Category Archives: Outing

News coverage, Mayor’s Paddle, and Task Force meeting Thursday in Lake City

People from Brooks County, Lowndes County, Valdosta, Madison County, and SRWMD paddled with new Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson down the Withlacoochee River. For the first time, we got not one but two reporters in a boat. The media got most of the point of that stretch at least was cleaner, the Withlacoochee is well worth protecting, and there is much more to be done. The Florida counties Task Force about Valdosta wastewater meets tomorrow, Thursday, at 4PM in Lake City; its Chair, Rick Davis of Madison County, paddled and was quoted in news stories.

Photo: Robin Postell, Valdosta Today, of Valdosta Mayor Scott James and Florida Task Force Chair Rick Davis on the Withlacoochee River with WWALS
Photo: Robin Postell, Valdosta Today, of Valdosta Mayor Scott James and Florida Task Force Chair Rick Davis on the Withlacoochee River with WWALS.

Good and rather extensive coverage of the Mayor’s Paddle WWALS organized Saturday, January 18, 2020, is linked into the WWALS Valdosta Spills web page (scroll down), and the WWALS News web page. Here are some highlights. Continue reading

Water quality permitting, paddle with Mayor of Valdosta this Saturday 2020-01-18

Update 2020-01-17: Mostly clean in Georgia, not in Florida, Withlacoochee River 2020-01-15

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, January 13, 2020 — Water quality tests since last Wednesday are looking good for the Withlacoochee River in Georgia, and if those continue this Monday and Wednesday, it will be all clear to paddle with the new Mayor of Valdosta, Scott James, this Saturday, January 18, 2020. “We’ll paddle by the site of the projected Troupville River Camp, supported by Valdosta and Lowndes County, Georgia, and Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “We’ll also pass the outflow from Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), which did not spill, although it is in a stretch of the river that was contaminated by Valdosta’s December 2019 record raw sewage spill.”

[Movie: WWTP Outfall, 11:23:17, 30.83622, -83.35924 (15M)]
WWTP Outfall, 2019-06-15 30.8362200, -83.3592400

Mayor Scott James was quoted in Valdosta Today:

“The paddle was requested by me and John was gracious enough to organize it and call it the ‘Mayor’s Paddle.’ It is to show my commitment to zero tolerance for future spills and to show my love for our natural resources.”

“The only way to dispell the stigma of sewage spills that affects the entire Suwannee River Basin, is frequent, regular, water quality sampling with published results,” added Quarterman. “The dozen-county Florida Rivers Task Force to deal with Valdosta sewage wants to promote cross-state-line eco-tourism. We should all be marketing our rivers. We are, with this paddle, and with Troupville River Camp. But we need a solid foundation of testing so we can say when the rivers are clean, and the few (we hope) times when they are not.”

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc., parent organization of Suwannee Riverkeeper, will be collecting water quality samples this Wednesday at numerous points on the Withlacoochee River to have current results before the paddle. Lowndes County (which has its own sewer system, that did not spill) is sampling weekly. The Florida Department of Enviromental Protection (FDEP) and the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) are sampling downstream, and SRWMD has even sampled some sites well into Georgia. WWALS is publishing all this data, along with what data Valdosta has supplied in response to open records requests, online:
http://wwals.net/issues/vww/valdosta-spills/#vldrecord2019

On the paddle, WWALS will be sampling above and below the WWTP outfall and at other locations along the route.

Meanwhile, the recent rains have provided plenty of water in the river, several feet more than when we paddled the same route with 300 people in Paddle Georgia in June 2019, so we should have smooth sailing!

How To Paddle with the Mayor

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Redo: Ichetucknee and Sante Fe River Paddle 2020-01-20

Leisurely paddle on the newest river additions to WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper, round 2. It was such a great time, we had to do it again, on the Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers. We will also paddle past the notorious Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10:30 AM, Saturday, January 4, 2020

Put In: Ichetucknee S.P. North Entrance, 8294 SW Elim Church Rd, Fort White, FL 32038.

GPS: 29.9859, -82.7602

Take Out: Hwy 129 Boat Ramp, William Guy Lemmons Memorial Park Ramp @ 296th St. Ramp, From Branford, travel east on US 27; turn right on US 129; travel south to 296th Street; turn right and William Guy Lemons Memorial Park is on the left, in Suwannee County. 29.912717, -82.860514

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

NOTE: The Ichetucknee is a non-disposable river; do not have any food or drinks in disposable packaging. All liquids and foods should be in reusable type containers. This helps keep litter out of our rivers.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Fee: There is a $5.00 park fee.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Boards and boats]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Boards and boats, 2020-01-04.

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Banks Lake Full Wolf Moon Paddle, 2020-01-10

Leisurely sunset paddle and watch the full moon rise over the lake.

When: Gather 4:30 PM, launch 5 PM, Friday, January 10, 2020

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County.

GPS: 31.035097, -83.097045

Take Out: Banks Lake Boat Ramp

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

[Boat light, double moon, 18:30:47, 31.0273566, -83.1061174]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Banks Lake, Boat light, double moon, 18:30:47, 31.0273566, -83.1061174, 2018-12-22.

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Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River paddle 2020-01-18

Update 2020-01-17: Mostly clean in Georgia, not in Florida, Withlacoochee River 2020-01-15

Update 2020-01-14: Recent water quality test results, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-01-11

Update 2020-01-13: Press release: Water quality permitting, paddle with Mayor of Valdosta this Saturday 2020-01-18 .

A leisurely paddle on the WIthlacoochee River after it tests clean from the recent Valdosta sewage spill. It may help resolve the problem of such spills causing stigma all the way down the rivers to the Gulf, by showing rains do eventually clean the rivers.

[Street map]
Street map: Troupville Boat Ramp upper right; Spook Brige lower left.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, Saturday, January 18, 2020

Put In: Troupville Boat Ramp, 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602: on GA 133 off I-75 exit 18. in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.851842, -83.346536

Take Out: Spook Bridge. Thanks to The Langdale Company for access through their private property to Spook Bridge for this outing and for water quality testing.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We will waive the fee for elected officials. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

This paddle was requested by Continue reading

Pictures: WWALS Light Parade at Banks Lake 2019-12-21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lakeland, Georgia, December 24, 2019 — Five boats participated in the first-ever WWALS Light Parade on Banks Lake, with 30 to 40 viewers on the fishing pier, at the winter solstice, Saturday, December 21, 2019.

[Parade]
Parade

“We had lots of spectators and enjoyed the evening with our S’Mores and hot chocolate!” said Shelby Miller, whose idea this WWALS Light Parade was.

The winners were:

1st place: Bobby McKenzie

[Bobby McKenzie paddling]
Bobby McKenzie paddling

2nd place: Eli Harrell

[Eli Harrell]
Eli Harrell

3rd place: Allison Ray

[Allison Ray and daughters]
Allison Ray and daughters

Bobby McKenzie donated back to WWALS his $50 first prize. Shelby Miller donated the $50 split between the second and third place winners.

[Bobby McKenzie and Eli Harrell]
Bobby McKenzie and Eli Harrell

It was good that Allison’s two daughters paddled as well. The rain did hold off but the wind did not, it was Continue reading

Gear Swap, Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 2020-03-07

Something new: a fun filled day of promoting paddle activities, trying various boat designs. Aiding paddlers with finding a new boat or getting rid of an old one. If the owner permits, you can try out a boat right there in Banks Lake. This should help get everyone ready to kick off a new paddling season in the great Suwannee River Basin.

Many thanks to Lanier County, Banks Lake Outdoors, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their cooperation in this event.

When: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Saturday, March 7, 2020

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County.

GPS: 31.035097, -83.097045

Take Out: Banks Lake Boat Ramp

Bring: yourself. If you have something to swap, bring that. If you want to try out a boat, bring usual personal flotation device, and boat paddles, or there will be loaners. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $5 (five dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Banks Lake Boat Ramp
Banks Lake Boat Ramp, December 22, 2018

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Kayak raffle drawing at Griffis Fish Camp, Suwannee River 2019-12-07

Update 2020-01-01: Gretchen delivered the kayak three days later.

Outings Committee member Shelby Miller, who had not gotten a WWALS kayak raffle ticket, ran to draw the winner as WWALS Board members Dan Phillips and Bobby McKenzie cooked and watched.

[Shelby Miller to draw]
Shelby Miller to draw

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman took tickets from envelopes from various festivals and other events and put them all in a box. Continue reading

Pictures: Nankin to Four Freedoms Trail, Withlacoochee River cleanup and paddle 2019-11-16

A gate, a tire, and bags of trash cleaned up at Nankin Boat Ramp, on the Withlacoochee River, and at Four Freedoms Trail, on our November 16, 2019 Withlacoochee River cleanup and paddle. Plus plenty of shoals, a sunken boat, a creek, McIntyre Spring, cypress knees, and skinned shins, all ending up at the old railroad trestle.

[Three in a row]
Three in a row

Our destination was the old railroad trestle, just past which is the takeout onto the Four Freedoms Trail in Madison County, Florida.

[We made it]
We made it

Parallel trash retrieval missions for a gate and for a tire at Nankin Boat Ramp, under the bridge for Clyattville-Nankin Road. Continue reading

Santa Fe Gilchrist Blue Springs Hopping and Camping 2019-02-01-02 2020-02-01-02

Spring Hopping and overnight camping on the newest addition to the Suwannee Riverkeeper: the Santa Fe River. Includes Ginnie Springs, where Nestlé wants still more water, and you can still comment to SRWMD against Nestlé water withdrawals there and elsewhere.

One night of camping at Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park and two days of spring hopping on the Santa Fe River. We will meet at 10 a.m. at the Santa Fe Public Boat Ramp and drop kayaks and gear. Then we will shuttle to the takeout at Gilchrist County Santa Fe River Park on SR 47. We will explore the many beautiful springs along the river and stop at Gilchrist Blue Springs for overnight camping. State park rates apply. Campers will need to bring all their camping equipment and food in their kayaks. Sunday morning we will pack up and launch at 10 a.m. and continue downstream, exploring more springs along the way to the takeout.

Campers should reserve their sites at ReserveAmerica.com. If you want to share a site, leave a comment below. Eight people and two vehicles are allowed at each site.

Those who don’t want to camp are still welcomed to come for the day paddle for a total of 10 miles.

When: Gather 10 AM, launch 11 AM, Saturday, February 1, 2020
Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, Sunday, Febuary 2, 2020

Put In: River Rise Ramp @ US 27. From High Springs, travel north on US 27 crossing the Santa Fe River and the boat ramp is on the right, in Columbia County.

GPS: 29.844121, -82.6309

Camping: Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park first day.

Take Out: Santa Fe River County Park Ramp @ FL 47. From Ft. White, travel south on SR 47; cross the Santa Fe River and the boat ramp is on the left in the county park in Gilchrist County.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) per day for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Gilghrist Blue Springs
Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park.

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