With the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting the way Georgians work and play and the demand for close-to-home outdoor adventures soaring, Georgia River Network (GRN), Georgia’s leading river advocacy organization, has opened registration for a series of six “COVID-safe” cycling and paddling events.
“One of the stumbling blocks for group canoe and kayak trips during the pandemic is putting people together in shuttle buses, vans and vehicles,” said Joe Cook, GRN’s Paddle Georgia coordinator, “On these trips, we avoid those shuttles by having everyone bicycle from the river takeout site to our launch site. We shuttle bicycles instead of people.”
The organization’s first Pedal-Paddle adventure is set for April 24 on the Tallapoosa River near the city of Tallapoosa. Other adventures are planned for the Ocmulgee River near Abbeville (May 8), South Chickamauga Creek in Ringgold (May 15), the Chattahoochee River near Franklin (July 24), the Oostanaula River near Rome (Aug. 21) and the Oconee River near Athens (Sept. 11).
The trips are limited to 30 participants and COVID-19 social distancing protocols are enforced throughout the event.
“Because of the pandemic, people are really hungry to get outdoors,” said Rena Peck, executive director at GRN. “But we’ve got to keep everyone safe and limit the spread of COVID-19. These trips get people on Georgia’s rivers is a safe way.”
Most of the events involve bicycle and paddling routes of about 10 miles each, making for an all-day adventure.
The organization also organizes weekend, canoe/kayak camping trips and each summer a week-long adventure known as Paddle Georgia. GRN is a statewide 501c3 organization with the mission of helping everyone enjoy, connect with, and advocate for economically vital and clean flowing rivers.