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REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page.

Etowah & Chestatee River Volunteer Project: Hiking or Paddling Option + T-Shirt & Riverfront Campfire!

The Basics:
Event Type:Volunteer
Event Location: In GA mountains near Dahlonega, 1 hour north of Atlanta   Volunteer: Etowah & Chestatee River Volunteer Project: Hiking or Paddling Option + T-Shirt & Riverfront Campfire!  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Oct 13 2018  8:45 am >> Sat, Oct 13 2018 4:45 pm  (Carpool Departure: 7:30 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Wed, Aug 1 2018 9:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Oct 12 2018 9:00 pm
Event Duration:8 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Trip Leader(s):
Charlie Cottingham
Bobby Marie
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:40
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 34 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


 Calling AOC volunteers!   Please support our annual participation in this very worthwhile - and fun! - cleanup & beautification project along the riverbanks and channels of North GA's lovely Etowah and Chestatee Rivers.  Our gracious "Rivers Alive" hosts, the Hilyers, will treat us to a delicious kickoff breakfast and post-cleanup riverfront cookout & campfire at their lovely mountain home beside the rapids and waterfalls of Chuck Shoals, on the Etowah near Dahlonega - see Directions & more event details below.  Each volunteer will be awarded a nice "Rivers Alive 2018" T-shirt.  Youth Volunteers are welcome to participate if accompanied by their parent or guardian, but youth do not register directly through the AOC - see more below.

For the past ten years dozens of AOC members have had a blast "giving back to nature" by pitching with this festive annual statewide volunteer cleanup of Georgia's streams, rivers, lakes, beaches, and wetlands.  Each fall there are dozens of Rivers Alive focus groups such as this one, with thousands of participants of all ages and levels of experience.
Our past President Paula Schubert spearheaded our Club's first Rivers Alive participation beginning in 2008 at Olde Rope Mill Park and continuing each year since.  We're proud to have built on that AOC tradition by also offering this annual Etowah-Chestatee volunteer opportunity each year in October since 2013.


Option 1:  By Water in our own boats: Those of us who can bring our own kayak or canoe (+ paddle & PFD) and have previous river paddling experience will focus on cleaning up an assigned section of river channel and riverbank while paddling together down the river.  Each of us will be assigned to a paddling subgroup and river section that is appropriate for our own individual experience level - novice thru expert.
  Option 2:  By Land: We encourage AOC volunteers who don't have a boat to also sign up for this event!  Hiking volunteers can do equally valuable cleanup work with your designated team on an assigned section of riverbank frontage.

Please let us know in the "Notes" section of your registration whether you prefer volunteering by water or by land.  If "by water" please indicate the type of kayak or canoe and other gear you expect to  bring - also a brief summary of your past river paddling experience and whether you have extra space in your boat for another volunteer.

TWO DRIVING OPTIONS and MEETUP TIMES:  Each of us who registers for this AOC event/cleanup may choose either of the following two driving options:
A.  Drive directly to the Event, arriving by ~8:45 AM
 (See Directions below to the "Pine Valley" Parking Lot & Trail to the Hilyers' home) OR
B. Meet Charlie at 7:30 AM for carpooling at the GA-400 Mansell Rd  Park & Ride lot near Roswell (See "Carpool Directions" below to that free lot.)  Each driving party is welcome to caravan with us to the Pine Valley lot where we expect to arrive by 8:30 or so.

 AOC members Elvin and Nancy Hilyer and their son Forest are long-time organizers and sponsors of this Rivers Alive project and host the event each fall at their gorgeous home.  In the morning prior to the cleanup they and their friends will provide a delicious Breakfast.  Then after our teams return, they'll treat us to a big riverfront Cookout & Campfire with hot-off-the grill burgers and brats, plus an assortment of delicious side dishes & refreshing "liquid libations"!  Each volunteer or group of carpoolers is welcome to "split" at any time, but hopefully we all can take the time to relax a bit and enjoy the cookout, camaraderie and amazing riverfront scenery - feel free to stay until dusk if you like.

 At our initial morning gathering we'll each be asked to sign the Rivers Alive liability waiver.  The event organizers will then assign us to appropriate cleanup teams and distribute trash bags, cotton gloves, etc. - also discuss team directions & logistics before sending us off.

This award-winning annual Rivers Alive event is sponsored and hosted by the following fine "sister organizations" of the AOC:  Rivers Alive and the Lumpkin Coalition(Click here for more details):  

Although as usual no one under 21 can register via the AOC, younger volunteers may participate as guests of Rivers Alive and the Lumpkin Coalition.  Parents and guardians of any under-age participants should be prepared to sign a waiver form on their behalf after arriving at the event.  If you expect to have one or more youth with you please mention their names and ages in your own AOC registration notes.

Required Items to Bring:

- Your own Kayak or Canoe (if you wish to participate in the "By Water" cleanup option) + your own Paddle(s) and Coast Guard approved PFD (personal flotation device).

- Hydrate well and consider carrying with you during the Cleanup some Water and perhaps a Snack
 (e.g. in a light Daypack or Fanny Pack) .

- Wear Rugged Clothing and Sturdy Closed-Toed Tightly-Fastened Sneakers or River Shoes - ideally things you don’t mind getting wet, dirty or muddy!  Lean toward LONG PANTS and LONG-SLEEVE shirts & jackets since we may occasionally encounter briers, vines, etc.  Old Sneakers are fine (with Wool or Wool-blend Socks for extra warmth when wet) but make sure any shoes you wear are not easily "sucked off," since we occasionally may be walking or wading in mud.  A tight-fitting Cap or brimmed Hat is also a good idea - also if the forecast expects the possibility of showers some light-weight Raingear (stashed in a fanny pack, etc.).

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

- If you like bring your own favorite pair of Work Gloves or rubber Dishwashing Gloves(Gloves are useful for handling sharp or muddy objects or larger items such as tires - also for avoiding briar cuts, etc. Our Rivers Alive hosts normally provide "loaner" or "keepable" work gloves.

- If you happen to have a mechanical "Grabber" (a 3- or 4-foot long device for picking up light objects from the ground, tree limbs, etc) - please bring it!  They're especially handy for river corridor cleanups!  A few "loaners" of these devices may be available.

- Consider bringing a Clean Dry Change of Clothes in a bag to stash in your vehicle in case you get wet or muddy during the event and wish to be more comfortable during the post-cleanup cookout or while en route home..

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

DIRECTIONS to "PINE VALLEY RECREATION AREA" (where we'll park our vehicles and walk a short distance through the woods following the signs to ELVIN & NANCY HILYER'S Riverfront Home
- GPS Users can enter the following concise "Lat/ Lon" as your destination address for the entrance from GA Hwy 9 onto the long Pine Valley driveway:  34.5128, -84.0610  - being sure to include the comma and minus sign. (The longer approx. street address for Pine Valley is 3757 Dawsonville Hwy, Dahlonega, GA 30533.)

From the GA-400/ I-285 Interchange in north Atlanta:
1.  Take GA-400 North about 42 miles to the traffic light at GA-136(This is just 3 miles NORTH of the huge GA-53 junction.  Just past the GA-400/ GA-53 traffic light on the Right there's a Wendy's, suggested for a pit stop.)
2. Turn Left (off GA-400) onto GA-136 West and go about 6 miles to the 4-way stop at GA-9.
3. Turn Right onto GA-9 North, go 7 miles, and look for a small sign with the number "3865" on the right side of the road.  (Although, this is near the Hilyers' driveway we're asked NOT to park or enter the event here!)
4. "Pine Valley" Parking Plan:    Continue driving about 200 yards beyond the Hilyers' small "3865" sign and look for a "Pine Valley Recreation Area" sign and entrance driveway on the right side of GA-9 (but before the Etowah River bridge).  Take that long driveway to its end at an unpaved parking lot, a few hundred yards down the hill.   After parking your vehicle there walk westward via a short well-marked trail through the woods to reach the Hilyers' riverfront home.  It's an easy 5- to 10-minute walk and the last portion of the trail adjoins the Etowah River and its rocky "Chuck Shoals" rapid.
5.  After walking along the marked trail to the Hilyers' home check in with the event's friendly hosts and introduce yourself.  We AOCers will gather there at 8:45 AM. Many other nice volunteers from the "public at large" will be arriving at about the same time.

Our main group of AOC paddling volunteers traditionally cleans up the beautiful 6-mile section of the Etowah just upstream of the Hilyers' home, putting in at Jay Bridge and taking out on river-right just upstream of the Class II "Chuck Shoals" rapid beside their home.  The GPS address for the Jay Bridge put-in is 34.5594, -84.074 

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):90Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 7:30 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $36.00 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.


If river levels are considered too low or too high for safe paddling we may decide to "pass" on the boating option and instead ALL do a walking cleanup on various assigned sections of riverfront.  In this case we'll do our best to inform our paddlng volunteers in advance that you won't need to bring your boats.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.