Tag Archives: rapids

A 19th-century navigable definition does not work for 21st-century river economies

We never had bales of cotton boated down the Withlacoochee River, because there are too many shoals.

[19th-century navigable definition; 21st-century river economy]
19th-century navigable definition; 21st-century river economy

But we do get fishing both from the shore and in paddle and power boats up and down our rivers, and for other recreation, There are massive investments by nearby cities and counties and other organizations in cleaning up the rivers for those purposes.

The state of Georgia needs to revise its 19th-century definition of navigability and passage to match the 21st-century present.

The antique 19th-century definition

The Georgia 1863 definition says a navigable stream “is capable of transporting boats loaded with freight in the regular course of trade either for the whole or a part of the year.” See Georgia Navigability Report, 3rd Edition and O.C.G.A. 44-8-5 (2010)

Some people once tried boating down to the Suwannee to establish commerce. They sold the remains of the boat and returned to the former Lowndes County seat of Troupville, at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River. Atlanta Constitution, January 29, 1889, Continue reading

Ockolocoochee, Little River 1889-01-29

Who knows the Ockolocoochee River? No, not the Ochlockonee River; that’s a bit to the west.

[Withlacoochee River labeled Suwanee R. in 1823 Irwin and 1834 Lowndes County maps; current WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail map]
Withlacoochee River labeled Suwanee R. in 1823 Irwin and 1834 Lowndes County maps; current WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail map

You do know the Ockolocoochee River as the Little River, of the Withlacoochee, of the Suwannee.

Here is news from 1889 that also includes the boat that didn’t survive from Troupville to Ellaville, which was apparently not a paddlewheel steamer. Continue reading

Pictures: Nice day for a portage around Big Shoals, Suwannee River 2021-05-19

Four is enough for a fun Suwannee River paddle and portage around Big Shoals. Thanks to Bobby McKenzie for leading us.

[Put In, Portage, Big Shoals, Bell Springs Run, Little Shoals, US 41]
Put In, Portage, Big Shoals, Bell Springs Run, Little Shoals, US 41

There are many more pictures on the WWALS website, with copies on facebook.

Dennis Price will lead us through the same stretch on Continue reading

Pictures: Sullivan Launch to Madison Blue Spring Withlacoochee River 2015-10-24

A fine day, balmy, breezy, sunny, with springs and rapids and fine company, from Sullivan Launch to Madison Blue Spring on the Withlacoochee River, in the October WWALS Outing, October 24, 2015.

[Onwards from Hardee Spring 30.5444069, -83.2500076]
Onwards from Hardee Spring 30.5444069, -83.2500076

This is part of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail, and you can join the committee!

Below are some pictures. Click on any small picture to see a larger version. Pictured: many shoals and rapids.

[Pinetta Gage steps and old-style measure 30.5957374, -83.2598038]
Pinetta Gage steps and old-style measure 30.5957374, -83.2598038

The Pinetta gage (pictured) read 6.4 feet. Any lower and more dragging boats would have been necessary. Lots of cypress, oaks, pines, and other native species.

Not pictured: a large turtle, numerous birds (heron, ibis, hawk, buzzard, others), and fish (mullet, bass). No gators. Very few invasive species, except the notorious Japanese climbing fern.

Watch the WWALS Outings for more outings and events!
https://wwals.net/outings/

 -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/

After

[WWALS at Madison Blue Spring --Gretchen Quarterman]
WWALS at Madison Blue Spring –Gretchen Quarterman

Before

[Gathering]
Gathering

Pinnetta Gauge

[Pinetta Gage Tower 30.5957374, -83.2598038]
Pinetta Gage Tower 30.5957374, -83.2598038

Old Belleville Bridge

[Belleville Bridge buttress from below 30.5953369, -83.2596130]
Belleville Bridge buttress from below 30.5953369, -83.2596130

On the water

[CR 150 bridge, looking upstream 30.5956955, -83.2594681]
CR 150 bridge, looking upstream 30.5956955, -83.2594681

First Shoals

[Shoals 30.5941982, -83.2590637]
Shoals 30.5941982, -83.2590637

Flotilla

[Gretchen and the boaters 30.5822926, -83.2627106]
Gretchen and the boaters 30.5822926, -83.2627106

Second Shoals

[More shoals 30.5819988, -83.2626953]
More shoals 30.5819988, -83.2626953

First Spring

[Coffee Spring 30.5775184, -83.2618179]
Coffee Spring 30.5775184, -83.2618179

Onwards

[Froth 30.5762119, -83.2609482]
Froth 30.5762119, -83.2609482

Third Shoals

[Sighting the rapids 30.5697098, -83.2624817]
Sighting the rapids 30.5697098, -83.2624817

On down the river

[Two directions 30.5679722, -83.2606277]
Two directions 30.5679722, -83.2606277

Eyott

[Island, or rather eyott? 30.5653133, -83.2575378]
Island, or rather eyott? 30.5653133, -83.2575378

Fossilized

[Fossils for lunch 30.5626812, -83.2563248]
Fossils for lunch 30.5626812, -83.2563248

River House

[House 30.5626812, -83.2563248]
House 30.5626812, -83.2563248

Left bank island

[Island on left 30.5626812, -83.2563248]
Island on left 30.5626812, -83.2563248

Karst

[Confab 30.5626812, -83.2563248]
Confab 30.5626812, -83.2563248

Tiny Fourth Shoals

[White water 30.5529365, -83.2608795]
White water 30.5529365, -83.2608795

Soon Spring

[Spring coming up 30.5446434, -83.2505264]
Spring coming up 30.5446434, -83.2505264

Hardee (Rossetter) Spring

[Hardee Spring dam 30.5446434, -83.2505264]
Hardee Spring dam 30.5446434, -83.2505264

After Hardee

[Onwards from Hardee Spring 30.5444069, -83.2500076]
Onwards from Hardee Spring 30.5444069, -83.2500076

Rock Tree

[Dan and the rock tree 30.5336761, -83.2483062]
Dan and the rock tree 30.5336761, -83.2483062

Balcones

[Undercut caves 30.5118561, -83.2455368]
Undercut caves 30.5118561, -83.2455368

PBR

[A boat ramp 30.5118217, -83.2455063]
A boat ramp 30.5118217, -83.2455063

Black Rocks

[Interesting black rocks 30.4932423, -83.2414474]
Interesting black rocks 30.4932423, -83.2414474

Fifth Shoals

[Rapids 30.4910717, -83.2443161]
Rapids 30.4910717, -83.2443161

Karst Tree

[Karst tree 30.4899406, -83.2438965]
Karst tree 30.4899406, -83.2438965

Egret

[Green bank, white bird 30.4822121, -83.2433777]
Green bank, white bird 30.4822121, -83.2433777

FL 6 Bridge

[FL 6 bridge from downstream 30.4812660, -83.2434616]
FL 6 bridge from downstream 30.4812660, -83.2434616

MBS

[Just around those logs 30.4810009, -83.2436981]
Just around those logs 30.4810009, -83.2436981

 -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/

Willacoochee to Lakeland, Alapaha River, 2021-08-10, 2021-08-19

See the Alapaha River for yourself, in these 360-degree views, on Earthviews, taken in August 2021 by WWALS member Bobby McKenzie.

[Willacoochee Landing, overhanging branches, GA & FL RR, mile marker, beach, Lakeland Boat Ramp; ARWT map]
Willacoochee Landing, overhanging branches, GA & FL RR, mile marker, beach, Lakeland Boat Ramp; ARWT map

Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 to Berrien Beach Boat Ramp @ GA 168

That’s 19.17 river miles, on August 10, 2021. Continue reading

Upgrade Suwannee River Basin rivers to Recreational –WWALS to GA-EPD 2021-06-30

There are a couple of new things in what I sent on the deadline day, yesterday. (PDF)

  1. Funds are now available to buy the private land at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, which was the main impediment to plans for the Troupville River Camp and Troupville River Park.
  2. Stakeholders in the One Valdosta-Lowndes initiative met and decided their number one community and economic development priority is: Troupville River Camp.

For what this is all about, see Calling for pictures of swimming, diving, rapids, tubing, water skiing, or surfing, Suwannee River Basin, Georgia.

[Rivers, Letter]
Rivers, Letter


June 30, 2021

To: EPD.Comments@dnr.ga.gov
Elizabeth Booth, Environmental Protection Division
Watershed Protection Branch,
Watershed Planning & Monitoring Program,
Suite 1152 East, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr., Atlanta, GA 30334

Re: Georgia Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards

Dear Ms. Booth,

Once again I would like to commend you and all the GA-EPD staff for your diligence in this Triennial Review process. I thank you for your consideration of the request by WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) to upgrade GA EPD’s designated use of the Little, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Suwannee Rivers, as well as Grand Bay WMA, Banks Lake NWR, and the Okefenokee NWR, from Fishing to Recreational, to set higher water quality standards for these bodies of water.

In the interests of saving you and me time, I will try to merely summarize the arguments I have already made, while adding some material you may not have previously seen.

Year-Round

As you know WWALS would prefer that redesignation applied uniformly, year-round. As you mentioned in the recent EPD zoom meeting on this subject, perhaps one reason Florida has all its rivers as Recreational by default is its climate. South Georgia, like north Florida (and unlike north Georgia) has a subtropical climate in which we are not surprised by 80-degree weather in January. People swim, dive, fish, and boat on our rivers year-round. Some people even prefer to be on and in the water in the winter because there are fewer insects. I have recently been reminded that local churches also use them for immersion baptisms, which can happen in any season of the year.

Recreational Data Spreadsheet

Per request of EPD, please find attached a Recreational Data Spreadsheet, which is also online here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1g9gLcNnbRx4H9djZAlKd1ZaB7zrlmDbz/view?usp=sharing

In that spreadsheet are examples of swimming and diving locations, including almost every boat ramp or landing, plus selected sandbars, beaches, and springs. Also included are a few examples of rapids. None of them are Class III, but at least two are Class II+, and as Gwyneth Moody pointed out on the recent zoom, people frequently capsize in those.

Included for every location in that spreadsheet is a link to further information, mostly to one of our three river trails (“blue trails”):

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

Alapahoochee River paddle, GA 135 to Sasser Landing, 2021-06-05

Update 2021-12-26: Pictures: Alapahoochee River, GA 135 to Sullivan Launch 2021-06-05.

Leisurely paddle on the rarely visited Alapahoochee River from Georgia into the Alapaha River in Florida.

This is a short paddle but may have deadfalls to navigate depending on water levels. We’ve been trying to plan an outing on this river, also called Little River, Little Alapaha, or Grand Bay Canal, since 2014, so come on along! Bring ropes for the front and back of your boat.

Down this secluded winding blackwater river, we will cross the GA-FL line, see an antique road bridge, some Class II (moderate) rapids under the power line, and the very pretty Turket Creek waterfall, on the way to the Alapahoochee Confluence and our takeout on the Alapaha River.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 9:30 AM, end 11:30 AM, Saturday, June 5, 2021

Put In: GA 135 Bridge, 2.3 miles north of Jennings, Florida, 20 miles southeast of Lake Park, Georgia, by way of Jennings, and 12.5 miles south of Statenville, Georgia.
We’re hoping local musician Bird Chamberlain can direct us to the best side of the bridge and river to put in.
Be warned: “A take out can be done but it’s a steep 25 foot 45 degree slippery climb over sand covered rocks. Putting in would be less difficult but still not easy.” South Georgia Kayak Fishing, 2011-09-03.

GPS: 30.628652, -83.088283

Take Out: Sasser Landing

Bring: ropes on front and back of your boat, 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.

Come early or late and you can also help clean up trash at GA 376, where Elizabeth Reynolds reported a big mess more than a year ago.

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

[Alapahoochee River, GA 135 Bridge, Swilley Road Bridge, Turket Creek waterfall]
Alapahoochee River, GA 135 Bridge, Swilley Road Bridge, Turket Creek waterfall

Continue reading

Big Shoals, Suwannee River, Florida, 2021-05-19

Update 2022-09-08: Nice day for a portage around Big Shoals, Suwannee River 2021-05-19.

Update 2021-05-18: It’s a half mile portage, so bring boat wheels and be prepared to haul over some rough spots down to the beach of the two gators.

Paddle to and portage past the biggest rapids in Florida: Big Shoals and Little Shoals on the Suwannee River, on this short weekday trip.

[Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map]
Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 2 PM, Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Put In: Big Shoals Tract Launch.
From White Springs, travel north on CR 135 to SE 94 Street (Godwin Bridge Road); turn right and follow road to Big Shoals, in Hamilton County.

GPS: 30.353167, -82.687333

Portage: The portage is 400 feet long.
Participants must be able to carry everything they bring from the beginning of the portage to the re-launch. Also must have fairly good physical conditioning and balance to climb up and down banks to re-launch.

Shirley Kokidko, experienced with this section of the Suwannee, says, “I’m 65 and I can do it, but it’s not easy, and takes a good bit of teamwork to get everybody re-launched. No children. Let’s keep this group to a safe number. On a weekday that probably won’t be a problem.”

Everyone must have a bowline, rope of any sort, very much needed to help lower boats back into the water after the portage. Continue reading

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