Tag Archives: Suwannee River Wilderness Trail

Okefenokee Camp, Paddle, and Cast Iron Campfire Cooking 2021-12-03-05

Two nights of camping at Griffis Fish Camp, with a paddle back down there on the Suwannee River Saturday from Stephen C. Foster State Park, and an optional paddle upstream to Billys Island in the Okefenokee Swamp Sunday, plus cast iron campfire cooking each night.

We have the Red Top Shelter reserved for the group, you can pitch your tent anywhere in that vicinity. Everyone is responsible for paying Mr. Griffis on site for camping and launch fee: $5 per person per night and $2.00 launch fee. Reservations not required for tent camping. There are restrooms and showers. There is one electrical outlet for everyone to share, and one water spigot. This is rustic camping. If you’re bringing a camper, call and get a reservation for hookup.

When: Gather before dark if you can, camping, Friday, December 3, 2021
Gather 8:30 AM, launch 9 AM to paddle from SCFSP to Griffis Fish Camp, Saturday, December 4, 2021
Gather 8 AM, launch 9 AM to paddle upstream from SCFSP to Billys Island, Sunday, December 5, 2021

Camping: Griffis Fish Camp, 10333 Ga Highway 177 Fargo, Georgia 31631. From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and travel 10 miles northeast; Griffis Fish Camp is on left. Clinch County. Call in advance to reserve pavillions: 229-415-9601; pay tharges on site.

GPS: 30.78246, -82.443594

No paddle is planned for Friday so come and set up camp anytime that afternoon. Mr. Griffis will probably come around Saturday evening to collect from campers. We’ll have a campfire Friday and Saturday nights, bring firewood if you can. It’s going to be chilly.

It gets dark early, the sun sets at 5:26 p.m., we’ll get the fire going and prepare for cast iron/campfire cooking. Show us what you can do with your old cast iron pan! There is no menu and anything goes, including hot dogs on a palmetto stick. Or even S’mores. Bring your own drinks, plate, bowl, utensils, etc. to help reduce waste. The more the merrier but cooking is completely optional. Come enjoy the campfire.

Put In: Stephen C. Foster State Park Ramp, 17515 GA-177, Fargo, GA 31631. From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and travel to Stephen C. Foster State Park. Charlton County.

GPS: 30.826833, -82.361333

Saturday morning we leave Griffis at 8:45 and drive to Stephen C. Foster State Park. Be prepared to help with shuttling vehicles. Park fees apply if you don’t have a Ga. State Park, or Federal pass. Parking passes are free to borrow at any Ga. library. We launch at the park marina and enjoy a 7.5 mile downstream paddle in the Okefenokee, going past Mixon’s Hammock, on though the Narrows, over the Sill, and back to Griffis. There can be swift, twisting currents, depending on water level. PFD required at all times on the water. We’ll take a break after we get through the Sill.

Sunday morning there will be an optional paddle to historic Billy’s Island. There is no specific checkout time so you can pack up before or after the paddle.

Take Out: Griffis Fish Camp Landing, 10333 Ga Highway 177 Fargo, Georgia 31631. From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and travel 10 miles northeast; Griffis Fish Camp is on left. Clinch County.

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

[Griffis Camp sign]

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Telford Springs: Hal Adams Bridge to Hardenbergh Boat Ramp, Suwannee River, 2021-09-18

Update 2021-09-17: Cancelled.

Leisurely paddle down the Suwannee River visiting Telford Springs, Peacock Slough River Camp, as well as Cow and Running Springs for some cooling off swim time.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 3 PM, Saturday, September 18, 2021

Put In: Hal W. Adams Bridge Ramp. From Mayo, travel north on SR 51 to the river and the ramp is on the right, in Lafayette County.

GPS: 30.098833, -83.171

Take Out: Hardenbergh Ramp

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

[Paddle Map: WWALS SRWT]
Paddle Map: WWALS map of Suwannee River Wilderness Trail (SRWT)

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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”):

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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

Spring Reschedule: Adams Tract River Camping, Suwannee River, Hardenbergh Boat Ramp, 2021-04-10

All the river camps are closed due to high water for the Spring Equinox weekend, so we are rescheduling the Adams Tract Camping paddle for Saturday and Sunday 10-11 April, 2021.

Join us for our first spring paddle, on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail in Florida!

We will paddle 8 miles on the Suwannee River the first day, and 10 miles on the second day, after camping at Adams Tract River Camp. There are many springs along the way.

We will check temperatures with an infrared thermometer, and everyone will be expected to keep their distance from people not in their party, and to wear masks when closer than six feet. Self shuttle if you can (have a close friend or relative shuttle you), or join the team shuttle from the takeout back to the put-in; see below.

To be sure you have a spot at the camp, please say you’re going on the meetup.
https://www.meetup.com/Withlacoochee-Alapaha-Suwannee-RIvers-WWALS-Outings/events/276407283/
River Camp platforms are available on first-come first-serve basis, so plan for primitive camping.

When:
Gather 9:30 AM, launch 11 AM, end overnight, Saturday, April 10, 2021
Gather 8 AM, launch 9 AM, end 2 PM, Sunday, April 11, 2021

Put In: Hardenbergh Boat Ramp. From Mayo, travel east on US 27 to NE CR 361; turn left; travel north to NE CR 354; cross over to NE Pecan Avenue; turn right on NE River Road and follow to the boat ramp, in Lafayette County.

GPS: 30.0903, -83.111903

Take Out: Ivey Memorial Park Ramp, in Branford on the south side of US 27 at the Bridge in Ivey Memorial Park, in Suwannee County.

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

[Adams Tract River Camp, Spring lily, map, Suwannee River Wilderness Trail]
Adams Tract River Camp, Spring lily, map, Suwannee River Wilderness Trail

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Big Shoals, Suwannee River, Florida, 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

Equinox Reschedule: Adams Tract River Camping, Suwannee River, Hardenbergh Boat Ramp, 2021-03-20

Update 2021-03-19: All the river camps are closed due to high water for the Spring Equinox weekend, so we are rescheduling the Adams Tract Camping paddle for Saturday and Sunday 10-11 April, 2021.

Update 2021-03-17: All the River Camps on the Suwannee River are closed due to high water, with more rain expected tomorrow (Thursday). Unless the River Camps open up by 3pm Friday, we will reschedule the Adams Tract Camping paddle for Saturday and Sunday 10-11 April, 2011. Everyone please stay tuned.

Update 2021-03-16: To be sure you have a spot at the camp, please say you’re going on the meetup.

Due to high water, we have rescheduled to the Spring Equinox! Help us welcome in Spring on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail in Florida.

We will paddle 8 miles on the Suwannee River the first day, and 10 miles on the second day, after camping at Adams Tract River Camp. There are many springs along the way.

[Adams Tract River Camp, map, Suwannee River Wilderness Trail]
Adams Tract River Camp, map, Suwannee River Wilderness Trail

We will check temperatures with an infrared thermometer, and everyone will be expected to keep their distance from people not in their party, and to wear masks when closer than six feet. Self shuttle if you can (have a close friend or relative shuttle you), or join the team shuttle from the takeout back to the put-in; see below.

River Camp platforms are available on first-come first-serve basis so, plan for primitive camping.

When:
Gather 9:30 AM, launch 11 AM, end overnight, Saturday, March 20, 2021, which is the Spring Equinox
Gather 8 AM, launch 9 AM, end 2 PM, Sunday, March 21, 2021

[Spring Equinox --TimeandDate.com]
Spring Equinox, https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/spring-equinox.html

Put In: Hardenbergh Boat Ramp. From Mayo, travel east on US 27 to NE CR 361; turn left; travel north to NE CR 354; cross over to NE Pecan Avenue; turn right on NE River Road and follow to the boat ramp, in Lafayette County.

GPS: 30.0903, -83.111903

Take Out: Ivey Memorial Park Ramp, in Branford on the south side of US 27 at the Bridge in Ivey Memorial Park, in Suwannee County.

Bring: primitive camping gear, 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

Adams Tract River Camping, Suwannee River, Hardenbergh Boat Ramp, 2021-03-06

Update 2021-03-19: All the river camps are closed due to high water for the Spring Equinox weekend, so we are rescheduling the Adams Tract Camping paddle for Saturday and Sunday 10-11 April, 2021.

Update 2021-03-01: Rescheduled to the Spring Equinox, March 20, 2021.

Join us for pre-spring on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail in Florida! We will paddle 8 miles on the Suwannee River the first day, and 10 miles on the second day, after camping at Adams Tract River Camp. There are many springs along the way.

We will check temperatures with an infrared thermometer, and everyone will be expected to keep their distance from people not in their party, and to wear masks when closer than six feet. Self shuttle if you can (have a close friend or relative shuttle you), or join the team shuttle from the takeout back to the put-in; see below.

River Camp platforms are available on first-come first-serve basis so, plan for primitive camping.

When:
Gather 9:30 AM, launch 11 AM, end overnight, Saturday, March 6, 2021
Gather 8 AM, launch 9 AM, end 2 PM, Sunday, March 7, 2021

Put In: Hardenbergh Boat Ramp. From Mayo, travel east on US 27 to NE CR 361; turn left; travel north to NE CR 354; cross over to NE Pecan Avenue; turn right on NE River Road and follow to the boat ramp, in Lafayette County.

GPS: 30.0903, -83.111903

Take Out: Ivey Memorial Park Ramp, in Branford on the south side of US 27 at the Bridge in Ivey Memorial Park, in Suwannee County.

Bring: primitive camping gear, 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

[Adams Tract River Camp, map, Suwannee River Wilderness Trail]
Adams Tract River Camp, map, Suwannee River Wilderness Trail

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Reroute: New Year Ichetucknee Upstream Paddle 2021-01-02

Update 2020-01-05 TV coverage.

Different entrance (South), different landing (Dampier’s)!

We’re going to paddle upstream and back, on this first paddle of 2021, all on the Ichetucknee River, within the Park. This is because we’re not doing a shuttle due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic spike, We will be checking temperatures with an infrared thermometer. If you feel at all sick with anything, please stay home. Wear masks on land (we will have extras) and keep your distance.

When: Gather 10:00 AM, Launch 10:30 AM, End 4:00 PM, Saturday, January 2, 2021

Put In: Dampier’s Landing, About a 10 minute walk from parking lot at South Entrance, 11627 SW Us Highway 27, Fort White, Florida 32071, in Columbia County.

GPS of South Entrance to Ichetucknee Springs S.P.: 29.9519915, -82.7753791

Bring boat wheels: otherwise that’s a long carry for a boat from parking to the landing.

Upstream: It’s only two miles up to the top spring. Ichetucknee Springs State Park tells us no Ichy Nippy Dip Day for 2021, also due to the virus pandemic. However, anybody who paddles all the way up can dip in the spring.
There will be current, but nobody has to paddle up any farther than they want to. There’s a good rest stop at Midpoint Landing, less than a mile up.

Take Out: Dampier’s Landing.
If you feel adventurous, you could paddle a mile farther downstrearm, all the way to the last takeout, South Landing. But if you do that, you need to get back more than half a mile by foot to your car. You’ll really need your boat wheels.

Bring: boat wheels and warm clothes! And 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.

NOTE: The Ichetucknee is a non-disposable river; do not have any food or drinks in disposable packaging. All liquids and foods should be in reusable type containers. This helps keep litter out of our rivers.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Fee: There is a $5.00 park fee.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Map: Dampier's Landing in Ichetucknee Springs State Park]
Map: Dampier’s Landing in Ichetucknee Springs State Park,
in the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.

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Pictures: Up Bethel Creek to Quarry from Suwannee River 2020-07-18

Update 2020-12-27: Same pictures on facebook.

During the Suwannee River camping at Dowling Park River Camp last summer, two intrepid paddlers joined me to paddle up Bethel Creek to the quarry in Lafayette County, Florida, and up to the other quarry, and again, and over.

[Bethel Creek rapids, boats, downstream]
Bethel Creek rapids, boats, downstream

Megan Parker has had the full experience, and Jose helped. Continue reading