Flint Paddle preview

A paddler drifts beneath a limestone bluff along the river in Mitchell County during a previous Paddle Georgia Fall Float on the Flint. More than 100 people are expected to participate in Georgia River Network and Flint Riverkeeper's annual sojourn on the river.

This year’s edition of Georgia River Network and Flint Riverkeeper’s Paddle Georgia Fall Float on the Flint canoe/kayak adventure will give participants the opportunity to not only enjoy the beauty of the Flint River but also to taste the bounty that the river helps provide.

The three-day paddle trip from near Baconton to Bainbridge will feature nightly locally-sourced meals paired with locally-produced beer and wine.

Meats from Grady Ranch in Bainbridge and Marview Farms in Arabi will be served during evening meals along with beer from Georgia Beer Company (Valdosta), Pretoria Fields Collective (Albany), Omaha Brewing Company (Omaha) and wine from Five Points Berries Winery (Mauk) and Still Pond Winery (Arlington).

“The Flint River and Floridan aquifer play a critical role in making Southwest Georgia the breadbasket of Georgia,” said Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers. “We have quality farm products and are working toward a highly sustainable agricultural production system here. This event will highlight Georgia-grown products and businesses.”

The event is set for Oct. 4-7, charting a 48-mile course from Baconton to near Bainbridge. The route highlights one of the most scenic sections of the river, featuring lively shoals, limestone bluffs and beautiful blue hole springs. The event begins with a gathering and camp on the evening of Oct. 4 with paddling beginning Oct. 5.

Options for both two and three-day trips are available with registration prices ranging from $120 to $340. The registration fees include catered meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) complimentary beer and wine, camping facilities with showers and restrooms, shuttle services, event t-shirt and more. Online registration is now open at https://garivers.org/fall-float-on-the-flint-river/

In addition to traveling about 16 miles on the river each day, participants will have the opportunity to learn about issues impacting the Flint, take part in water testing programs with Georgia Adopt-A-Stream and learn about the river’s unique fishes and mussels from biologists and scientists. The group will camp for three nights at Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat, a campground located on the river in Newton

The trip is suitable for novice paddlers as well as experienced paddlers. Paddlers range in age from four to 84, with many families participating. In 2018, more than 100 paddlers made the three-day weekend journey.

Fall Float on the Flint is an offshoot of Georgia River Network’s annual seven-day summer voyage that takes place on a different river each year. Since its inception in 2005, GRN’s Paddle Georgia trips have guided more than 5,000 people down 15 different Georgia rivers while raising more than $500,000 for river protection.

Fall Float on the Flint serves as a fundraiser for GRN and Flint Riverkeeper. This marks the sixth anniversary for the annual autumn river sojourn that highlights the ongoing effort to establish the Flint River Water Trail, a recreational boating trail running the length of the river.

“Georgia River Network is working with Flint Riverkeeper, The Conservation Fund and local communities to develop the Flint River Water Trail,” said Rena Stricker, executive director with Georgia River Network. “Along with our Flint River Guide book, the water trail will increase access and safe enjoyment of the Flint, building local ecotourism for rural economic development and a conservation ethic for river preservation.”

Local sponsors of the event include Georgia Beer Company, Pretoria Fields Collective, Omaha Brewing Company, Five Points Berries Winery and Still Pond Winery.

Other Paddle Georgia sponsors include Hennessy Land Rover, Cedar Creek Park and Outdoor Center, CYA Insurance Agency, Oglethorpe Power, Cary S. Baxter & Harbin, LLC; R. Terry Pate CPA, China Clay Producers Association, Georgia Mining Association, Colonial Pipeline, Outside World Outfitters, Brown and Caldwell, Nestle-Purina, Len Foote Hike Inn, The Rain Barrel Depot, Vibe Kayaks, Alston & Bird, Georgia Power Company, Fruit of the Loom, Jerzees, Solar Tyme USA, Patagonia, Ryland Environmental, Chaparral Boats, Maxxis, Stream Techs, Siegel Insurance/Auto Owner’s Insurance, REI, Coca-Cola, Chattahoochee Paddle Company, Georgia Kayak Fishing, Byrd’s Cookies, EarthShare Georgia. Partners include American Canoe Association, Café Campesino, Georgia Canoeing Association, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, Project WET, Six Flags Over Georgia and Odo-Ban.

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. Flint Riverkeeper is a 501c3 organization working to restore and preserve the habitat, water quality and flow of the Flint River for the benefit of current and future generations and dependent wildlife.