brown. South Georgia Film Festival Director. “As many of the available kayakers will be in attendance both at the paddle and that evening for the film screening on the campus of Valdosta State University.”

Then we’ll paddle another four miles under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges.

Continue reading

Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Langdale Park to Troupville, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Update 2024-03-08: Pictures: Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02.

Update 2024-02-02: Now no fee required, thanks to a pledge from Georgia Power.

Update 2024-01-29: Press release, Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02.

Join us for a leisurely seven-mile four-hour paddle with the Mayor of Valdosta and the Chairman of Lowndes County on the Withlacoochee River.

On a new route this year, we’ll go three miles from Langdale Park Boat Ramp through Langdale Park past Three Mile Branch to Sugar Creek with early takeout. On this all-wooded route it is hard to believe you are next to the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin.

Stop at Sugar Creek to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family, which keeps much trash out of the river.

Then we’ll paddle another four miles under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges.

Notice all the deadfalls (fallen dead trees) sawed out of the way by numerous WWALS Chainsaw Cleanups.

We will see all the river frontage of the land recently purchased by Lowndes County for Troupville River Camp and Nature Park. After paddling a third of a mile up the Little River, we will take out at Troupville Boat Ramp.

When: Gather 8 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, March 2, 2024

Put In: Langdale Park Boat Ramp, 3781 N. Valdosta Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602, off of I-75 Exit 22, North Valdosta Road.

GPS: 30.88747, -83.32395

[FB: Paddlers 2023-03-04]
Paddlers 2023-03-04

Continue reading

Lowndes County wins Georgia award for litter program 2023-05-15

Update 2023-08-30: Lowndes County Litter Crew, JLH Beach, Folsom Bridge Landing, Little River @ GA 122 2023-08-23.

WWALS congratulates Lowndes County on winning a statewide award for their litter crew. We can attest that boat ramps and other public access points to rivers in Lowndes County are much cleaner since the county litter crew has been picking up there weekly, both on the WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail and the Alapaha River Water Trail.

We’d also like to thank Lowndes County Public Works for a longstanding agreement that they pick up bagged trash that WWALS leaves at river access points.

[Clyattville-Nankin Boat Ramp: Lowndes County Litter Control 2021-06-10 (Photo: Bobby McKenzie) and WWALS cleanup 2022-12-17 (Photo: Gretchen Quarterman)]
Clyattville-Nankin Boat Ramp: Lowndes County Litter Control 2021-06-10 (Photo: Bobby McKenzie) and WWALS cleanup 2022-12-17 (Photo: Gretchen Quarterman)

Malia Thomas, Valdosta Daily Times, May 15, 2023 Lowndes County honored with 2023 Georgia County Excellence Award for litter program,

VALDOSTA — Lowndes County has been recognized with a 2023 Georgia County Excellence Award for its litter program.

Continue reading

Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle in Valdosta Daily Times

Good article; thanks VDT. Although it looks like WWALS will need to display a large banner saying: WWALS Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, on the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers, one of our many monthly paddles.

[Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson, WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman, Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter --GQ]
Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson, WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman, Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter –GQ

Brittanye Blake, valdosta Daily Times, March 5, 2023, Up the River: Paddle focuses on clean waters

See also the WWALS video of what the Mayor and Chairman said.

VALDOSTA — Mayor Scott James Matheson and Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter led the Fourth Annual Withlacoochee River paddle last weekend.

Continue reading

Pictures: Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle 2023-03-04

Update 2023-03-13: Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle in Valdosta Daily Times and WWALS video of what the Mayor and Chairman said.

Everybody had a good time at the Fourth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle. The water level was just right for the shoals to be ripples and the weather was perfect: not cold, not hot, nice and shady.

Phil Hubbard led this one of many WWALS paddle outings. Three people fell in and one paddle got lost, but everybody recovered and nobody went home mad.

[Mayor, WWALS, Chairman; banners; boaters; outfall; Spook Bridge]
Mayor, WWALS, Chairman; banners; boaters; outfall; Spook Bridge

WWALS is proud to bring together Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter and Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson at the site of the county’s recent acquisition of 71 acres from Helen Tapp to add to the 49 acres Parks and Rec already owns to eventually form Troupville Nature Park. Continue reading

Pictures: Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle 2022-02-19

Here are a few pictures from last year’s Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, eleven miles on the Withlacoochee River.

This year’s paddle will be Saturday, March 3, 2023, on the same route, starting at Troupville Boat Ramp just west of Valdosta on the Little River, ending at Spook Bridge.

[Scenes from Mayor and Chairman's Paddle 2022-02-19]
Scenes from Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle 2022-02-19

Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson was there, in the red shoes, dead center of this picture. We hear this year Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter will be, as well. You can paddle up to them and ask questions. Continue reading

Good water levels for Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle 2023-02-22

Update 2023-03-01: Boats provided by State Line River Outfitters at Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle 2023-03-04.

Water levels are coming down good for a week from Saturday, for the Fourth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle.

[Quitman Gauge, many paddlers]
Quitman Gauge, many paddlers

Today the Quitman Gauge at US 84 is about eight feet above the level of the 2022 Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle. It looks like it will still be a couple feet above come this year’s paddle day. So easy paddling!

The Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle is a fundraiser for WWALS, so tickets are $30 per boat, online or at the event.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mayor-and-chairmans-paddle-little-and-withlacoochee-rivers-tickets-518815951477

It’s free for elected officials. They can Continue reading