Georgia Rivers Gala

Outdoor recreation enthusiasts, conservationists and leaders from across the state gathered to celebrate 25 years of protecting rivers and waterways for everyone to enjoy.  The inaugural Georgia Rivers Gala on September 8 at 42West in Atlanta was a special evening with a sit-down dinner, program, live auction and dance band.

photos by Erik Voss

Honoring Okefenokee Swamp Champions

The Georgia Rivers Gala recognized leaders working to protect the Okefenokee Swamp.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chief David Hill shared the importance of the Okefenokee Swamp as his tribal homeland. Representative Darlene Taylor introduced HB71 and united more than 90 legislators  to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill–a nearly unprecedented achievement.  U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff again urged Georgia to reject the mining application near the Okefenokee.

Read highlights from Senator Ossoff’s speech in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Hear Chief David Hill’s speech on the GRN YouTube channel. 

Celebrating 25 Years of River Protection

With a legacy of 25 years, there were many individuals and organizations to thank for their investment in making Georgia River Network the only statewide organization dedicated solely to protecting Georgia’s waterways.

The gala recognized founders Dubose Porter and Keith Parsons for organizing Georgia River Network in 1998. Their vision to start a citizen advocacy  group has now helped create cleaner, more publicly accessible rivers across the state.  

Board president Lynn McIntyre presented Bonny Putney with the River Angel award for her years of support and special focus on river clean ups. Last year, Bonny and the Lake Lanier Association’s shore sweep removed 90 tons of trash from the lake!

Georgia Power Company was recognized as a lifetime corporate sponsor of Georgia River Network. Georgia Power Company provided the initial funding to start Paddle Georgia 18 years ago, and continues to support our branching paddle programs.  In the last two years, Georgia Power Company funding has allowed us to train over two dozen diverse outdoor leaders as certified ACA kayak instructors to connect even more communities to the water.

Connecting to Georgia’s Waterways

The Georgia Rivers Gala auction included an opportunity to purchase scholarships for youth to participate in paddle programs. Outdoor recreation enthusiasts made 37 pledges to sponsor youth paddling, totaling over $10,000Thank you for supporting the next generation of water advocates!

Thank you to our sponsors




Bonny Putney

Elizabeth Benator

Alston & Philip Watt

Bill Cox

Kelly Jordan

Bill Calton

Jim Giattina

Senator Shawn Still

Lynn McIntyre

Jack Spalding

June Deen

Keith & Shirl Parsons

Deborah & David Wright

Dika Kuoh

Rep Mary Frances Williams

Blaudow Family Fund

Mildred & John Spalding

Dubose Porter

The Presten Firm

Terry and Cheri Morris

Allison Conrad

Bill Eisenhauer

126 South Milledge Avenue, Suite E3, Athens, Georgia 30605 | (706) 549-4508 (phone) |