There is a budding movement to protect Georgia's Etowah and Amicalola rivers by having them designated under the state's Wild and Scenic River legislation. A committee of local citizens called the Etowah Scenic River Committee has been formed to champion the designation. Specifically, the goal of the Committee's current proposal is to protect 6.8 miles of the Etowah and 14.4 miles of one of its major tributaries, the Amicalola. These particular river reaches are on land owned by the State of GA and the City of Atlanta. The Etowah is one of the most biologically diverse rivers in the nation and it is being threatened by suburban sprawl, the possibility of a North Atlanta airport, and the construction of dam. These sections of river are heavily used by canoeists, kayakers, hunters, fisherman, hikers, cyclist, and other outdoor enthusiasts. They feature high quality scenery and class II through class IV whitewater.
An informational meeting is being held on Wednesday, January 12th in Dawson County Georgia for those interested in learning more about the proposed designation and how to help. American Whitewater will be supporting this designation as it will directly benefit the rivers and the people who enjoy them. We will be posting information very soon on how you can help protect the Etowah and Amicalola rivers through writing letters of support to key decision makers. Please consider attending the informational meeting if you are interested, and keep checking back with the AW website for more information. A strong showing by the paddling community at Wednesday night's meeting will help send a strong message of support to the political and agency representatives expected to attend.
Blacks Mill Elementary School, 1860 Dawson Forest Road, Dawson County, GA January 12, 6:30 PM
For more information on the Etowah Scenic River Committee and the meeting, visit their new and improving website: http://www.amicalola.info/ESR/
For more information on paddling the Etowah and Amicalola rivers, check out the AW River Pages:
The following is a Vision Document provided by the Etowah Scenic River Committee that provides some additional background for Wednesday's meeting.
VISION FOR DAWSON COUNTY
There was an article that appeared in the Horizon section of the Atlanta Journal on 10/04/04 regarding a VISION by a board member of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. The board member proposed a high speed rail system culminating near a proposed Regional Airport on the 10,000 acre Dawson Forest, City of Atlanta Tract, southwest of Dawsonville.
WE FEEL THERE ARE OTHER DESIRABLE VISIONS
The future Long Range Vision Statement for Dawson County is being written. Our recommendation to the Dawson County Commissioners is for the vision statement to include a recommendation to the Governor and General Assembly that the Department of Natural Resources conduct a scenic river study. The study would include the 6.8 miles of the Etowah River running from the eastern boundary of the City of Atlanta tract to the Western boundary, where the Etowah River leaves the City of Atlanta tract, and 14.4 miles of the Amicalola River from Lindsey Ford to the junction with the Etowah River. The Amicalola is on State property within the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area. Such a study can be conducted under Georgia Code 12-5-353, -The Georgia Scenic River System. This study should be developed with participation from user groups, as well as state and local agencies and others. The report should show the proposed area and its classification, the characteristics that qualify the river for designation, ownership and other recommendations. There are numerous studies underway such as the Etowah Watershed Assessment that can provide information. We anticipate that volunteer organizations will also provide information. The report should recognize the existing land management direction by the Georgia Forestry Commission and wildlife management direction by the Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. The activities by hunters, hikers, horseback users, campers, boaters, fishermen,
bird watchers, etc. would continue to be enjoyed.
OBJECTIVE OF THE ETOWAH SCENIC RIVER SYSTEM
To recognize a unique river system that has valuable scenic, recreational and natural characteristics that should be preserved and managed for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. There are numerous reports and studies on this river made by the Upper Etowah River Alliance and other organizations that show the true value of the river. The area surrounding these streams is heavily wooded with no human habitation for 21 miles. There are three bridge crossings (see attached map).
PURPOSE OF THE INFORMATION MEETING
1. To provide detailed information about the area being proposed for study.
2. To encourage users and groups to provide oral and written comments about the proposal. Written comments or email should be sent to the Dawson County Commissioners, legislators and other decision-makers. Attached is a map of the proposed scenic river system and a directory of key contacts. A web page will be established for additional information. Please contact a member of the committee if you need any information. We prefer correspondence by email if possible.
ETOWAH SCENIC RIVER COMMITTEE
Bill Hess 706-216-1469
Kurt Krattinger 706-216-4722
Arlene McClure 770-457-7556
Ann Williams 706-216-2307
Dan Centofanti 770-380-1488