Tallulah Gorge (GA)

:projects:tallulah_big.jpg The Tallulah Gorge was the honeymoon capitol of the south at the turn of the century. Large Hotels and thundering waterfalls attracted tourists from around the region. Shortly after the turn of the century however, the river was dammed and became the first totally controlled river in the nation. The water that once flowed through the Gorge was sent through a pipe, turning the waterfalls into dry cliffs. With the river, the tourism dried up.

Then in the early 1990's the license for the dams was approaching expiration and Georgia Power initiated a dam relicensing process. Paddlers like Ron Stewart, Risa Shimoda, Kent Wiggington, and others began working with American Whitewater's fledgling hydro program. Together, the paddlers negotiated a whitewater flow study, and then carried out a first descent of the Gorge. The results were captivating for paddlers, Georgia State Park officials, and many local and regional citizens. The Tallulah was a Classic. After years of meetings, negotiations, and filing legal comments, the new dam license was issued that included three weekends of releases in November and two in April each year.

In 1997 releases began with intense shepherding by American Whitewater, Tallulah Gorge State Park, and Georgia Power. A boardwalk consisting of over 600 stair steps was built to provide river access. While many thought that no one would show up, the 120 person per day permitted limit on visitation was immediately met. Several years later the permits were lifted and use increased to an average of about 250 paddlers each day. Over the years dozens or perhaps hundreds of volunteers managed registration, shuttles, guest services, parking, hiking the med kit in, and building access enhancements. Management and volunteer needs have decreased somewhat as managers have become more comfortable with the use.

Tallulah marks a landmark achievement for American Whitewater and the paddling community. It serves as an example of what is possible if a few paddlers set their minds to something.

Advanced Southeast Releases Set for 2017!

posted January 4, 2017
by Kevin Colburn
article photo 2

It is looking like another great year to be a paddler in the Southeast! Over the past two decades American Whitewater has worked with affiliate clubs and partners to negotiate an awesome array of scheduled releases on river reaches previously dewatered by hydropower dams. Enjoy these incredible opportunities, and be safe out there!

Tallulah (GA) Update On Status Of Dam Repair Work

posted June 9, 2011
by Mark Singleton
article photo 1

American Whitewater and AW lead volunteers that assist with Tallulah releases met with GA Power and the Tallulah Gorge State Park to discuss repairs that are taking place on the dam to repair gates damaged in a heavy rain event back in August of 2010.


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projects - Tallulah Gorge (GA)

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