Sat, Oct 13 2018 - Etowah & Chestatee River Volunteer Project: Hiking or Paddling Option + T-Shirt & Riverfront Campfire! (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Bobby Marie, Charlie Cottingham
Participants:Greg Walling, Kelly Burke, Charlie Cottingham, Teresa, Gloria Colley, Terry S, Jerry Colley, Jerry K, Wayne O., Lisa W, Jim, Diane Windham, Lyn S, Toni L, Heidi W., Thomas W., Gena, Robin Walling, Allston, Vicky G, Dana, john everly, Lisa, Caroline B, Bobby Marie, Pat E, Dave S, Pamela Robinson, John, Joyce T., Ken S, Tim W, Elvin Hilyer, Carla Bell

Write Up:

A big high five to our ~3 dozen AOC volunteers who pitched in with this big festive award-winning Rivers Alive event - the 6th year in a row that our Club has helped clean up the lovely upper Etowah River and its "sister" watershed, the Chestatee.  AOCers Elvin & Nancy Hilyer and their son Forest do a fantastic job each October hosting this worthy cleanup project, based at their gorgeous riverfront home on the Etowah just west of Dahlonega. They're ably assisted by other generous hardworking volunteers from the "Lumpkin Coalition" - also by our own fine Club, dozens of young collegiates from the Univ. of North GA and other concerned citizens from the general public.  Jointly this month there have been in fact thousands of Rivers Alive volunteers working in teams throughout Georgia to remove and dispose of countless pounds of unsightly and unsafe refuse while having tons of fun and fellowship in the process. 
Special thanks to our Club's "by-land" walking volunteers, most of whom pitched in with Bobby Marie's assigned group to de-litter the riverbank terrain under and near highway nine near the Hilyers' home.
About 10 of our "by-water" paddling  volunteers were part of our Club's traditional "Jay to Chuck Shoals" mission, headed up in fine fashion this year by Jerry Kelley & Ken Scher.  They launched their flotilla of kayaks & canoes at Jay Bridge, about six miles upstream of the huge Chuck Shoals rapid at the Hilyers' home, and had a fine time together removing an amazing amount of debris from the channel and banks of that scenic section.  Kudos to my friend Scott Stephens, a fellow long-time member of the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, who joined the Jay Bridge "armada" with his wife Amalia in their canoe and assisted greatly in hauling out the larger items and filled trash bags.
A third contingent of 13 of us greatly enjoyed our Club's brand new assignment this year of doing a paddling cleanup of the periphery of the Yahoola Reservoir, a.k.a. "Lake Zwerner" in Dahlonega, using a very nice fleet of loaner canoes provided by Appalachian Outfitters and ably delivered to us - and picked up afterward - by our amazing friend Forest Hilyer.
The fall WEATHER! - was picture perfect this year, with a clear blue sky and crisp 50s in the morning warming nicely to about 70 by midafternoon.  Also the river depths and conditions could hardly have been better, profiting from the northern "rain bands" of Hurricane Michael a few nights ago.
We wrapped up the day with a delicious BBQ-grilled dinner party down by the river which even included a roaring campfire and some singing.  Many of us also enjoyed exploring the half-mile or more of heavily forested riverfront trails built and maintained by the Hilyers on their property.
Several in our group took colorful photos which Bobby and I will be happy to add to this archive - ideally in the form of "clickable links" to online photo albums. - Submitted by Charlie, Sun AM Oct 14th