Tag Archives: Helen Tapp

Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River, and Okefenokee Swamp on Scott James radio talk921.com 2024-02-02

We also talked about the future Troupville River Camp and Nature Park, in addition to defending the Okefenokee Swamp from a proposed stripmine, chainsaw cleanups, and the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, which will go around the river frontage of the pending Troupville Park.

This was Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman on the Scott James radio talk show on talk921.com, Friday, February 3, 2024. I referred to him as Mayor, because Scott James Matheson is also the Mayor of Valdosta, Georgia.

We also prominently mentioned Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter.

And Helen Tapp, from whom the county in December 2022 bought the 71 acres from Helen Tapp down to the Little River Confluence to add to the 44 acres already owned by Parks and Rec to combine for the proposed park.

[Mayor and Chairman's Paddle, Withlacoochee River, Okefenokee Swamp, and Troupville River Camp and Nature Park on Scott James radio talk921.com 2024-02-03]
Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River, Okefenokee Swamp, and Troupville River Camp and Nature Park on Scott James radio talk921.com 2024-02-03

Here is a WWALS video playlist:
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKwQ5xfKf-QwydpvXE-C4BTMUQqv4yfCg&si=CLMEdlCi8TM3d_Q6 Continue reading

Sponsored: Fifth Annual 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

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

Fourth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2023-03-04

Update 2023-03-03: Clean Rivers 2023-03-02.

Update 2023-03-03: Early takeout for Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle: DeLoach Private Boat Ramp 2023-03-03.

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

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

Update 2023-02-16: River Low, Action, and Flood Stages 2023-02-16.

Update 2023-02-15: Paddling in the treetops 2023-02-13 and for real two years ago 2021-02-27 2023-02-13. Don’t worry: the water level should come back down before this year’s paddle date.

Valdosta, Georgia, January 30, 2021 — Join us March 4th for this annual eleven-mile river paddle, past the future site of Troupville River Camp and Nature Park, along the west side of the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin, past Valdosta’s clean outfall of its Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, with many creeks, oaks, cypresses, pines, fish, turtles, and maybe an alligator, down to Spook Bridge, so scary it has its own movie.

“Come on down to where I used to fish as a child, and with my children!” said Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter. ”This event allows our residents to come out and explore the natural beauties of Lowndes County while enjoying our waterways.”

“I am excited to partner once again with WWALS, plus this time with Lowndes County, to show people our fabulous blackwater rivers, only a few miles from City Hall and VSU,” said Valdosta Mayor Scott James. “After the largest infrastructure project and single largest financial commitment in the history of our City was made toward a completely modern sewer system, we are now exploring the next phase toward beautifying our area waterways. Council and City staff will be addressing the most cost effective way to educate our citizens and eliminate the trash littering our streets that eventually makes into our creeks and rivers. The fight will begin with further education of our friends and neighbors combined with additional focus from City staff and volunteers. I invite everyone to come out and join us for a day of fellowship on the river!”

“Welcome to this one of our many paddles,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen 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. If you’re ill in any way, please stay home.”

[Paddlers on the Withlacoochee River, Photo: John S. Quarterman 2022-02-19]
Paddlers on the Withlacoochee River, Photo: John S. Quarterman 2022-02-19

Come as early as 8 AM, Saturday, March 3, 2023, to Troupville Boat Ramp, Continue reading

Schedule for 2023 Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP) grant applications 2023-01-11

I’ve heard differing opinions about various deadlines for submitting a grant proposal this year to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP), such as for Troupville Nature Park and River Camp at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, just west of Valdosta, Georgia.

[GOSP, Helen Tapp, Land Between the Rivers]
GOSP, Helen Tapp, Land Between the Rivers

So I asked GA-DNR, who replied that grant pre-applications will open this fall, and will be announced this spring. The earliest anything might need to be done with GA-DNR about GOSP is informational webinars, which may be scheduled for May or June.

I’m sticking to my opinion that there’s no point proceeding with a grant application until ongoing park maintenance is lined up. It’s my understanding that Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson and One Valdosta-Lowndes have the token to find that maintenance money as well as the rest of the required cash match.

Lowndes County already made a huge step forward by buying Helen Tapp’s Land Between the Rivers for eventual addition to the land already owned by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreational Authority (VLPRA) to form the park. I don’t know of anything else pressing the county needs to do at the moment.

Here is this morning’s response from GA-DNR: Continue reading

Lowndes County buys Troupville land for Nature Park and River Camp 2022-12-30

Suwannee Riverkeeper features in the image the Valdosta Daily Times used with the story.

County acquires Troupeville[sic] land for nature reserve, By Malia Thomas, Valdosta Daily Times, Dec 30, 2022,

VALDOSTA — Lowndes County is doing its part to preserve nature with the purchase of 71.47 acres of land between the Little River Confluence and the Withlacoochee River.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper banner at a Troupville cleanup. Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter is second from right, back row. WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman is by the left end of the banner.]
Suwannee Riverkeeper banner at a Troupville cleanup.
Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter is second from right, back row.
WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman is by the left end of the banner.

The county purchased the land from Between the Rivers LLC. for $121,500 with the intention of setting it aside as a nature preserve. The Valdosta-Lowndes Parks and Recreation Authority owns the land between that property and Highway 133.

In her letter to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Board of Trustees, sixth generation owner and property seller Helen Tapp spoke of Continue reading

Videos: Troupville Nature Park and River Camp, Trash, Cleanups –Helen Tapp & Suwannee Riverkeeper @ Scott James Radio 2022-12-15

Helen Tapp was still around after Lowndes County bought land from her for a nature preserve, so I asked Scott James to get her on his radio show, in which we talked nature preserve and trash.

[Movie: Thanks --Scott James, Helen Tapp]
Movie: Thanks –Scott James, Helen Tapp

We learned a few new things: the Valdosta YMCA is working on providing Withlacoochee River access just downstream from the railroad bridge and Sugar Creek, with no boardwalk required.

And the Mayor predicts that Valdosta United Way and the City Council will each provide $2,000 towards two additional WaterGoat trash traps.

Helen Tapp discussed that recent purchase to make a nature preserve at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River. She and Suwaneee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman and Valdosta Mayor Scott James talked about eight miles of river right next to Valdosta, with chainsaw cleanups to make it more accessible down to Troupville River Camp, where the Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle will depart March 4, 2023.

These WWALS videos include the rest of the interview, after a cable provider knocked Talk 92.1 FM off the air for the morning. Including Continue reading

Videos: Lowndes County buys land from Helen Tapp for Troupville Nature Park and River Camp 2022-12-13

Update 2022-12-23: Videos: Troupville Nature Park and River Camp, Trash, Cleanups –Helen Tapp & Suwannee Riverkeeper @ Scott James Radio 2022-12-15.

Landowner Helen Tapp spoke a week ago at the Lowndes County Commission about their historic purchase of her 71+ acres to add to 49 VLPRA acres to make a Troupville Nature Park and River Camp.

Below are videos and transcript of what she said about her vision and hopes for the site. For the entire meeting, see the Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper on Scott James Radio 92.1 FM 2022-12-15

Update 2022-12-23: Videos: Troupville Nature Park and River Camp, Trash, Cleanups –Helen Tapp & Suwannee Riverkeeper @ Scott James Radio 2022-12-15.

Suwannee Riverkeeper will talk trash, parks, creeks, and rivers on Scott James Talk 92.1 FM radio tomorrow morning, Thursday, 8:30 AM.

[Withlacoochee River cleanup, Radio, Troupville park land purchase, Langdale Park trail clearing]
Withlacoochee River cleanup, Radio, Troupville park land purchase, Langdale Park trail clearing

Topics discussed will probably include: Continue reading