PADDLE GEORGIA 2023
SPRING ON THE SATILLA
PADDLE GEORGIA 2023 SPRING ON THE SATILLA
MARCH 31-APRIL 2, 2023
About the Trip
A Georgia River Network favorite, Spring on the Satilla is an chance to escape to a wild azalea-lined paddle path at the height of a beautiful spring season. Two nights of on-river camping at the private Satilla Lodge with two days of exploring the Satilla’s blackwater and the many creeks and sloughs that feed it. We’ll take in some 23 miles of the Satilla River from near Still Lake Fishing Club to Satilla Lodge, including portions of the river that are tidally influenced. For those adventurous enough to take a plunge in the early spring, Satilla Lodge features an excellent redneck water slide! Catered meals, educational programs and six meals are included in the registration price. Alternative lodging in a cabin and unique “treehouses” on the Satilla Lodge property are available for additional charges.
Registration Fees: Registration fees are still to be determined but should run between $225-$375. Registration opens Monday Jan. 2, 2023 at 8 a.m.
The blackwater Satilla winds more than 200 miles through Southeast Georgia before emptying into St. Andrews Sound and the Atlantic Ocean in Camden County. Our 23-mile route will explore a picturesque section of the river in Brantley, Camden and Charlton counties. Expect snow white sandbars, mysterious backwater sloughs and abundant wildlife.
Paddle Georgia 2023 Spring on the Satilla Itinerary
April 1: Still Lake Soiree–14 miles from Still Lake Fish Club to Burnt Fort Landing: Starting at an historic private fish camp, the paddle route winds like a snake through the bottomland forest bordering the Satilla, occasionally running up against bluffs high enough to support small neighborhoods at Douglas Fish Camp and 3R Fish Camp. Side passages lead to enchanting oxbow lakes like Blues Lake and even more off-the-main channel sloughs.
April 2: Burnt Fort Boogie–8 miles from Burnt Fort Landing to Satilla Lodge: Nearing Burnt Fort, the Satilla becomes tidally influenced and on April 2 high tide at Burnt Fort will peak at 11 a.m., meaning a portion of your paddle will be against the incoming tide. Never fear, the tides will turn and the paddle is short…and beautiful. Off-river exploration is at its best on Bloody Branch, an intimate tributary that leads to heron nests and more.
INFORMATION FOR REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS
American Canoe Association Liability Waivers
All participants must complete an American Canoe Association liability waiver to participate in the trip. The process is all online and takes just a matter of minutes. Click on the link below, sign the form and then respond to an e-mail you will receive to complete the liability waiver form process.
If you have difficulty completing your online waiver, contact Joe Cook at email@example.com
All participants are encouraged to participate in Georgia River Network’s Paddle-A-Thon! In 2023, the Paddle-A-Thon celebrates Georgia River Network’s 25th anniversary and challenges supporters to explore Georgia’s rivers and raise funds to protect those rivers. Thousands of dollars in prizes–from gift certificates to merchandise–from our many Paddle Georgia sponsors will be awarded to participants in numerous categories: most miles paddled, most funds raised, most trash removed and more! Look for more details and links to our Paddle-A-Thon website soon!
ON SITE REGISTRATION AT SATILLA LODGE MARCH 31-APRIL 1
March 31: 2-8 p.m.
April 1: 7-8:00 a.m.
All participants must check in at Satilla Lodge during the times listed above. Upon check-in, you will receive your event packet that includes items like your Paddle Georgia t-shirt or other swag and your on-river maps and descriptions.
If you are feeling sick, have tested positive for COVID or have been exposed to someone with COVID, please stay home! Let us know and you will receive a full refund!
Directions to Satilla Lodge from I-95: From Exit 14 near Woodbine, go west on Ga. 25 2.5 miles to U.S. 17 in Woodbine. Turn right, proceed 1.7 miles (crossing Satilla River on the way) to Refuge Road on left. Turn left and proceed 5.1 miles to Ga. 252 (Burnt Fort Road). Turn left and proceed 7.1 miles to Bailey Mill Road on left. Turn left on dirt Bailey Mill Road and travel 2.7 miles to entrance to Satilla Lodge on right. Turn right and follow drive 1.5 miles to Lodge.
BOAT DROP OFF
Boat Drop-Off Times:
March 31: 1-6 p.m
April 1: 7-8 a.m.
All participants must drop off their boats at the boat landing at Still Lake Fishing Club, located approximately 20 miles from Satilla Lodge. After registering, you will be directed to the boat drop off area at Still Lake Fishing Club OR you may choose to drop your boat at the initial launch site first and then proceed to Satilla Lodge. We strongly encourage you to drop your boat on Friday, March 31, rather than Saturday morning, April 1!
Directions to Still Lake Fishing Club Launch Site from Satilla Lodge: Return to Bailey Mill Road from Satilla Lodge. Turn left and proceed 2.6 miles. Turn left on Ga. 252 and proceed 5.3 miles. Turn right on Riverside Road and proceed 8.9 miles. Turn right on Still Lake Road and proceed 0.9 mile to Still Lake Fishing Club.
Meals are included in the cost of registration. We encourage you to arrive Friday, March 31, and enjoy our kick off evening meal beginning at 6:30 p.m.. Breakfasts and sack lunches will be provided April 1-2. Dinner will also be provided Saturday, April 1.
Dishwashing Station: We will provide a dishwashing station with hot water, soap, rinse and sterilizing rinse so that you may bring your own dishes and utensils. This helps reduce the use of disposable plates and utensils and cuts down on waste. Please bring your own dishes and utensils if you are so inclined!
Coffee: Coffee will be provided with breakfast each morning.
*Lunches: Sack lunches come with your choice of sandwiches: tuna salad, turkey & cheese wrap, hummus & veggie wrap, egg salad wrap, roast beef & cheese wrap. You will pick up your sack lunch AT THE CAMPSITE following breakfast each morning. Make sure you bring a waterproof bag to keep your lunch dry on the river. Lunches include chips, fruit and dessert.
*Breakfasts: Breakfast will be served daily beginning at 7 a.m. Daily menus include vegetable frittata, sausage links and bacon, grits with butter, warm cinnamon rolls with icing, fresh fruit, orange juice, coffee
*Dinners: Dinners will be served daily beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, March 31: Herb roasted chicken squash casserole, quinoa salad, sweet potato, black bean and rice casserole, greek veggie salad with balsamic vinaigrette, feta and candied walnuts, yeast rolls, peach cobbler with whipped cream, fresh fruit salad, teas, lemonade
Saturday, April 1: Peel and eat shrimp, sausage, corn, potatoes cooked in Old Bay seasoning, cocktail sauce, honey mustard sauce and boom boom sauce, creamy coleslaw, cucumber tomato salad, macaroni and cheese, french rolls, banana pudding, fresh fruit salad, teas, lemonade
*these are projected menus. Finalized menus will be posted soon!
WATER WARNING! Tap water at Satilla Lodge has strong sulfur taste and smell (really strong). If you find this distasteful you may wish to bring your own water.
CAMPSITE INFORMATION AND ALTERNATIVE LODGING
Satilla Lodge: Our campsite is a private retreat overlooking the river at Long Bluff. Tent camping will be on the grounds surrounding the main lodge. Indoor lodging, for those who reserved spaces, is available in the main lodge, riverside cabin and treehouses. An indoor shower and restroom is available at the main lodge. Porta-toilets and an outdoor camp shower with hot water will also be available. The screened porch at the main lodge has plenty of rockers and great views overlooking the river. Meals will be served outside with seating in covered pavilion by main lodge. Evening programs will be held outdoors at this same covered pavilion. There is a fire pit for hanging out and spinning stories.
On-Site Lodging: If you reserved the a room in the lodge, River Cabin or treehouses when you registered, your room/bed assignment will be given to you during registration. Linens are provided, but feel free to bring your own!
Nearby Amenities: Satilla Lodge, is, by design, as they say, “in the middle of nowhere.” The nearest amenities are in Woodbine 16 miles to the east and Folkston 15 miles to the west.
Alternative Lodging in Woodbine: Stardust Lodge 210 Bedell Ave., Woodbine, GA 31569 912-576-3207
Alternative Lodging in Folkston: There are numerous options in the Folkston area. Click here for a full listing and contact information.
In addition to these accommodations, you may have luck finding private accommodations through various online vacation rental sites such as Airbnb and VRBO.
Distance to Launch Sites/Take Out Sites: All paddle trips will leave from the Satilla Lodge boat ramp. The boat ramp is located 0.2 mile from Satilla Lodge.
Map of Satilla Lodge Campsite:
SPECIAL EVENTS, TOURS AND MORE
Georgia River Network will offer educational tours/programs of local points of interest during the weekend. As we firm up our plans for our evening programs and on-river educational activities, that information will be posted here.
April 1 Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Workshop
Georgia Adopt-A-Stream instructors will offer chemical water quality monitoring workshops during Spring on the Satilla. During the on-river training April 1, trainers and students will stop at several locations to demonstrate chemical monitoring protocols, collecting and testing water quality samples. Following the on-river training, participants can complete the Adopt-A-Stream certification process in camp, either that evening or Sunday morning, April 2. By participating in this training, you’ll have the opportunity to assist in Georgia Adopt-A-Stream’s assessment of the health of the Satilla River and its tributaries. 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. Interested participants will be encouraged to assist the monitoring team by conducting additional sampling during the course of the trip.
You can sign up to participate in the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream workshop during registration on Friday, March 31 or during online registration.
Friday, March 31
Boat Drop: 1:00-6:00 Still Lake Fishing Club
Registration: 2:00-8:00 Satilla Lodge
Set- Up Camp: 2:00-8:00 Satilla Lodge
Evening Program: 7:30-9:00 Welcome, Safety Briefing
Lights Out 10:00
Saturday, April 1
Registration: 7:00-8:00 Satilla Lodge
Boat Drop: 7:00-7:30 Satilla Lodge
Shuttle Service: 7:45 First Bus Leaves for Still Lake Fishing Club
Launch: 8:15-9:15 Still Lake Fishing Club
AAS Training 8:00-4:00 Adopt-A-Stream Training
Take-Out: 2:00-5:00 Burnt Fort Landing
Evening Program: 7:30-8:30 TBD
Lights Out 10:00
Sunday, April 2
Shuttle Service: 8:00 First Bus Leaves for Burnt Fort Landing
Launch: 8:30-9:30 Burnt Fort Landing (High tide at Burnt Fort is at 11 a.m.)
Take-Out: 2:00-5:00 Satilla Lodge
Dinner: 2:00-6:00 Break Camp & Depart
PADDLE GEORGIA POLICIES, SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS, WHAT TO BRING, WHAT NOT TO BRING AND MORE!
Paddle Georgia Policies
- No alcoholic beverages are permitted on the river.
- All participants must attend the pre-launch safety briefing. Participants must adhere to the safety guidelines presented.
- Participants must wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation device at all times on the river.
- Participants under age 18 are the responsibility of, and must be accompanied by, a parent or guardian.
- Sorry, no pets allowed.
- 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.
- Person-powered watercraft only.
- All participants must respect private property along the river.
- All participants must possess basic paddling skills and be capable of self-rescue in the water.
- No more than 2 children under the age of 12 per adult guardian.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Registration and meal fees may be reimbursed prior to Aug. 21. Refunds will deduct a 10% processing fee.
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 (potable tap water at Satilla Lodge has strong sulfur scent and taste which may be unpalatable for some)
What Shouldn’t I Bring? No alcohol Permitted
16 Things You Should Bring on the Water Each Day
- At least two paddles for each boat.
- 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)
- 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.
- An extra throw rope in case of emergencies should be stored safely in each boat.
- Attach a whistle to your life vest or body to signal for help in case of emergency.
- A Knife
- Waterproof matches or other fire source in waterproof covering.
- 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.
- A repair kit—each vessel should be able to make their own repairs (duct tape, sealant, waterproof tape and other materials are recommended)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sunscreen—Sunburn might be the trip’s biggest hazard.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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: Spring on the Satilla is suitable for novice paddlers. 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. There are no shoals or rapids on this section of the Satilla. It is a Class I flatwater paddle.
For a reminder of basic paddling safety practices, watch this American Canoe Association Video.
Weather: Average High Temperature: 86 F; Average Low Temperature: 68 F. Average September Rainfall: 5.6 inches
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 throughout the entire Satilla River 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, the Satilla River collects 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 Satilla River and the land surrounding it are potential habitats 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—On its journey through the Coastal Plain, the river winds past varied terrain. Please step carefully when paying visits to land.
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
For tips on kayak safety, watch this American Canoe Association intructional video:
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, the Satilla 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
Spring on the Satilla is
a project of
Georgia River Network