Paddle Georgia 2024

ALTAMAHA RIVER

Paddle Georgia 2024 Altamaha River June 15-22

Trip Summary

Paddle Georgia 2024 ventures down the mighty Altamaha, Georgia’s largest river, often referred to as Georgia’s “Little Amazon.” The Altamaha’s winding wildness through Georgia’s Coastal Plain is filled with soaring bluffs, football-field-sized sandbars, vast, haunting river bottom swamps, enchanting oxbow lakes, and upon reaching the coast, tens of thousands of acres of salt marshes and barrier islands. Along the route, there’s 41 species of amphibians, 59 species of reptiles and 160 bird species. Beneath the water’s surface swim 100 different kinds of fish and 18 species of freshwater mussels, not to mention a mythical river monster called the Altamaha-ha!

 

Over seven days, our route will cover 107 miles of this wild river along with portions of the Oconee and Ohoopee rivers. Participants will even have the opportunity to stick their toes in the Ocmulgee as the journey includes a passage through The Forks where the Ocmulgee and Oconee meet to form the Altamaha.

We’ll travel in the path of poleboaters, timber rafthands and steamboat captains through colorfully named spots like Alligator Congress, The Sweatbox and Hell Shoals. Always the river’s rich cultural history will beckon as we slip past the bluff where “Georgia’s Pocohontas,” Mary Musgrove manned her trading post in the 1700s; paddle into “rice canals” dug by the enslaved in the antebellum period and finally pull into the historic port of Darien on the Georgia coast.

Paddle Georgia will be more than just a paddle trip. Nightly education programs, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream training opportunities, tours of riverside historic sites and industrial facilities, special programs for youth, catered meals, top-flight campsites and camaraderie with fellow paddlers will round a week you will not soon forget.

Got Questions? Click here for FAQs

Registration

Registration opened Feb. 12 at 8 a.m. and runs through June 3. Event will be limited to the first 350 registrants. 

Thru-Paddlers (June 15-June 22)–These paddlers are in for the long haul. All 7 days, 107 miles and 1 great time. Adults: $455. Youth 8-17: $255 for first, $155 for second, $55 for any additional. Youth 7-Under: $55

3-Day Paddlers (June 15-18)–These paddlers join for the first three days of our journey taking in 38 miles of the Oconee, Ohoopee and Altamaha rivers with camping at Watermelon Creek Vineyard. Adults: $255. Youth 8-17: $150 for first, $75 for second and $30 for any additional. Youth 7-Under: $55

4-Day Paddlers (June 18-22)–These paddlers join for the last four days of our journey taking in some 69 miles of the lower Altamaha with camping at Martha Puckett Middle School and Altamaha Regional Park. Adults: $300. Youth 8-17: $200 for first, $100 for second, $40 for any additional. Youth 7-Under: $55

Paddle Lite Paddlers (June 15-17)–These paddlers join for the first two days of our journey taking in our trips on the Oconee, Ohoopee and Altamaha rivers totaling 24 miles with camping at Watermelon Creek Vineyard. Adults: $155. Youth 8-17: $105, $55 and $25. Youth 7-Under: $55

Paddle Lite Paddlers (June 20-22)–These paddlers join for the final two days of our journey taking in 32 miles of the lower Altamaha with camping at Martha Puckett Middle School and Altamaha Regional Park. 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 2024 t-shirt (or alternative swag) and decal and guide services. Registration fees do not include meal plans or boat rentals.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW!

Journey Details

June 16 The Forks Flamenco

The journey begins with two miles on the Oconee River as it winds to its headlong meeting with the Ocmulgee River at “The Forks” where a sandbar provides panoramic views of the beginning of Georgia’s largest river. Another nine miles on the Altamaha will take us to historic Gray’s Landing established in the 1820s. Along the way, the river skirts the 14,000-acre Bullard Creek Wildlife Management Area and Town Bluff Park & Heritage Center featuring a museum documenting the area’s rich cultural history. Extensive sandbars along the way offer respites for water play and relic hunting. If you’re hungry at the end of the paddle, you can drop in Benton Lee’s Steakhouse for a mammoth steak or even gator and frog legs at the only restaurant located on the banks of the Altamaha outside of Darien.

June 17 Ohoopee Whoopie

For a day, we’ll leave the Altamaha to explore a scenic 13-mile run on the Ohoopee River, a blackwater tributary of the Altamaha that winds through wild and remote stretches of Tattnall County. Cut banks, sandbars, oxbow lakes and backwater sloughs highlight the run. As the river nears its confluence with the Altamaha it devolves into an intricately braided labyrinth of willow-shaded passages that, at times, is magical. Near the confluence, high water provides access to acres of flooded bottomland forest that is argubly among the most scenic paddling along the length of the Altamaha. The day’s journey ends a short distance from the mainstem of the Altamaha at Tattnall County Landing, an historic gathering place for residents in pursuit of everything from American shad in the spring to political stump speeches in the fall.

June 18 Big Hammock Hoedown

From Tattnall County Landing, we’ll wind through the final willow-swathed passages of the Ohoopee to return to the Altamaha proper for a 14-mile run. For most of its length, this route is bordered by the 7,200-acre Big Hammock Wildlife Management Area. Here, the river alternates between long straight-of-ways and winding oxbows. Massive sandbars hug nearly every bend, providing top-notch play places. On banks opposite the sandbars, high bluffs rise from the river. Following the path of poleboaters, rafthands and steamboat pilots from the 1800s, the trip ends at Upper Wayne County Landing, the supposed home to Fort James, a circa-1790 outpost that served weary river travelers and adventurers heading into Native American territory.

June 19 Beard’s Bluff Bump

From Upper Wayne County Landing, you can get your bluff on during this 15-mile route to Jaycee Landing in Jesup. Beard’s, Oglethorpe, Linder’s and Bug’s bluffs all rise majestically from the water, usually opposite wide sandbars. Along the route, you’ll see evidence of the river’s steamboat era as wooden dikes built in the late 1800s to improve navigation of the oft-shallow and shoaled river still rise from the water. Backwater sloughs, creeks and oxbow lakes provide off-the-main-channel explortion opportunities.

June 20 Penholoway Polka

Brace yourself for the longest, most challenging day of the journey–a 22-mile run through the Altamaha’s wildest and most remote reaches that ends with a one-mile paddle up Penholoway Creek. The challenge is worth it as you’ll experience the Altamaha at its best, winding maniacally from oxbow to oxbow and bluff to bluff through the heart of the some 20,000 acres of protected land in the Morgan Lake, Townsend, and Penholoway Swamp wildlife management areas. Though primarily a wilderness run, you’ll also see the river’s working side, passing a sprawling pulp mill and running into the wreck of a circa-1930s paddlewheeler, the last of its kind to ply the Altamaha. Sandbars become less common, but off-the-main-channel exploration opportunities persist.

June 21 Sansavilla Salsa

As the Altamaha nears the coast and the tidal zone on this 17-mile route to Altamaha Regional Park, its beauty expands with some of the river’s best oxbows, backwater sloughs and creek exploration opportunities. Miller Lake with its impressive stands of tupelo and cypress trees is the highlight, but Harper Lake, Smith Lake and The Sweatbox are no less enchanting. Virtually the entire river corridor is protected as part of state wildlife management areas. Perhaps it is this section’s wildness that might be the cause of fanciful stories of river monsters for it was here in 1981 that two anglers reportedly saw the Altamaha-ha, a 20-foot-long humped-back, serpent-like creature. It’s true! The Weekly World News reported it so.  The journey ends at a Glynn County campground that serves as our journey’s only on-river campsite.

June 22 Darien Dab

We’ll have reason to celebrate with an appropriate dab at the end of this 15-mile run to the Georgia coast and the historic port of Darien. On this run, the Altamaha splits and braids into a wide delta studded by ancient cypress trees and flanked by waving marshes. We’ll venture off the river’s wide main channel and pick our way through creeks and manmade canals to reach our river’s end celebration in the shadows of the Darien’s shrimp boat fleet. Once you are off the river, grab a drink at Skippers and cheer on your fellow adventurers from the restaurant’s riverfront deck or visit some of Darien’s many historic sites. A fish fry feast and party is planned for the evening at Darien’s Riverfront Park adjacent to our final take out! 

Trip Details and Logistics

With multiple registration options, three campsites, seven launch sites and lots of shuttles, there is, indeed, lots to consider before registering for Paddle Georgia 2024. 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.

 

 

Campsite Information

Watermelon Creek Vineyard June 15-18

Paddle Georgia is going farm-to-table for our first three nights of camping as we pitch tents at Watermelon Creek Vineyard, a family-owned muscadine vineyard near Glennville that produces jams, jellies, preserves, sauces, juices and, of course, wine. You’ll be able to purchase these products and enjoy them with your catered dinners and breakfasts.

Tent camping will surround a small, shaded farm pond; a space-limited indoor and air-conditioned “camping” area will also be available. An area for RVs and campers will also be provided, though no electric or sewer hookups will be available. Meals will be served beneath an open air pavilion where we will also hold our evening educational programs.

An indoor area for escaping the heat will be available to all participants as will the vineyard’s tasting room, retail store and restaurant.

Indoor restrooms will be supplemented by air-conditioned shower and toilet trailers.

Click here to learn more about Watermelow Creek Vineyard

Nearby amenities are limited. Glennville, located 6 miles east, and Reidsville, located 15 miles north, offer multiple restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, pharmacies and ATMs.

Martha Puckett Middle School-Jesup June 18-21

This middle school located on the outskirts of Jesup will serve as our campsite for three nights. Tent camping will be on grounds surrounding the school; indoor and air-conditoned “camping ” will be available in the school’s gymansium. An area for RVs and campers will also be provided, though no electric or sewer hookups will be available. Catered meals will be served in the school cafeteria where we will also hold our evening educational programs. Indoor restrooms and showers will be supplemented by an air-conditioned shower trailer.

Nearby Amenities: Downtown Jesup is located 2 miles to the south with multiple restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, pharmacies and ATMs. One evening during our stay, you’ll be free to explore Jesup and its many dining options and take in a movie at the Jesup Drive In or historic circa-1924 Strand Cinema downtown. 

Altamaha Regional Park June 21-22

The final night of our journey, we’ll camp at this Glynn County campground sitting on the banks of the Altamaha. Tent camping will be in the campground which features electric outlets and an expansive bathhouse with private showers/toilets. Altamaha Regional Park also features a camp store with snacks and supplies, a childrens playground, a pavilion and dock overlooking the river and a covered picnic area where we will host meals and programs.

Nearby Amenities: The nearest amenities are located in Jesup 24 miles to the west with multiple restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, pharmacies and ATMs.

Darien June 22 

Plan on sticking around in Darien Saturday evening, June 22, for our River’s End Celebration at the town’s riverfront park, featuring a river’s end feast, music and revelry. There is no desginated campsite for  the evening. Participants are encouraged to secure lodging at one of several Darien-area hotels. Click here for listings on the Discover Darien website. 

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 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!

As noted above, one night in Jesup participants will be on their own to dine at area restaurants.  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. 

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 relatively short drive of each campsite. However, refrigeration is not available at our campsites for the masses and access to ice is limited.

Menus: 

Saturday, June 15, Dinner: Barbecue pork, smoked chopped chicken, four cheese macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, maple smoked baked beans, barbecue jackfruit, sandwich buns, banana pudding, teas.

Sunday,June 16, Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bacon, grilled chicken, grits, toast, assorted fruit, yogurt, cereals, juice and milk.

Sunday, June 16, Dinner: Pasta bar featuring penne and bowtie pasta (vegan and gluten-free version available as well), heirloom tomato marinara sauce, lemon garlic alfredo sauce, smoked rosemary chicken, heritage pork andouillle sausage, oyster mushroom vegan marinara sauce Ceasar salad, garilic bread, tiramisu, teas.  

Monday,June 17,Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bacon, turkey bacon, grits, biscuits, gravy, assorted fruit, yogurt, cereals, juice and milk.

Monday, June 17, Dinner: Taco bar featuring smoked mojo pork, grilled fajita chicken, pineapple habanero ground beef, fajita-style grilled onions and peppers, Mexican rice, corn and flour tortillas, cheese dip, pico de gallo, guacamole, shredded lettuce, black beans, chipotle crema, tres leche cake, teas. 

Tuesday, June 18, Breakfast: Scambled eggs, bacon, chorizo, black beans and rice, breakfast veggie hashbrowns, yogurt, assorted pasties, cereals, juice and milk. 

Tuesday, June 18, Dinner: Roasted lamb, roasted chicken, grilled seasonal veggies, tabbouleh, hummus, cucumber salad, Greek lemon potatoes, baklava, teas. 

Wednesday, June 19, Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, vegan sausage, grilled veggies, bacon, grits, biscuits, gravy, yogurt, assorted fruit, cereals, juice and milk. 

Wednesday, June 19, Dinner:  Dinner on your own in Jesup! 

Thursday, June 20, Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bacon, oatmeal bar, toast, assorted fruit, yogurt, cereals, juice and milk.

Thursday, June 20, Dinner: Meat loaf, vegan meat loaf, green beans, mashed potatoes, lima beans, summer salad, homemade rolls, peach cobbler, teas.

Friday, June 21, Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bacon, turkey bacon, grits, biscuits, gravy, assorted fruit, yogurt, cereals, juice and milk. 

Friday, June 21, 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, apple crumble, teas. 

Saturday, July 22, Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, oatmeal bar, biscuits, gravy, assorted fruit, yogurt, cereals, juice and milk.

Saturday, July 22, Dinner: TBD…but a feast of Georgia seafood, for sure! 

Official Coffee Of Paddle Georgia–Cafe Campesino 

Our friends at Cafe Campesino will provide coffee to fuel each day’s paddle! Endless morning cups can be purchased on site with a portion of proceeds donated to Georgia River Network.  Iced coffees and other treats will be available for purchase in the afternoon. 

You can also enjoy Cafe Campesino coffee year-round! Purchase the Georgia River Network Blend Viennese Roast Coffee on the Cafe Campesino store by clicking here.

A portion of online sales are also donated to Georgia River Network. (For a limited time, you can use coupon code GRN15 for the 15% discount on GRN coffee when you add it to your cart!)

 

On Site Registration

June 15 (Saturday) from Noon-8 p.m. at Watermelon Creek Vineyard: For thru-paddlers, 3-day paddlers (June 15-18) and June 15-17 Paddle Lite paddlers

June 18 (Tuesday) from 2-8 p.m. at Martha Puckett Middle School: For 4-Day Paddlers (June 18-22)

June 20 (Thursday) from 2-8 p.m. at Martha Puckett Middle School: For June 21-22 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 15, June 18 and June 20 at approximately 8:00 p.m. 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 2024 t-shirt or other swag of your choice, a Paddle Georgia 2024 decal and your on-river maps and guides. You’ll also be directed to our tent camping area and initial boat launch so that you may drop your boat there.

Directions to Watermelon Creek Vineyard: The vineyard is located approximately 35 miles south of I-16 near Glennville. From I-16 at Exit 116 (U.S. 301) travel south on U.S. 310 2o miles. Turn right on Harmony Church Road and proceed 4.3 miles. Turn right on Loves Chapel Road and proceed 0.2 mile. Turn left on Ga. 16 and proceed 5.7 miles to entrance to vineyard on right. Registration will be conducted in the banquet room.
Map of Watermelon Creek Vineyard: 2977 Mt. Zion Church Road, Glennville, GA 30427

Directions to Martha Puckett Middle School: This middle school is located on Durrence Road just north of downtown Jesup. From the intersection of  U.S. 84 and U.S. 341 in Jesup, travel west on U.S. 342 1.7 miles. Turn left on New Bay Acres Road and proceed 0.2 mile. Turn right on Durrence Road and continue 0.5 mile to school on left.
Map of Martha Puckett Middle School: 475 Durrence Rd, Jesup, GA 31545

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 15 (Saturday) Noon-6 p.m.:  Thru-paddlers, Paddle Lite paddlers (June 15-17) and 3-Day paddlers (June 15-18) will drop their boats at the Bells Ferry Landing launch site on the Oconee River, located near Uvalda.

Map and Directions from Watermelon Creek Vineyard to Bells Ferry Landing Launch Site: From the exit of the vineyard, turn left on Mt. Zion Church Road and proceed 0.1 mile. Turn right on Ga. 169 and proceed 1.3 miles. Turn slight left continuing on Ga. 169 1.1 mile. Turn right on Ga. 178 and proceed 6.4 miles. Turn left on Old River Road and proceed 9.7 miles. Turn left on Ga. 147 and proceed 6.3 miles. Turn left on Old River Road and proceed 10.4 miles. Turn right on Dead River Road and proceed 0.5 mile to boat ramp on left.


June 18 (Tuesday) 2-6 p.m.: 4-Day paddlers (June 18-22) will drop their boats at Upper Wayne County Landing.

Map and Directions from Martha Puckett Middle School to Upper Wayne County Landing: From the school entrance, turn left on Yellow Jacket Drive and proceed 0.3 mile. Turn right on Joey Williamson Road and proceed 0.5 mile. Turn left on U.S. 341 and proceed 1.2 mile. Turn right on Tank Road and proceed 2 miles. Turn right on Bethesda Road and proceed 2.7 miles. Turn left on Ga. 169 and proceed 3.9 miles. Turn right on Oglethorpe Road and proceed 0.8 mile. Turn left on to Cherokee Lake Road and proceed 0.9 mile. Turn left on Constance Road and proceed 0.4 mile. Bear right continuing on Old River Road for 2.2 miles. Turn right on to Arnold River Road and proceed 0.6 mile to boat landing.


June 20 (Thursday) 2-6 p.m.: Paddle Lite paddlers (June 20-22) will drop their boats at Paradise Park located 14 miles east of Jesup and Martha Puckett Middle School.

Map and Directions from Martha Puckett Middle School to Paradise Park: From the entrance of the school, turn right on Durrence Road and proceed 0.5 mile. Turn left on New Bay Acres Road and proceed  0.2 mile. Turn right on U.S. 341 and proceed 9 miles. Turn left on Morning Glory Circle and proceed 0.1 mile. Turn right on River Road and proceed 5 miles. Turn left on Paradise Park Road and proceed 1.4 miles to boat ramp.

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.

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. On days that we move to a new campsite, shuttles will return drivers to our initial campsite where they will retrieve their vehicles and drive to our next campsite. By this means, participants will have access to their vehicles throughout the event and you will never need to carry your camp gear in your boat.

June 17 Shuttle for Paddle Lite (June 15-17) Paddlers: On Monday, June 17, Paddle Lite paddlers will finish their journey at Tattnall County Landing. From there buses will return them to Watermelon Creek Vineyard. A boat trailer will transport their vessels back to Watermelon Creek Vineyard as well.

June 18 Shuttle For Thru-Paddlers and 3-Day Paddlers: On Tuesday June 18, we’ll move campsites! At the end of the day’s paddle route at Upper Wayne County Landing, buses will return thru-paddlers who are drivers and 3-day Paddlers to Watermelon Creek Vineyard where they will retrieve their vehicles and proceed to our next campsite, Martha Puckett Middle School. 3-Day Paddlers will retrieve their vehicles, load their boats and return home. A boat trailer will move 3-day paddler boats from Upper Wayne County Landing to Watermelon Creek Vineyard. Thru-paddlers who are not drivers will be shuttled directly to Martha Puckett Middle School.

Directions from Watermelon Creek Vineyard to Martha Puckett Middle School: From the exit of Watermelon Creek Vineyard, turn left and proceed 0.1 mile. Turn right on Ga. 169 and proceed 1.3 mile. Turn slight left, continuing on Ga. 169 for 6.8 miles. Shortly after crossing Altamaha River, bear left on Ga. 169/Ga. 121, then left again to stay on Ga. 169 (Lanes Bridge Road) proceeding 20.5 miles. Turn right on Spring Grove road and proceed 0.5 mile. Turn right on U.S. 341 and proceed 0.4 mile. Turn left on to New Bay Acres Road and proceed 0.2 mile. Turn right on Durrence Road and proceed 0.5 mile to school on left.

Martha Puckett Middle School Address: 475 Durrence Rd, Jesup, GA 31545

June 21 Shuttle for Thru Paddlers, 4-day Paddlers and Paddle Lite (June 21-22) Paddlers: On Friday, June 21, we will move campsites! At the end of the day’s paddle route at Altamaha Regional Park, buses will return participants who are drivers to Martha Puckett Middle School where they will retrieve their vehicles and proceed to our next campsite (Altamaha Regional Park). All paddlers who are not drivers will remain at Altamaha Regional Park to set up camp. NOTE: Limited parking space at Altamaha Regional Park will require some participants to park along Altamaha Park Road outside the entrance to Altamaha Regional Park. 

Directions from Martha Puckett Middle School to Altamaha Regional Park: From the entrance to Martha Puckett Middle School turn right on Durrence Road and proceed 0.5 mile. Turn left on New Bay Acres Road and proceed 0.2 mile. Turn right on U.S. 341 and proceed 20.2 miles. Turn left on Altamaha Park Road and proceed 3.6 miles to campsite. 

Altamaha Regional Park Address: 1605 Altamaha Park Rd, Brunswick, GA 31525


June 22 Shuttle for Thru-Paddlers, 4-Day Paddlers and Paddle Lite (June 21-22) Paddlers: On Saturday, June 22, the final day of the trip, we will move campsites one final time! At the end of the day’s paddle route in Darien, buses will return all participants who are drivers to Altamaha Regional Park where they will retrieve their vehicles and then return to Darien to retrieve boats and get ready for our River’s End Celebration!  All paddlers who are not drivers will remain in Darien.

Directions from Altamaha Regional Park to Darien: Return to U.S. 341 via 3.6 miles on Altamaha Park Road. Turn left and proceed 9.6 miles. Turn left on to Ga. 99 and travel 7 miles. Turn left on to U.S 17 and proceed 4.8 miles to Darien. Turn left on Broad St. and proceed 0.1 mile. Turn left on Screven St. and continue 0.1 mile to boat landing. Designated parking for Paddle Georgia participants will be available in Darien.

Darien River Waterfront Park & Docks Address: 1 Screven St, Darien, GA 31305


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

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.

Atlanta to Atlantic Project

Paddle Georgia 2024 will host the artist duo of Rachel Parish and Sarah Cameron Sunde who this spring and summer will travel by boat the length of the South, Ocmulgee and Altamaha rivers, completing an Atlanta to Atlantic sojourn. When they return from their adventure they will create participatory art installations in three Atlanta communities based on their experiences on the rivers. Look for Rachel and Sarah during our journey (they’ll have plenty of stories to tell) and keep track of them on Instagram @atlantatotheatlantic as they begin their journey and then join Paddle Georgia for portions of their Altamaha adventure. Click here to learn more! 

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, 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 Towns Bluff Park and Heritage Center, the RYAM specialty cellulose mill in Jesup and historic Fort Barrington before finishing at the base of tabby ruins in Darien, home to Fort King George Historic Site. Tours and visits to these sites will be available to all participants.

On river, 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.

Georgia Educators Scholarship Program

Are you a Georgia K-12 educator and looking for an incredible summer adventure? Apply to receive a full scholarship to participate in Paddle Georgia 2024 and receive environmental education curriculum and Georgia Adopt-A-Stream training during the seven-day journey. You’ll have the trip of a lifetime and learn curriculum and skills that can help connect your students with Georgia’s rivers and streams! The scholarship pays your full registration fee. The scholarship program is open to all Georgia teachers working in K-12 public or private schools. The application deadline is April 15, 2024; scholarship winners will be announced by April 20. CLICK HERE TO APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP!  

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.

Itinerary

Saturday June 15

Noon-6 p.m.                Boat Drop Off at Bells Ferry Landing on Oconee River

Noon-8 p.m.                On Site Registration and Campsite Set Up at Watermelon Creek Vineyard

6:30 p.m.                     Dinner at Watermelon Creek Vineyard

7:15 p.m.                      Announcements, Introductions and Mandatory Safety Briefing

10 p.m.                         Lights Out/Quiet Hours

Sunday June 16

6:30-7:30 a.m.            Breakfast Served at Watermelon Creek Vineyard

8:00-10 a.m.               Shuttles to Launch Site at Bells Ferry Landing

8:00-4 p.m.                 Paddle Georgia River Cleanup (with prizes!)

10 a.m.-Noon              Town Bluff Park & Heritage Center Tours

1:00-4 p.m.                  Boats Arrive at Grays Landing

1:00-4 p.m.                  Shuttles to Campsite

1:00-4 p.m.                  Boat Shuttles to Ga. 147 Boat Ramp on Ohoopee River

6:30 p.m.                     Dinner at Watermelon Creek Vineyard

7:15 p.m.                      Announcements, Cleanup Prizes, Live Auction and Program TBD

10 p.m.                         Lights Out/Quiet Hours

Monday June 17

6:30-7:30 a.m.            Breakfast Served at Watermelon Creek Vineyard

7:30-9:30  a.m.           Shuttles to Ga. 147 Boat Ramp on Ohoopee

8:00-10 a.m.               Boats Launch

1:00-5 p.m.                 Boats Arrive at Tattnall County Landing Take Out Site

1:00-5 p.m.                 Shuttles to Campsite

3:00-6 p.m.                 Local Farm Tours

6:30 p.m.                     Dinner at Watermelon Creek Vineyard

7:15 p.m.                     Announcements and Program: Author Janisse Ray

10 p.m.                        Lights Out/Quiet Hours

Tuesday June 18

6:30-8:30 a.m.             Moving Day! Pack up Camp

6:30-7:30 a.m.             Breakfast Served at Watermelon Creek Vineyard

7:30-9:30  a.m.            Shuttles to Tattnall County Landing Launch Site

8:00-10 a.m.                Boats Launch

8:00 a.m.-4 p.m.          Paddle Georgia Legislators and Professionals Day

1:00-5 p.m.                   Boats Arrive at Upper Wayne County Landing Take Out Site

1:00-5 p.m.                   Shuttles to Campsite/Shuttles to Vehicles at Watermelon Creek Vineyard

2-8 p.m.                         On Site Registration for 4-Day Paddlers at Martha Puckett Middle School

3-6 p.m.                         Campsite Set Up at Martha Puckett Middle School

6:30 p.m.                      Dinner at Martha Puckett Middle School

7:15 p.m.                       Announcements and Program: Get to Know Your State Legislators

8:15 p.m.                       Safety Briefing for 4-Day Paddlers

10 p.m.                          Lights Out/Quiet Hours

Wednesday June 19

6:30-7:30 a.m.             Breakfast Served at Martha Puckett Middle School

7:30-9:30  a.m.            Shuttles to Upper Wayne County Landing Launch Site

8:00-10 a.m.                Boats Launch

1:00-5 p.m.                  Boats Arrive at Jaycee Landing Take Out Site

1:00-5 p.m.                  River Festival at Jaycee Landing (exhibits and activities for youth and                                                            families)

3:00-4:30 p.m.            Tours of RYAM Specialty Cellulose Mill

2:00-5 p.m.                  Shuttles to Campsite

6:00-10 p.m.                Dinner and Movies on Your Own In Jesup

10 p.m.                          Lights Out/Quiet Hours

Thursday June 20 

6:30-7:30 a.m.             Breakfast Served at Martha Puckett Middle School

7:30-9:30  a.m.            Shuttles to Jaycee Landing Launch Site

8:00-10 a.m.                Boats Launch

2:00-5 p.m.                  Boats Arrive at Paradise Park Landing Take Out Site

2:00-5 p.m.                  Shuttles to Campsite

2:00-8 p.m.                  On Site Registration for 2-Day (June 20-22) Paddle Lite Participants at                                                        Martha Puckett Middle School

6:30 p.m.                     Dinner at Martha Puckett Middle School

7:15 p.m.                      Announcements and Program: Paddle Georgia No Talent Show

8:15 p.m.                      Safety Briefing for 2-Day Paddle Lite Participants

10 p.m.                         Lights Out/Quiet Hours

Friday June 21 

6:30-7:30 a.m.             Breakfast Served at Martha Puckett Middle School

7:30-9:30  a.m.            Shuttles to Paradise Park Launch Site

8:00-10 a.m.                Boats Launch

2:00-5 p.m.                  Boats Arrive at Altamaha Regional Park Take Out Site

2:00-5 p.m.                  Shuttle to Vehicles at Martha Puckett Middle School

2:00-5 p.m.                  Campsite Set Up at Altamaha Regional Park

6:30 p.m.                      Dinner at Altamaha Regional Park

7:15 p.m.                       Announcements and Program: TBD

10 p.m.                         Lights Out/Quiet Hours

Saturday June 22

6:30-7:30 a.m.             Breakfast Served at Altamaha Regional Park

8:00-10 a.m.                Boats Launch. No Shuttles!

1:00-5 p.m.                  Boats Arrive at Darien Final Take Out Site

1:00-5 p.m.                  Shuttle to Vehicles at Altamaha Regional Park

3:00-6 p.m.                  Visit Darien Historic Sites (Ashantilly Center, Fort King George)

6:00-9 p.m.                  River’s End Celebration With Dinner, Music, Dancing

Georgia River Network

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 3 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: 91 F; Average Low Temperature: 69 F. Average June Rainfall: 4 inches with typically a 50 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 2024

a project of
Georgia River Network

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