Paddle Georgia

Paddle Georgia 2019 featured 92 miles of the Withlacoochee and Suwannee rivers in far south Georgia and north Florida.

As paddlers begin a 100-mile trek on the Flint River on Sunday, they’ll also be 360-degree digitally mapping the route — think Google’s street view but on the water.

The Georgia River Network’s Paddle Georgia will be taking 34 people on a 100-mile, seven-day journey along the Flint River from near Cordele to Bainbridge.

The map of the paddle will then be uploaded to www.earthviews.com.

The map has several uses.

“For people interested in paddling it gives them an opportunity to take a look and decide for themselves if they want to paddle that area,” Paddle Georgia’s Coordinator Joe Cook said. “For me as I’m documenting rivers and writing about rivers, it’s a big help.”

Cook has written several guidebooks for regional rivers — including the Flint, Etowah, Chattahoochee and Oconee.

As for already existing river maps, there are a few in Georgia. Visiting the site you can take virtual paddles along Chickamauga Creek in northwest Georgia, or the Tallapoosa River or Ocmulgee River and Ohoopee River even further south.

The paddle usually has several hundred participants but this year they decided to keep it a smaller, more personal affair. This is just one of many trips planned including a bike-paddle event scheduled for August 21.

“We’ve expanded our paddle trip program partly because the pandemic has forced us to limit the size of our groups, but also to meet the demand,” GRN Executive Director Rena Peck said. “Right now, Georgians are primed to explore the state’s water trails.”

The smaller group also allows the paddlers to camp on the river’s side during the trip.

The group will camp at multiple locations, including Red Oak Plantation in Worth County, Chehaw Park in Albany, Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat in Newton and Covey Rise Plantation near Camilla.

“The Flint’s on-river camping facilities like Rocky Bend and Chehaw Park are the reason we chose the Flint for this journey,” Cook said. “With paddle sports booming, we need more facilities like these along our rivers at other places around the state.”

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