400 people will embark on a 7-day, 106-mile adventure on the Etowah River as part of Georgia River Network’s (GRN) Paddle Georgia 2017.

A week-long canoe/kayak adventure from Dawsonville to Rome

This Saturday nearly 400 people will embark on a 7-day, 106-mile adventure on the Etowah River as part of Georgia River Network’s (GRN) Paddle Georgia 2017.


Regarded as the country’s largest week-long canoe/kayak camping journey, the event will take participants from Dawsonville to Rome, with stops near Cumming, Canton, Cartersville and Euharlee. Paddlers, ranging in age from 2 to 75 and hailing from 17 different states will participate with some coming from as far away as Nevada and Oregon.

On the river by day, at night, the participants will camp at nearby facilities. The group will tent at Cagle Farm at Conns Creek from June 16-20 as they explore the river through Dawson, Forsyth and Cherokee counties, and then move downstream for three nights at Frankie Harris Park in Euharlee as they journey through Bartow County. The group’s final camp will be at downtown Rome’s Heritage Park.

The event includes educational programs on the river’s cultural and natural history, tours of facilities and historic sites located along the river, nightly games and entertainment, and even a research program in which participants will help collect chemical and biological data with the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream program to give a snapshot of the river’s current health.

The trip culminates June 23 with a Journey’s End celebration and feast at Heritage Park in Rome hosted by Coosa River Basin Initiative (CRBI). Members of the community are invited to attend the event, which includes a traditional fish fry meal. The celebration is from 2:00-8:30 PM, with dinner at 6:30. Tickets for the meal ($15) are available at http://www.coosa.org/events/paddle-georgia-2016-tug-o-wars-river-end-celebration

On Thursday, June 22, the City of Cartersville and CRBI will host a downtown street party from 6-9 p.m. at the Cartersville Depot. The free festival will feature canoe and kayak demo rides and canoe tug-o-wars in a massive portable pool provided by Cedar Creek Park & Outdoor Center and live music from the Gintones. Registration ($25 per four-person team) is required to compete in the canoe tug-o-wars. Register at http://www.coosa.org/events/paddle-georgia-2016-tug-o-wars-river-end-celebration

This is the 13th anniversary for Paddle Georgia. In the event’s first 12 years, GRN has introduced more than 4,000 paddlers to more than 1200 miles of water trails on 13 Georgia rivers. Along the way the event has generated more than $400,000 for river protection. Coosa River Basin Initiative based in Rome and Upper Etowah River Alliance based in Canton will be the local groups benefitting from this year’s event.

The Etowah also hosted Paddle Georgia in 2006, but event organizers say a lot has changed since that trip. During the past decade local communities have recognized the benefits of improving public access to the Etowah and have developed the Etowah River Water Trail, a 163-mile boating trail stretching the length of the river (www.etowahwatertrail.org)

“In 2006, along this same route, we found only four developed public access points,” said Joe Cook, Paddle Georgia coordinator. “This year we’ll have access to 13 sites that have been built by state and local governments as well as non-profit organizations. This means more people are using the river, and I expect, falling in love with it. That’s a good thing for the river and the communities around it.”

The Etowah is one of 15 established water trails in Georgia (www.gawatertrails.org).

Information for the media, including a daily itinerary, directions to campsites, launch sites, and take-out sites can be found on the Paddle Georgia website: www.garivers.org/paddle_georgia

Sponsors of the event include Hennessy Land Rover Centres; Columbia Sportswear Company; Southern Company Gas; Cedar Creek RV and Outdoor Center; Cary Baxter, CPA; CYA Agency, Inc.; Oglethorpe Power; Williams Energy;  StreamTechs; Terry Pate, PC, CPA; China Clay Producers Association; Georgia Mining Association; Patagonia; EarthShare of Georgia; New Belgium Brewing Company; Shaw Industries; Mohawk Carpet Foundation; Stormwater Systems; Outside World; Troncalli Subaru; Paper Recovery of Georgia; Bending Branches; Murphs Surf; Len Foote Hike Inn; Euharlee Creek Outfitters;  RS Industrial; and Friends of Georgia State Parks. Partners include American Canoe Association, Café Campesino, Coosa River Basin Initiative, Upper Etowah River Alliance, Georgia Canoe Association, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream and Project WET.

Georgia River Network is a non-profit 501c3 organization working to ensure a clean water legacy by engaging and empowering Georgians to protect and restore our rivers from the mountains to the coast.