Paddle Georgia 2023

SAVANNAH RIVER

Paddle Georgia 2023 Savannah River June 24-July 1

Trip Summary

Paddle Georgia 2023 will explore more than 70 miles of the Savannah River, 6 miles of Brier Creek in Screven County, 6 miles of Ebenezer Creek in Effingham County, and finally, a 2-mile jaunt of Abercorn Creek to our finish line. A mix of big-river paddling on the alluvial Savannah and intimate blackwater creeks that feed into it, Paddle Georgia 2023 will introduce paddlers to the diversity and beauty of the lower Savannah River.

Ebenezer Creek in Effingham County

You’ll slip beneath fossil-filled bluffs and into mysterious backwater sloughs on the Savannah, marvel at ancient and mammoth cypress trees on Ebenezer Creek and paddle past the site of one of Georgia’s most renowned Revolutionary War battles on Brier Creek. As the primary conduit for the exploration of inland Georgia in the 18th century following the founding of the Georgia colony, the Savannah is our state’s most historic river. It is also among the most heavily used and engineered rivers in the state. Along the route, you’ll gain an understanding of how we have impacted the river and how we are now working to sustain and restore it, for our own preservation and the preservation of the wildlife that also depends on it.

Registration

Priority Registration for sponsors, supporter and past Paddle-A-Thon participants opens Jan. 26 at 8 a.m. Regular registration opens Feb. 7 at 8 a.m. Event will be limited to the first 350 registrants. 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW! 

Campsites

We’ll camp at Black Creek Scout Reservation near Sylvania and New Ebenezer Retreat Center near Springfield. At Black Creek, you can choose to rent Boy Scout platform tents with cots and mattresses, reserve (limited) space in an air-conditioned bunkhouse, pitch your tent beneath a covered pavilion or tent in shaded woods surrounding a multi-acre lake. RV camping is permitted but must be self-contained. Restrooms with toilets and showers are provided. Catered meals will be served in the reservation’s modern dining hall, and participants will have the opportunity to enjoy some of the reservation’s other amenities, including a zipline into the lake, a climbing wall and ropes course.

At New Ebenezer Retreat Center, we’ll tent camp on the wooded and shaded grounds of historic New Ebenezer founded in 1734 by Salzburger emigrants, Protestant refugees from Austria, and a stone’s throw from the oldest (1769) church building in Georgia. Limited indoor accommodations, including some private “hotel” rooms will be available. RV camping is permitted but must be self-contained. Restrooms with toilets and showers are provided. Our tent camping area will include supplemental shower trailers and porta-toilets. Catered meals will be served beneath an outdoor tent near a picturesque pond on the retreat center grounds. Participants will have access to a large air-conditioned common room and on-site swimming pool.

Journey Details:

Day 1 Brier Creek Boogie: Our adventure starts with a 6-mile boogie down the narrow, intimate and winding Brier Creek. Strainers and deadfall are to be expected, though we will do our best to create canoe-sized passages through all obstacles! Said to have gotten its English moniker from the Native American name Kanugu’la, meaning “scratchers,” we’ll find out firsthand just how many briers are along Brier Creek. As the creek nears the Savannah, it descends into a dense, primordial cypress-lined corridor that is among the most scenic creek paddles in the state.

 

 

Day 2 Poor Robin Rhumba: From the mouth of Brier Creek, we’ll venture 11 miles down the Savannah following in the footsteps of Revolutionary War soldiers, who, following the Battle Of Brier Creek, desperately escaped the battlefield by swimming across the Savannah.  During the journey,  we’ll bounce from sandbar to bluff and explore historic oxbow lakes teaming with wildlife and beauty at unique placenames like Friday’s Dream Point and Mosquito Camp Point.  

 

Day 3 Blue Springs Bump: The Bump to Blue Springs takes in just 9 miles of the big river, but off-river exploration opportunties are frequent highlighted by backwater sloughs holding floathouses at Blanket Point, crystal-clear, spring-fed runs at Black Creek and Spanish-moss-festooned cypress at Big Lake. Along the way will bounce off Bull Pen Point, drift through Cornhouse Reach and round Monkey Point (no primates expected) The day will be a “clean sweep” as we host our annual cleanup day with prizes for the most trash removed, strangest trash and more!

 

 

Day 4 Tiger Leap Tango: From Blue Springs Landing, we’ll explore 16 miles of the river as it parrallels Tiger Leap Bluff, a long, high bluff that runs for miles along the Georgia side of the river periodically sending the winding water South Carolina-way. The result is long, straight reaches beneath the protective bluff followed by miles of meandering oxbows through floodplain forest to the east. Along the bluffs, fossils and ferns delight while in the river,  circa-mid 20th century wooden navigational weirs stand as testaments to a failed attempt to tame the river and make it a superhighway for barges. Along our route, we’ll continue to drift by colorfully named landmarks like Fowl Craw Point, Rabbit Bar Point and Hognose Point.

 

Day 5 Sisters Ferry Shimmy: Beginning near the site of a ferry established by Georgia founder, James Oglethorpe, in 1739, we’ll venture 17 miles from Tuckasee King Bluff to Ebenezer Creek, spanning a beautiful and historically-rich run of river.  Again, alternating between bluff-banked straightaways and meandering oxbows, this course includes a passage beneath the only bridges (a highway and railroad) that span the Savannah during our seven-day journey. Where the oxbows prevail, sandbars become more common; meanwhile, backwater sloughs like Kennedy Lake with its cypress-lined shores offer off-river excursions as we float by circa-1700 place names like Bowl Maker and Chair Maker Points and Frying Pan Points.

 

Day 6 Ebenezer Creek Cotillion: Arguably the highlight of the entire seven-day journey, during the “Cotillion” we’ll orchestrate an out-and-back adventure on Ebenezer Creek, starting and finishing at Ebenezer Landing. Venture up Ebenezer as much as much as 6 miles (round trip of 12) or as little as a mile and then relax in camp. Ebenezer is an enchanting and intimate blackwater creek flanked by mammoth, ancient cypress trees and ranks as one of the state’s top creek paddles. It is also rich in history. It is the site of New Ebenezer established in 1734 by a group of Protestants fleeing religious persecution in Europe, and it is the site a horrific incident in December 1864 during which the Union Army pulled up pontoon bridges and left behind emancipated slaves who hoped to follow the liberating soldiers to freedom. The act resulted in the deaths of hundreds who attempted in vain to swim across the swollen and icy waters of the creek. 

Day 7 Purysburg Polka: From the mouth of Ebenezer Creek, we’ll venture a final 14 miles downstream, past the historic river ghost town of Purysburg and into the tidally-influenced portion of the Savannah before humping it upstream on Abercorn Creek 2 miles to our final take out at Abercorn Landing. Along the way, we’ll pass facilities that give us a lesson in how we use and depend upon the river: Georgia Power’s Plant McIntosh where water is used to generate electricity, the Corps of Engineers oxygen-injection facility that mitigates the impacts of the Savannah Harbor and protects endangered fish and other aquatic wildlife and finally the City of Savannah’s drinking water intake. Despite this hulking riverfront infrastructure the river remains decidedly wild with numerous interesting off-the-main-channel gems waiting to be discovered.

 

Trip Details and Logistics

With multiple registration options, two campsites, seven launch sites and lots of shuttles, there is, indeed, lots to consider before registering for Paddle Georgia 2023. Please review the information below to determine which registration option works best for you and keep scrolling to learn more details about campsites, meals, shuttle services, special amenities and accommodations, education opportunities and more.

Mouth of Brier Creek in Screven County

Thru-Paddlers (June 25-July 1)–These paddlers are in for the long haul. All 7 days, 84 miles and 1 great time. Adults: $455. Youth 8-17: $255 for first, $155 for second, $55 for any additional. Youth 7-Under: $55

4-Day Paddlers (June 25-28)–These paddlers join for the first four days of our journey taking in 42 miles of Brier Creek and the Savannah River with camping at Black Creek Scout Camp. Adults: $300 adults. Youth 8-17: $200, $100 and $40. Youth 7-Under: $55

3-Day Paddlers (June 29-July 1)–These paddlers join for the last three days of our journey taking in some 40 miles of Ebenezer Creek, Abercorn Creek and the Savannah River with camping at New Ebenezer Retreat Center. Adults: $255. Youth: $150, $75 and $30. Youth 7-Under: $55

Paddle Lite Paddlers (June 25-26)–These paddlers join for the first two days of our journey taking in 6 miles of Brier Creek and 11 miles of the Savannah with camping at Black Creek Scout Camp. Adults: $155. Youth 8-17: $105, $55 and $25. Youth 7-Under: $55

Paddle Lite Paddlers (June 30-July 1)–These paddlers join for the final two days of our journey taking in up to 6 miles of Ebenezer Creek and another 16 miles on the Savannah and Abercorn Creek. Adults: $155. Youth 8-17: $105, $55 and $25. Youth 7-Under: $55

Registration fees include tent campsites, shuttle services, overnight boat security, pit stops (strategically placed porta-toilets along our paddle routes), on-river and in-camp education programs, daily river maps and guides, Paddle Georgia 2023 t-shirt and decal and guide services. Registration fees do not include meal plans, special indoor accommodations and Black Creek Scout Camp activities which can be purchased during registration.

Campsite Information

Black Creek Scout Camp June 24-28

Dining Hall at Black Creek Scout Reservation

Normally Black Creek Scout Camp is the haunt of Boys Scouts from all across coastal Georgia, but for four days, Paddle Georgia participants get to be the Boy Scouts! The campsite is situated around picturesque Eagle Lake and features ample tent campsites in a wooded setting and a large covered pavilion for covered tent camping. Canvas platform tents with cots and mattresses and very limited bunks in a climate controlled bunkhouse are available for additional fees. Our meals and programs will be held in the camp’s expansive dining hall. And, because it’s a Boy Scout Camp, there’s loads of fun amenities that we’ll have the opportunity to enjoy, including an impressive zipline that spashes down into Eagle Lake, a 50-foot-high climbing wall and 40-foot-high ropes course and a beach swimming area on Eagle Lake. RV/camper parking is available but there are not electric, sewer or water hookups available.

Nearby amenities are limited. Sylvania is located 8 miles north with multiple restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, pharmacies and ATMs. Click here to learn more about Sylvania amenities.

Special Accommodations: Accommodations should be purchased during online registration.

Staff Bunkhouse: $80 purchases a single bunk with mattress in climate-controlled room with bathrooms and showers. Each room holds one bunkbed and two mattresses. Price is for all four nights. No linens are provided. These bunks are reserved for thru-paddlers and 4-day paddlers.

Canvas Platform Tents (4 Nights): $60 purchases a canvas platform tent for two. Each tent holds two cots and mattresses with nearby bathhouse.

Canvas Platform Tents (2 Nights): $30 purchases a canvas platform tent for two. Each tent holds two cots and mattresses with nearby bathhouse.

Special Amenities:

If you’re a kid, prepare for some thrills. If you’re a kid at heart, prepare to feel like a kid again! On the afternoons of June 25-26, the staff at Black Creek Scout Camp is manning their zipline, climbing wall and ropes course and their beach swimming area. Our paddle route those days are short (6 miles on June 25 and 11 miles on June 26) allowing for plenty of time for fun during the afternoon in camp. The camp amenities will be available for three hours each afternoon. When completing your online registration, you can choose to purchase individual passes for each amenity or purchase a bundle and do them all.

Zipline into Eagle Lake: $15 purchases unlimited rides for one afternoon on this sizable zipline that ends with a splash down into Eagle Lake. Camp staff will run as many trips as possible over three hours on the afternoons of June 25-26.

Climbing Wall/High Ropes Course: $15 purchases the challenges available on the camp’s 50-foot climbing wall and 40-foot-high ropes course for one afternoon.

Eagle Lake Beach: $5 purchases access to the lake’s beach swimming area with lifeguard on duty for one afternoon.

1-Day Bundle: $30 purchases access to zipline, climbing wall/ropes course and beach for one day.

2-Day Bundle: $50 purchases access to zipling, climbing wall/ropes course and beach for two days.

New Ebenezer Retreat Center June 28-July 1

Cottages at New Ebenezer Retreat Center

This retreat facility sits on historic ground—the site of New Ebenezer, founded in 1734 by Salzburger emigrants, Protestant refugees from Austria, and a stone’s throw from the oldest church building in Georgia dating to 1769. Our tent camping area is situated in a shaded forest near bluffs overlooking the Savannah River with portable shower trailers (don’t worry, hot water included!), on-site restrooms and porta-toilets. Participants may also choose to purchase indoor accommodations for additional fees, including private guest rooms and spots in 12-bed bunkrooms. Our program and meals will be served beneath a large tent overlooking a scenic pond near our tent camping area. Participants will also have access to the commons area in the climate-controlled Family Life Center and the retreat swimming pool.

Nearby amenities are limited. Rincon is located 8 miles to the south with multiple restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, pharmacies and ATMs. Click here to learn more about amenities in Rincon and Effingham County. 

Special Accommodations: Accommodations should be purchased during online registration.

Private Cottage Rooms (3 nights): $225 purchases a single bed in a private two-bed room with private bathroom. Each room is contained within a cottage that features a common living area and kitchen that holds a total of 12 guests in six private rooms. These rooms are reserved for thru-paddlers and 3-day paddlers. A total of 48 beds are available in the guest cottages.

Bunkrooms (3 nights): $150 purchases a single bunk in a 12-bed bunkroom with adjacent restroom and showers in the retreat’s climate-controlled Family Life Center . Linens are not provided.

Bunkroom (2 nights): $100 purchases a single bunk in a 12-bed bunkroom with adjacent restroom and showers in the retreat’s climate-controlled Family Life Center. Linens are not provided. A total of 48 beds are available in the Family Life Center bunkrooms.

Meals

No one has ever gone hungry on Paddle Georgia! Each morning we begin our day with a catered hot breakfast typically featuring eggs, grits, breakfast meats, breads, cereals, yogurts, fresh fruit, juices and coffee with alternatives for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free dieters.

Sack lunches with your choice of sandwiches come with chips, fresh fruit and dessert and are picked up at breakfast before boarding buses for the ride to the river. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free alternatives are also available. Typically, you will have the choice of two meat sandwiches, a vegetarian meat substitute sandwich, vegetable sandwich and peanut butter and jelly.

We end each day with a catered dinner ranging from barbecue to low country boils to taco and pasta bars. Again, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free alternatives are available.

Our meals this year will be provided by 4 & 20 Bakers Bakery & Cafe in Sylvania, the official caterers for Black Creek Scout Reservation, and Dry Your Eyes Catering in Conyers, regular caterers to Atlanta’s film and TV industry, including to the cast and crew of the Netflix hit Ozark!

During online registration you may purchase your preferred meal plan, choosing from packages that include all meals, breakfasts and dinners only, breakfasts only or dinners only. Prices for thru-paddler meal packages range from $100 (breakfast only) to $330 (all meals).

We encourage all participants to purchase a meal plan. Our meal times are great opportunities to commune with your fellow paddlers, commiserate over the common struggle of the journey and spin tall tales…we never let the truth get in the way of a good river story! Let our caterers do the work while you enjoy the great times.

You will have access to your vehicles throughout the journey and grocery stores and restaurants are within a 10-mile drive of each campsite. However, refrigeration is not available at our campsites for the masses and access to ice is limited.

Menus: 

Saturday, June 24, Dinner: Pizza and pasta bar with salad bar, dessert and beverages. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free pizza and pasta options will be available.

Sunday, June 25, Breakfast: Eggs, potatoes, breakfast meat assortment with vegetarian/vegan meat alternatives, biscuits, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals, muffins, danishes and juice.

Sunday, June 25, Dinner: Rosemary chicken and wild rice, steamed broccoli, garden salad, roll, (chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese and veggies for youth) dessert, teas. Vegetarian protein alternative.

Monday, June 26, Breakfast: Eggs, potatoes, breakfast meat assortment with vegetarian/vegan meat alternatives, biscuits, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals, muffins, danishes and juice.

Monday, June 26, Dinner: Burger and hot dog bar (with veggie meat alternatives), french fries, garden salad, dessert, teas 

Tuesday, June 27, Breakfast: Eggs, potatoes, breakfast meat assortment with vegetarian/vegan meat alternatives, biscuits, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals, muffins, danishes and juice.

Tuesday, June 27, Dinner: Apricot chicken and cheesy polenta, roasted harvest vegetables, glazed carrots, (corn dog, tater tots, fruit for youth), bread, dessert, teas. 

Wednesday, June 28, Breakfast: Eggs, potatoes, breakfast meat assortment with vegetarian/vegan meat alternatives, biscuits, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals, muffins, danishes and juice.

Wednesday, June 28, Dinner: Pasta bar with gluten-free and vegan alternatives. Heirloom tomato marinara sauce, lemon-garlic alfredo sauce, smoked rosemary chicken, heritage pork andouille sausage, oyster mushroom vegan marinara, Caesar salad, garlic bread, teas.  

Thursday, June 29, Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bacon, turkey bacon, grits, biscuits, gravy, fruit, yogurt, cereals.

Thursday, June 29, Dinner: Taco bar with smoked mojo prok, grilled fajita chicken, pineapple habenero ground beef, fajita-style grilled onion, Mexican rice, corn/flour tortillas, cheese dips, pico de gallo, guacamole, black beans, chipolte crema, teas.  Friday, June 30, Breakfast: Details coming soon! 

Friday, June 30, Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bacon, chorizo, black beans and rice, hashbrowns, yogurt, assorted pastries, cereals, juices. 

Friday, June 30, Dinner: Low country boil with shrimp, andouille sausage, corn, potatoes and onions. Vegan alternative boil with corn, potatoes, onions. Vegan ceviche, garden salad, cucumber salad, teas. 

Saturday, July 1, Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, sausage, vegan sausage, grilled veggies, bacon, grits, biscuits, gravy, yogurt, fruit, juices. 

On Site Registration

June 24 (Saturday) from Noon-8 p.m. at Black Creek Scout Camp: For thru-paddlers, 4-day paddlers (June 25-28) and June 25-26 Paddle Lite paddlers

June 28 (Wednesday) from 2-8 p.m. at New Ebenezer Retreat Center: For 3-Day Paddlers (June 29-July 1)

June 29 (Thursday) from 2-8 p.m. at New Ebenezer Retreat Center: For June 30-July 1 Paddle Lite paddlers

All participants must register at these sites during the appointed times. We encourage participants to arrive early and join us for dinner the evening before beginning paddling. A mandatory safety briefing for registered participants will be held June 24, June 28 and June 29 at approximately 7:3o following dinner. Remember! If you purchased a meal plan, your first dinner is the one preceeding your first day of paddling. Upon check in, you will receive your Paddle Georgia 2023 t-shirt or other swag of your choice, a Paddle Georgia 2023 decal and your on-river maps and guides. You’ll also be directed to our initial boat launch so that you may drop your boat there.

Directions to Black Creek Scout Camp: The camp is located off Ga. 21 near Sylvania 51 miles north of I-95 near Savannah and 75 miles south of Augusta. Registration will be conducted in the Dining Hall. Click here for a map of Black Creek Scout Camp.
Map of Black Creek Scout Camp: 850 Poor Robin Road, Sylvania, GA 30467

Directions to New Ebenezer Retreat Center: The retreat center is located on Ebenezer Road northeast of Rincon in Effingham County 19 miles north of I-95 near Savannah. Registration will be held in the Family Life Center near the entrance to the center.
Map of New Ebenezer Retreat Center: 2887 Ebenezer Rd, Rincon, GA 31326

Boat Drop Off

All participants will drop their boats at the appropriate designated launch site to begin their journey. A Georgia River Network attendant will be located at the boat drop off locations during boat drop off times to provide instructions. Overnight security will be provided at all boat drop off locations.

June 24 (Saturday) Noon-6 p.m.:  Thru-paddlers, Paddle Lite paddlers (June 25-26) and 4-Day paddlers (June 25-28) will drop their boats at the Brannens Bridge launch site on Brier Creek, located northeast of Sylvania on Brannens Bridge Road.

Map and Directions from Black Creek Scout Camp to Brannens Bridge Launch Site: From the entrance of Scout Camp, turn right on Poor Robin Road and proceed 4 miles to Ga. 22. Turn left and proceed 7.6 miles. Turn right on Brannens Bridge Road and proceed 4.8 miles to Brier Creek and roadside park on left.

June 28 (Wednesday) 2-6 p.m.: 3-Day paddlers (June 29-July 1) will drop their boats at Tuckasee-King Landing/Clyo Boat Ramp located 3 miles north of Clyo off Ga. 119.

Map and Directions from New Ebenezer Retreat Center to Tuckasee-King Landing/Clyo Boat Ramp: From the entrance of the retreat center, turn right and proceed 2.8 miles to roundabout. Take first exit in roundabout (right turn) on Long Bridge Road and proceed 2.7 miles. Turn right on Stillwell-Clyo Road and proceed 8.8 miles to 4th Street in Clyo. Turn left, proceed 0.2 mile and turn right on Marion Ave. Proceed 0.2 mile and turn left on Clyo-Kildare Road. Proceed 0.1 mile and turn right on Ga. 119 and proceed 2.7 miles (if you cross the river you went too far!) Turn left on Tuckasee-King Landing Road and proceed 0.6 mile. Turn sharp right to entrance to boat ramp.

June 29 (Thursday) 2-6 p.m.: Paddle Lite paddlers (June 30-July 1) will drop their boats at Ebenezer Creek Landing located 0.2 mile from New Ebenezer Retreat Center on Ebenezer Road.

Map and Directions from Ebenezer Retreat Center to Ebenzer Creek Landing: From the entrance of the retreat center, turn left and proceed 0.2 mile to entrance to boat landing.

Shuttle Information

If you’ve never participated in Paddle Georgia, you’re probably wondering: “how do I get to the river and what do I do with my car?” You’ve come to the right place for answers, and there’s even something new for long-time Paddle Georgia participants where shuttles are concerned!

Our buses will shuttle you to the river each morning to begin your journey and at the end of the day’s paddle route, those same buses will return you to our campsite each afternoon. You do not need to carry your camp gear in your boat as all thru-paddlers will have access to their vehicles throughout the week. Once your car is parked at the campsite, there’s no need to ever move it until…

June 26 Shuttle for Paddle Lite (June 25-26) Paddlers: On Monday, June 26, Paddle Lite paddlers will finish their journey at Poor Robin Landing. From there buses will return them to Black Creek Scout Camp. A boat trailer will transport their vessels back to Black Creek Scout Camp as well.

June 28 Shuttle For Thru-Paddlers: On Wednesday June 28, we’ll move campsites! At the end of the day’s paddle route at Tuckasee-King Landing/Clyo Boat Ramp, buses will return thru-paddlers who are drivers to Black Creek Scout Camp where they will retrieve their vehicles and proceed to our next campsite, New Ebenezer Retreat Center. Thru-paddlers who are not drivers will be bussed directly to New Ebenezer Retreat Center.

Directions from Black Creek Scout Camp to New Ebenezer Retreat Center: 2887 Ebenezer Road, Rincon, GA 31326 From the entrance to Black Creek Scout Camp, turn left on Poor Robin Road and proceed 1.2 miles. Turn left on Ga. 21 and proceed 31.2 miles. Turn left on Ebenezer Road and proceed 5.3 miles (through one roundabout) to New Ebenezer Retreat Center on the left.

June 28 Shuttle for 4-Day Paddlers: On Wednesday June 28, 4-day paddlers will end their journey at Tuckasee-King Landing/Clyo Boat Ramp. From there buses will return 4-day paddlers to Black Creek Scout Camp. A boat trailer will transport their vessels back to Black Creek Scout Camp as well.

July 1 Shuttle for Thru-Paddlers, 3-Day Paddlers and Paddle Lite (June 30-July 1) Paddlers: On Saturday, July 1, the final day of the trip, buses will shuttle all participants from our final take out at Abercorn Creek Landing to New Ebenezer Retreat Center where they will retrieve their vehicles and depart for home. Participants may choose to have their boats transported back to New Ebenezer on the Georgia River Network boat trailer or they may return to Abercorn Creek Landing to retrieve their boat. The distance from Abercorn Creek Landing to New Ebenezer Retreat Center is about 10 miles—a 15-minute drive.

Amenities Shuttles: Because all participants will have access to their vehicles throughout the event, no afternoon shuttle to nearby amenities will be provided.

Kick Off and River’s End Shuttles: Because all participants will have access to their vehicles throughout the event, the traditional Kick Off Day and River’s End shuttles have been eliminated.

Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Workshop

Georgia Adopt-A-Stream instructors will offer chemical water quality monitoring workshops during this event. During the training, students learn chemical water monitoring protocols and collect and test samples for water quality. Following the training, participants can complete the Adopt-A-Stream certification process. By participating in this training, you’ll have the opportunity to assist in Georgia Adopt-A-Stream’s assessment of the health of the waterways we will paddle. When you return home, you’ll have a greater understanding of rivers and streams, and you’ll be certified to conduct routine water quality monitoring on a local waterway. You can sign up to participate during online registration or when you arrive at the event! Click here to learn more about Georgia’s Adopt-A-Stream program.

Special Events and Tours

Above all else, Paddle Georgia is an educational adventure for the whole family. In addition to our evening educational programs and entertainment (karoke is a possibility!) throughout the week we will offer opportunities to learn about the river’s natural and cultural history through visits to nearby facilities that use or impact the river, historic sites and other points of interest. Our route takes us by a Georgia Power Company generating facility, a unique oxygen-injection system built to mitigate the impacts of the deepening of the Savannah harbor and the City of Savannah’s drinking water intake facility.

On river (and creek) we’ll siene for fish, grub for mussels and even engage in some nature scavenger hunts.

We will also have special programming for children to engage our youth participants in learning about and appreciating the river.

As we finalize special tours, programs and events, those items will be posted here.

American Canoe Association Liability Waivers

Very important! You must sign your American Canoe Association liability waiver in order to participate in this adventure. Please click on the link below, fill out the online form and submit it. Once you’ve done that you will receive an e-mail. You must respond to that e-mail to complete the waiver submission!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN AND SUBMIT YOUR AMERICAN CANOE ASSOCIATION WAIVER

COVID-19 Considerations

If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, please stay home. You will receive a full refund of your registration fees.

Text Message Alert System

To receive text message alerts from Georgia River Network staff regarding this event please text GARIVERS to 84483 on your cell phone. This system will be used to communicate important information to participants in a timely manner in the event of an emergency or other situation in which information needs to be sent to all participants as quickly as possible.

 

 PADDLE GEORGIA POLICIES, SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS, WHAT TO BRING, WHAT NOT TO BRING AND MORE!  

Paddle Georgia Policies

  1. No alcoholic beverages are permitted on the river.
  2. All participants must attend the pre-launch safety briefing. Participants must adhere to the safety guidelines presented.
  3. Participants must wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation device at all times on the river.
  4. Participants under age 18 are the responsibility of, and must be accompanied by, a parent or guardian.
  5. Sorry, no pets allowed.
  6. All participants must sign a Medical and Emergency Contact Information sheet and a Waiver of Claims and Release of Liability form. Parents must sign for children under the age of 18. (These forms will be sent in the information packet.
  7. Person-powered watercraft only.
  8. All participants must respect private property along the river.
  9. All participants must possess basic paddling skills and be capable of self-rescue in the water.
  10. No more than 2 children under the age of 12 per adult guardian.
  11. All children must have a designated seat in the vessel in which they are traveling. (no children on decks of kayaks or as “passengers” in cockpits of solo kayaks)
  12. Georgia River Network is not responsible for any personal property that may be lost, damaged, or stolen during the trip.

Code of Conduct

At Georgia River Network, we like to think of our river adventure participants as our “river family.” We come from many different backgrounds, but the river is the great equalizer and our common bond. We want all participants to treat one another as family. 

Dos…

  • Be respectful of all participants, including their property, their person and their personal views. On our river adventures you will paddle, eat and camp with people that are very different from you. Please respect and celebrate those differences.
  • Be helpful. If you see someone that needs a hand in camp or on the river, please lend yours.
  • Be courteous. Be prepared to wait in lines for restrooms, shuttle buses, meals and more. Remember, we are all in the same boat; only by working together can we get everyone safely down the river.

Don’ts 

  • Use inappropriate language. This is a family event with participants of all ages.
  • Verbally or physically intimidate or abuse other participants.
  • Become intoxicated or under the influence of mind-altering drugs.
  • Violate quiet hours by engaging in loud talk and disruptive behavior between 10 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.

Violations of these policies and our code of conduct can result in the participant being removed from the event without refund.

For Parents and Guardians of Children

Parents and guardians are responsible for the welfare and safety of their minor participants at all times, both on the river and in camp. Understand that while Georgia River Network’s river adventure trips almost without exception attract uncommonly good and kind people, Georgia River Network does not screen participants or conduct background checks on participants. 

Refund Policy

Registrations with full refunds are available up until the date of the event for COVID-19 related reasons. Other cancellations must be made prior to June 9 to receive a full refund less 10 percent. 

What Should I Bring? (here’s a checklist of essential items!) First Aid Kit; Sunscreen; Necessary Medication; Water Bottles (at least 3 quart bottles for each person); At least two paddles for each boat; Flexible mindset; Tent or other shelter, sleeping bag or sleep sack and sleeping pad (if you are camping); proper footwear for river and land; rain gear; whistle for signaling emergency.

Here’s a checklist of suggested optional items: Labels with your name for your boat, luggage, and other personal belongings; Ground Cloth; Reusable Plate/Utensils (wash stations provided); Clothing for weekend; Waterproof Stuff Sacks for Camp Gear; Waterproof stuff sack or case for lunch and other on river items (like dry clothing); Clothes/Swimsuit; Money to tip the caterers; Insect Repellent; Towel/Wash Cloth; Soap, Toothpaste, Toiletries; Flashlight/Head Lamp; Book; Camera; Watertight cases for Boat; Fishing Gear/License; Duct Tape; Sponge; Bailer; Snacks for river and camp; Hat or Cap (don’t forget to get your Paddle Georgia hats!); Bug netting; Extra Length of Rope; Ear Plugs (Some of our paddlers snore!); Sleep Shades (Lights out at 10 p.m.); Laptop & Electronic Communication Devices (optional and frowned upon!); Water Guns/Cannon (optional and encouraged!);  Lightweight long sleeved pants or shirts for bug protection in the evening; Layered non-cotton clothing; Bottled Water

What Shouldn’t I Bring? No alcohol Permitted

16 Things You Should Bring on the Water Each Day 

  1. At least two paddles for each boat.
  2. PFD—every Paddle Georgia participant must wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device at all times while on the river (no ifs, ands, buts or “gee, it’s really hot!” – this policy is STRICTLY enforced)
  3. Every canoe should have two lines, a bow line and a stern line 8-10 feet each in length secured in such a way that they are readily accessible, but cannot come loose accidentally. Loose rope increases the risk of entanglement in the event of capsize. Kayaks should have grab loops at both bow and stern.
  4. An extra throw rope in case of emergencies should be stored safely in each boat.
  5. Attach a whistle to your life vest or body to signal for help in case of emergency.
  6. A Knife
  7. Waterproof matches or other fire source in waterproof covering.
  8. First Aid Kit—while boats will be on the river with basic first aid supplies, each vessel should bring a first aid kit stored inside a waterproof bag or container.
  9. A repair kit—each vessel should be able to make their own repairs (duct tape, sealant, waterproof tape and other materials are recommended)
  10. Rain Gear—Be prepared to get wet and potentially cold. Every participant should have access to a lightweight rain jacket and rain pants in a waterproof bag or container.
  11. Change of Clothes—Be prepared to take an unexpected swim. Every participant should have access to a dry change of clothes kept in a waterproof bag or container.
  12. Appropriate footwear that will protect your feet from unseen underwater hazards and permit you to walk comfortably on land when launching and taking out and in the event that you must exit the Paddle Georgia course.
  13. Sunscreen—Sunburn might be the trip’s biggest hazard.
  14. Water Bottle or Three —At least three quarts per person per day is recommended. Bring sufficient water for the day’s paddle for everyone in your boat. Also consider bringing electrolyte packs or powdered sports drink mix to add to your water to avoid dehydration. Drinking water is not available along the Paddle Georgia route and no drink is provided w/ sack lunches. Many paddlers will fill one bottle with water and another with sports drinks (provided each morning for you to fill your own bottles).
  15. Food—There is no access to food along the Paddle Georgia route. Sack lunches are provided to participants. No drink is included with the lunch.
  16. Dry Bag or Ziploc—Bring a waterproof bag to protect items you don’t want to get wet, including your lunch.

Paddle Georgia Safety Procedures

Paddle Georgia participants should be aware that this canoe trip is not a commercially-guided trip. While Georgia River Network and Paddle Georgia staff will be available on the river during each day’s paddle and participants with medical and/or First Aid training will be identified, we cannot personally ensure the safety of all participants. Unlike a commercial trip in which paid guides direct you through each bend of the river, Paddle Georgia is designed to be your adventure, and as such, you are responsible for your own safety. All participants are assuming risks (some of which are outlined below) while participating in Paddle Georgia.

Skill Level Required:  Paddle Georgia is suitable for novices and beginners. Paddlers should have a basic understanding of paddle strokes, should be able to control their vessels in moving water and be capable of self-rescue in moving or deep water. If you are new to paddling, we highly recommend that you take a canoe/kayak paddling course prior to the trip. Our route is all flat water; there are no shoals or rapids. Georgia River Network offers regular kayaking skills classes. If you are new to paddling this course will give you the knowledge and skills you need to begin safely exploring Georgia’s rivers. 

For a reminder of basic paddling safety practices, watch this American Canoe Association Video.

Weather: Average High Temperature: 89 F; Average Low Temperature: 72 F. Average June Rainfall: 6 inches with typically a 35 percent chance of rain daily. 

Hazards:                              

Strainers—Strainers are branches, trees, vegetation or other partially or totally submerged obstacles in the river’s current often found along the river’s edge. These hazards allow only water to pass through freely. The current will pull anything else down, plastering it into place, similar to the action of a kitchen colander. It is best to approach submerged trees or logs along the river bank from the downstream side to avoid having the current pin your boat against the obstacle or flipped by the force of the water. You should also avoid grabbing on to low hanging branches of partially submerged vegetation as this action can often cause your boat to capsize. To avoid a multi-boat pile up, leave enough room between boats to allow each boat to safely navigate around these obstacles.

Weather—Strong thunderstorms and high winds are not uncommon. In the event of inclement weather that includes the risk of lightning, paddle to shore, secure your boat and find cover under a dense stand of small trees. Avoid open areas, especially open areas with solitary trees, and avoid gathering in large groups. By dispersing yourselves over a large area, you reduce the risk of lightning striking numerous individuals at one time. Squatting, with your feet on a personal flotation device or seat cushion, is a good idea when in the midst of a thunderstorm (while on solid ground—not in your boat!).

Sun and Heat—Hats and appropriate sun screen are recommended. If you get too hot, the river comes with built in air conditioning – get in and cool off. You should carry at least three quarts of water each day to avoid dehydration. Sports drinks with electrolytes are also recommended. The first two days are usually the most difficult as we acclimate from spending lots of time in air-conditioned buildings to spending all day in 80-90-degree heat. Prepare by drinking lots of fluids in the days leading up to the trip.

Water Temperature—The combination of cold water and a cold afternoon thunderstorm raises the risk of dangerous changes in body temperature. Be prepared with rain gear and layered clothing that stays warm even when wet (avoid cotton).

Water Quality – Due to a variety of conditions, water quality can vary and organisms that cause illness may be present. Swimming and submersion in the water increase the risk of contracting water-borne illnesses. Ingesting river water should be avoided and cuts and sores should be kept out of the water and treated if exposed.

Trash—Unfortunately, Georgia’s waterways collect refuse from surrounding communities. Proper footwear and exercising caution can prevent unnecessary injuries. Participants should wear sandals or shoes that provide adequate protection from broken bottles, rusted appliance parts and tin cans and anything else you might find at your local landfill.

Venomous Snakes—The land surrounding our paddle routes is potential habitat for three venomous snakes—rattlesnakes, water moccasins and coral snakes. If you encounter any snakes, simply leave them alone. Should you have the misfortune of being bitten, remain calm and get medical assistance as quickly as possible. Bites from these venomous snakes are rarely fatal, given proper medical attention. At any given moment on this trip you will not be more than a few hours from a hospital.

Terra Firma—Please step carefully when paying visits to land. And, remember, the Okefenokee is the “land of the trembling earth!” What looks like solid ground might sink when you put your weight on it! 

Your Fellow Paddlers—This is a journey involving many individuals with varying degrees of skill level. Space yourselves so that you do not interfere with one another when maneuvering around obstacles. Pileups on the river can be just as dangerous as those that occur on interstate highways.

Paddle Georgia “Buddy System”

We will rely on the “Buddy System” to ensure that all participants arrive safely at the day’s take-out point. Before each day’s paddle, identify your “buddy boat or boats.” This will be the boat or group of boats with whom you will paddle for the day. The group is responsible for ensuring that if someone needs help on the river that someone is nearby to provide help and that no one is left behind. Do not lose sight of your buddy boat or members of your buddy boat group. Participants who have not identified a buddy boat for the day’s paddle will not be permitted to launch from the day’s put-in point. A sweep boat will bring up the rear of the day’s paddle to further ensure that no one is left behind

Other Considerations

What do I do if I capsize? On slow moving water, stay with your boat and swim it to shore or shallow water where you can dump the water and right your vessel. It floats even when full with water and can support you if you become tired. Make sure your belongings are secured to your boat to keep from losing them in the event of a capsize. Your fellow buddy boaters can assist in recovering any belongings and help you right your boat.In fast-moving water or rapids, get away and upstream from your boat until you reach slower moving water. Float on your back, feet downstream.  Don’t try to stand in fast-moving water.  Rocks or other objects can trap your feet and the force of the water can hold you under. Moving canoes filled with water can pin or crush paddlers against rocks or trees.

In the event of inclement weather…As noted above, thunderstorms are not uncommon, however, usually these afternoon-variety showers do not last long. If you are on the river during a storm event, take appropriate cover as described above, wait out the storm and continue your journey when it appears safe. Protective facilities along the river for large groups are not available.

We will make every effort to ensure that each day’s paddle is completed in full. However, if all-day dangerous weather is predicted, Spring on the Satilla will be cancelled for the day. Boats will be shuttled to the day’s next put-in point. Rain alone does not constitute dangerous weather. All participants are expected to paddle rain or shine, or they may make their own arrangements for moving themselves and their boats to the next put-in and campsite. Exceptions may be made for families paddling with small children.

Swimming…Swimming is permitted with PFDs, but of course, swim at your own risk. Water quality on this journey varies due to point and non-point source pollution. Water quality is generally at its least healthy immediately following rain events—this is especially true downstream of urban areas.

Private Property…As you will see, our route on the St. Marys takes you through many a neighbor’s backyard. Private property must be respected. It is illegal to trespass onto someone’s property, and it is an offense that is prosecutable by law. You may not enter someone’s property unless you have first received permission. At least one rest stop, with portable toilet facilities and/or restrooms will be available at the approximate midway point of each day’s paddle, therefore it is imperative that you make use of bathroom facilities when they are available. If nature calls, please use a camp trowel and cover all human waste appropriately or carry a sealable plastic bag to remove your waste with you.

Communication in the Event of Emergency…There will be cellular phones on the river at all times (one with the lead boat, one with the sweep boat and others in between). In the event of an emergency, attempt to signal or locate a boat with a cellular phone. If cellular service is available, the participants in these boats can communicate with land-based emergency personnel and on-the-water motorized boats where available.

Universal River Signals…Participants are expected to use universal river signals to communicate with other boats. They are as follows:

  • Stop: Potential Danger Ahead—Form a horizontal bar with your paddle and outstretched arms above your head. Those seeing this signal should pass it back to others in the party. Participants should wait for the “all clear signal” before proceeding.
  • All Clear—Form a vertical bar with your paddle, raising your arm and paddle above your head. The paddle blade should be turned flat for maximum visibility. This means the trip can proceed. To signal direction or preferred course through an obstacle, lower the all clear to a 45 degree angle toward the side of the river with the preferred route.
  • Help/Emergency—Wave paddle over your head and give three long blasts on your whistle. Whistles are best carried attached to your life vest. This means other paddlers should assist the signaler as quickly as possible.
  • I’m OK—Holding your elbow out to the side, repeatedly pat the top of your head with your hand. This signals that you are not hurt and do not need assistance.

 

 

Paddle Georgia 2023

a project of
Georgia River Network

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Georgia River Network

126 South Milledge Avenue, Suite E3, Athens, Georgia 30605 | (706) 549-4508 (phone) | info@garivers.org