Tag Archives: Spook Bridge

Clean Rivers 2022-04-15

Update 2022-04-22: Clean Rivers 2022-04-21.

Due to little rain, the Withlacoochee, Little, and Alapaha Rivers tested clean for last week. There has been significant rain since then, so conditions may have changed. As in E. coli may have washed down Okapilco Creek from cattle manure or from other creeks from other sources. There have been no new sewage spill reports for Georgia or Florida for the Suwannee River Basin.

Apologies for the late WWALS test results report. There were communication confusions during the holiday weekend.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide]
Chart, River, Swim Guide

Thanks to Elizabeth Brunner for testing her usual three GA 122 sites Thursday, at Folsom Bridge on the Little River, Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, and Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River. Thanks to Gus Cleary for testing Wednesday his usual Cleary’s Bluff below Allen Ramp on the Withlacoochee River. And thanks to Sara and Scotti Jay for testing the Withlacoochee River Friday at Spook Bridge, Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps.

The most recent data we have from Valdosta is from last Monday upstream and Friday a week ago downstream. The Valdosta data for week before last corroborates our previous WWALS report. Continue reading

Pictures: Troupville Boat Ramp to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River 2022-02-18

Plenty of water, and the water temperature is up to 58 degrees! The latest weather prediction is sunny with a high of 64 tomorrow.

Come on down tomorrow (Saturday) morning to Troupville Boat Ramp for the third annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle on the Withlacoochee River to Spook Bridge!

[Troupville Boat Ramp, lunch stop, US 84 rapids, Spook Bridge]
Troupville Boat Ramp, lunch stop, US 84 rapids, Spook Bridge

Take St. Augustine Road west past the Mall, cross I-75, and at the light for Val Tech Road turn left down to Troupville Boat Ramp.

Drop off your boat, sign in, and join the shuttle convoy to Spook Bridge.

The Hahira Gauge (Little River @ GA 122, Folsom Bridge) reads Continue reading

Rescheduled: Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2022-02-19

Update 2022-02-15: We’re go for this Saturday, February 19, 2022, for the Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle. Saturday is going to be the coolest day of the week, but that’s low 39, high 64, much warmer than last month, and the water temperature at US 84 is currently 51F, much higher than the mid-40s last time. Dress warmly in layers and bring a dry change of clothes in a waterproof bag just in case. And come on down to Troupville Boat Ramp this Saturday!

Valdosta, Georgia, January 26, 2021 — An unusual cold snap is expected this Saturday, too cold for novice paddlers. So we’re rescheduling three weeks later, for Saturday, February 19, 2022. Everything else is the same; only the date has changed.

Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter summed it up, “Safety should be considered above all and hypothermia is a huge issue if someone was to go in the water!”

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman added, “Water temperature was already down to 47 degrees Monday at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River, and air temperatures for this Saturday are predicted to be low of 22 and high of 42. So hypothermia is indeed a risk, however seldom seen in south Georgia. Also not many people would turn out in such cold.”

Valdosta Mayor Scott James said, “So we’re all agreed: Saturday, February 19, 2022. Come as early as 8AM to get on the shuttle!”

[Troupville Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, WWTP clean outfall, Spook Bridge, Takeout]
Troupville Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, WWTP clean outfall, Spook Bridge, Takeout

We hope there will still be plenty of water 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.

Valdosta Mayor Scott James said, “I am excited to partner once again with WWALS, plus this time with Lowndes County, to show people our fabulous blackwater rivers, Continue reading

Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River

Valdosta, Georgia, January 19, 2021 — Looks like there will be plenty of water 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.

Valdosta Mayor Scott James said, “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. Valdosta is proud to hardly ever have a sewage spill anymore, and now we’re working on eliminating trash from the river. We remain committed to preventing any issues that may impact our Withlacoochee River. I invite everyone to come out and join us for a day of fellowship on the river!” 

“Come on down to where I used to fish as a child, and with my children!” said Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter. “I’ve spoken at this paddle every year, and this year I hope you will paddle.”

“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. We’ll be testing temperatures with an infrared thermometer as people arrive. If you’re ill in any way, please stay home.” Continue reading

Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle: Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River, 2022-01-29

Update 2022-01-26: Rescheduled: Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2022-02-19.

Join us for a leisurely paddle on the Withlacoochee River past the clean outfall of the Valdosta Withlacoochee Wastewater Plant, which has not spilled in years. See turtles, fish, birds, cypress, pines, oaks, palmetto, and maybe otters. Probably no alligators, although you could be lucky. You will see the signs where the notorious Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline leaked drilling fluid into the river.

Previously called the Mayor’s Paddle, this third annual is the Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle, as in the Chairman of Lowndes County and the Mayor of Valdosta, who are working to purchase land you will see at the Little River Confluence for a future Troupville River Park and Troupville River Camp. The route also runs along Brooks County, and is upstream of Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida: y’all come.

When: Gather 8 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, January 29, 2022

Put In: Troupville Boat Ramp, 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602: on GA 133 off I-75 exit 18. Lowndes County. Go west across I-75 on St. Augustine Road (GA 133), turn left at the light for Val Tech Road.

GPS: 30.652536, -83.34586

Take Out: Spook Bridge. Park outside the gate at the corner of Old Quitman Highway and Martin Lane. Do not drive onto the private property; we will have shuttle golf carts and such for the last half mile up from the river. Thanks to The Langdale Company for access for the lunch spot and the takeout below Spook Bridge.

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/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, Withlacoochee River, WWTP clean outfall, Spook Bridge, Takeout]
Troupville Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, WWTP clean outfall, Spook Bridge, Takeout; Photos: John S. Quarterman on the previous Mayor’s Paddle 2021-03-27

Continue reading

Pictures: Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River, Mayor’s Paddle 2021-03-27

Third scheduled time was the charm for the Second Annual Mayor’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River, Troupville Boat Ramp to Spook Bridge. In addition to the nice writeup in the Valdosta Daily Times, here are some pictures. Only two or three people capsized, nobody was mad, and everybody had a good time.

[Troupville Boat Ramp, WWTP Outfall, Spring Branch, Lunch banners, Spook Bridge Landing, VSU CORE, Ride]
Troupville Boat Ramp, WWTP Outfall, Spring Branch, Lunch banners, Spook Bridge Landing, VSU CORE, Ride

The 2022 version will be the Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle, coming up Saturday, January 29, 2021 2022. Stay tuned. Update 2021-10-28: Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle: Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River, 2022-01-29.

Thanks to The Langdale Company for access at the lunch spot and at Spook Bridge. Thanks to the Boys and Girls Club for shuttling. Thanks to Steve Miller for his ATV for shuttling people up from the river at Spook Bridge to the road. Thanks to Bobby McKenzie for leading the outing.

We found some landmarks, such as where the Valdosta, Moultrie, and Western (VMW) Railroad used to cross the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading

VDT on Mayor’s Paddle

This one went well. Next year we’ll call it something like the Mayor and Chairman’s paddle. Thanks to everyone who came for supporting WWALS outings and advocacy.

[Troupville Boat Ramp, WWTP Outfall]
Troupville Boat Ramp, WWTP Outfall; Photos: John S. Quarterman

Down the River: Mayor’s Paddle back on track, Bryce Ethridge, Valdosta Daily Times, 29 March 2021,

VALDOSTA — Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson and 40-plus city and Lowndes County residents gathered Saturday for a three-hour trip down the Withlacoochee River.

The Mayor’s Paddle is a fundraiser and kayaking experience that started in 2020 via a partnership with WWALS Watershed Coalition. “Last year, we formed it just to have a conversation with the cities and municipalities to our south, and to anybody who loved the river here,” Matheson said. “It was our way of saying we’re fully and only committed to keeping this waterway clean and useful for everybody in the area.”

WWALS also partners with Banks Lake Outdoors for free boat rental for the Banks Lake Full Moon paddles.

We partner with Friends of Reed Bingham State Park (FORB) for the BIG Little River Paddle Race, coming up April 24, 2021, at Reed Bingham State Park, between Adel and Moultrie, Georgia, and FORB actually does about half the work on that one.

You could say we partner with the downstream Florida counties in advocating that they should be paid back by Valdosta for the expense they’ve gone to in well and river water quality testing since Valdosta’s December 2019 record sewage spill.

We didn’t have many participants from Florida or elsewhere this time. Maybe we’ll have to do another paddle downstream in Florida for that.

Meanwhile, thanks to The Langdale Company for access at Spook Bridge and at the lunch stop. Continue reading

Withlacoochee River flood paddle 2021-02-27

Some of us paddled anyway back in February, after we first rescheduled the Mayor’s Paddle, which is coming up next weekend, Saturday, March 27, 2021. Two months earlier, it was smooth sailing for experienced paddlers. The overhanging branches would have been a problem for novices, and there were very few places to get out if you did capsize.

But the Withlacoochee River should be just right by this Saturday, so come on along!
https://wwals.net/?p=54923

You’ll get to see the Little River Confluence, future site of Troupville River Camp, when it’s not underwater, as well as the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant Outfall (of clean treated water), Millrace Creek and other creeks, as well as three bridges, including our takeout just below Spook Bridge. Thanks to The Langdale Company for access there and at the lunch stop.

WWALS is happy to have Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson as our guest. He will speak before we paddle, as will Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter. We are inviting nearby county and city officials in Georgia and Florida, as well as statehouse and Congress members. Each elected official will get three minutes to speak.

[Left: Smooth paddling, Mayor at WWTP Outfall, Sunny overhanging limbs, Buzzards, Lunch stop with Russell's turtle, Spook Bridge]
Left: Smooth paddling, Mayor at WWTP Outfall, Sunny overhanging limbs, Buzzards, Lunch stop with Russell’s turtle, Spook Bridge

[Need a bigger boat, Mayor?, 09:06:29, 30.8515344, -83.3478232]
Need a bigger boat, Mayor?, 09:06:29, 30.8515344, -83.3478232

I will say a few words about advocacy, especially water quality testing. Expedition leader Bobby McKenzie will give the safety lecture. Then we will paddle!

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

WWALS Vision for water quality and access in Lowndes County, Georgia 2021-03-01

Lowndes County, Georgia, already has much river, lake, and swamp access. More people need to know about that. Plus there is substantial room for improvement, in access and in water quality, health, and safety.

[Letter, Map]
Letter, Map

March 1, 2020

To: David Barth
Barth Associates
david@barthassoc.com

Cc: George Page, Executive Director
Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Rec. Authority
gpage@vlpra.com

Re: WWALS vision for
Lowndes County waterways

Dear Dr. Barth and Director Page,

Thank you for the invitation to provide suggestions for resource protection and recreational access for the Rivers and other waterways of Lowndes County, including access, water quality, land acquisition, etc. Please see below a list of such suggested improvements.

For the rivers and the aquifer,
John S. Quarterman
Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
/s
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.

Health and Safety

Continue reading

Water level reschedule: Mayor’s paddle, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-27

Valdosta, Georgia, February 25, 2021 — “We’re rescheduling four weeks later, for 8AM, Saturday, March 27, 2021,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Right now, where we usually park the boats at the end of the paddle is under water. The Withlacoochee River is spread out in the flood plain, increasing possibility of people getting tipped over by overhanging branches. So a month later makes a lot more sense for attracting novice paddlers.”

[Spook Bridge this week and last year]
Spook Bridge this week and last year
Spook Bridge almost 20 feet different.
Photos: John S. Quarterman 2021-02-23 at 107.5′ NAVD88 or above sea level (24′ above the riverbed),
Gretchen Quarterman 2020-01-18 at 88′ NAVD88 (4.5′).

“With the Withlacoochee River still hovering around flood stage, myself and WWALS, in consultation with Lowndes County Emergency Management Director Ashley Tye, have decided to postpone the Mayor’s Paddle ’till Saturday, March 27, at 8AM. We again ask everyone with a love for our area blueways to mark that date and join us for a great day of fellowship on the river!”

“As always, I will give a good safety briefing, ” said expedition leader Bobby McKenzie. “Wear your PFD and stick with the group. But conditions should be much better for novice paddlers in a few weeks.”

“Better safe than sorry!” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. “This Saturday you can still come to our Banks Lake Full Moon Paddle, to see the sun set and the moon rise, and maybe see bats fly out. Gather at 5:45 PM at Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County. We do those every full moon, plus at least one daytime river paddle a month, in Florida or Georgia. At all outings during this pandemic, we’ll be testing temperatures with an infrared thermometer as people arrive. If you’re ill in any way, please stay home.”

When: Gather 8 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, March 27, 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

Directions: Head west from Valdosta on GA 133 (St. Augustine Road), cross I-75 and the Withlacoochee River, and at the light for Val Tech Road turn left into the park around Troupville Boat Ramp.

Come as early as 8 AM to Troupville Boat Ramp, drop off your boats, and drive to Spook Bridge. Two 15-seat vans provided by the Boys & Girls Club will shuttle you back to Troupville. “We’re happy to do this,” said Bill Holt, VP of Operations, Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta. “Just remember to wear your mask and sit with social distancing.”

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 and to a midway lunch stop for this outing, and for water quality testing.

“Speaking of river access, some of you are aware that it’s a long walk up from the Withlacoochee River below Spook Bridge to Old Quitman Highway. Not to worry: when we do this paddle, WWALS will have a 16-foot trailer to haul boats and a golf cart for people who don’t want to walk the quarter mile up to the road. At the midpoint, we will also have a truck and trailer waiting to haul out the (few, we hope) people who want to get out there. Thanks again to The Langdale Company for access to both places,” said WWALS member Steve Miller, who is supplying the golf cart.

“All elected officials present, both from Florida and Georgia, will have three minutes each to speak, both at the put-in and at the midway point,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Don’t worry: only a few of them will. But you can paddle up to them and ask questions. Just remember to stay six feet apart. Wear a mask if you get any closer to anybody not in your party, either on land or water.” added Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Take a look at the signs by the boat ramp for the WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. They show the whole trail and what you can expect to see near Troupville Boat Ramp.”

The paddle starts at the site of historic Troupville, the Lowndes County seat before Valdosta. The entrance road is the old north-south Broad Street of Troupville, which continues into the woods. That greatly simplifies planning for the future Troupville River Park. Paddling a few thousand feet, we come to the Little River Confluence with the WIthlacoochee, with its view of rivers in three directions. The Confluence is in the private Land Between the Rivers (LBTR), which you can help become part of Troupville River Park. Just upstream on the Withlacoochee is the future site of a paddle boat take-out for Troupville River Camp, with screened-in sleeping platforms and bathrooms with hot and cold running water and air conditioning. Paddle on down the Withlacoochee River and see the turtles, birds, fish, and cypress and pine trees.

The clean water outfall from Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) makes an impressive waterfall. Valdosta now tests three times a week on forty river miles from US 41 to the state line, which is one big way we know the river is clean from E. coli most of the time, along with twice-weekly downstream testing by Madison Health in Florida, and tests by WWALS, plus occasional bacterial tests and DNA marker and chemical tracer data from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. WWALS will also test the water quality from the river the Thursday before the paddle. See https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

We will pass several creeks, and the notorious Sabal Trail methane pipeline. If the river stays up somewhat, we will float right over County Line Shoals, just upstream from US 84. Just below US 84 is a railroad bridge, and around the last bend is Spook Bridge, so famous it has its own movie. We take out on the left bank just below the bridge.

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 Continue reading