Paddlers seek to map, gather details on area float tripsPublished 10:35am Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Last Thursday, eight paddlers pushed off from the bank at Horseshoe Bend for a float down to Jay Bird Creek Ramp.
The trip was more than just an afternoon pleasure cruise, however. Shane Harris, with the Tallapoosa County Extension Agency, said that the float was a scouting mission.
“This was sort of a kickoff of an effort to begin to collect information on navigable portions of the Tallapoosa River,” Harris said.
Harris said paddlers will be exploring different portions of the county, focusing on the Tallapoosa River, Enitachopco-Hillabee Creek and Saugahatchee Creek.
“We are gathering information such as access points, take ins and take outs, what water levels are safe, potential campsites and points of interest,” Harris said. “In the long term, we want to produce a map and brochure with information about different float trips that would give people that are not from around here all the information they would need.”
The effort is the first step to adding the Tallapoosa River to the Alabama Scenic River Trail, a 631-mile trail that was recently designated as a National Water Trail.
“This isn’t going to be a one-county project,” Harris said. “We’re reaching out to all the counties along the Tallapoosa River to become the best destination of the Alabama Scenic River Trail.
Jim Felder, executive director of the Alabama Scenic River Trail, said gathering information will help the river system gain recognition.
“Getting information about the Tallapoosa River from local paddlers like Shane Harris and Harold Banks will speed the process of applying for National Water Trail recognition and help us design directional signs for river travel. Plus, there are few places I would rather be working in Alabama.”
Harris said that anyone who is interested in participating in floats or gathering information from the project can contact him at 256-825-1050.
“The Tallapoosa River is a complex waterway – it is like a beautiful, interesting maze,” Harris said. “There is a lot to be done to help the tourists and locals get on this amazing river, and we are happy to have this project underway.”
Harris said you can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We want people to see and explore other parts of the county,” Harris said. “A lot of people spend time on Lake Martin, but if they go upstream they may see a whole other world.”