Tallulah, Georgia, US
4 - Middle - Old Hwy 441 to Tallulah Falls Lake (Mathis By-Pass)
||II-III (for normal flows)
Middle TallulahPhoto of Kevin Miller by Will Reeves
20th, 2002 a group of 11 boaters from the Atlanta Whitewater Club and the Georgia Canoe Association
paddled a seldom run strech of the Tallulah river upstream of North Georgia's now famous Tallulah
Gorge. Like the Gorge, this stretch is typically dewatered by an upstream dam and diversion tunnel.
Only when strong rains bring up a large tributary is this section runnable.
In the fall of 2001 a group of Georgia boaters hiked the bypass reach, known as the Mathis Reach,
with American Whitewater staff and volunteers. The group decided that with water, the section had
potential as a beginner/intermediate paddling resource. Later that evening, American Whitewater met
with Georgia Power and Georgia DNR and discussed the possibility of conducting a flow study on the
Mathis Reach as part of the mandated review process for the Tallulah hydro license. Georgia power
stated that there was no physical structure in the dam to provide releases so a flow study was
impossible. We were still interested in studying the reach, since releases structures can be added
at dams through relicensing.
It was decided that the most cost-effective and reasonable way to proceed was to offer to try to do
a feasibility study with the limited natural flow from a tributary. It was agreed, and we contacted
the boaters from the hike requesting that they attempt a descent this winter and document their
experience with photos and a written report. On January 20th, after a heavy rain, they followed
through on their promise.
Their descent was a low water one, but gave them an idea of what the run is like. They described
the first couple miles, from the dam to the first 441 bridge as "completely flat, and probably not
worth doing, even with alot of water." The next section, between the two 441 bridges, was more fun
with a couple of small Class II slides and shoals and a decent surfing wave. Between the second 441
bridge and the lake was a 1/2 mile section of Class III whitewater that provided some enjoyable
challenge for the group.
The final recommendations from the group will be integrated with the rest of the information that
we have on the Mathis Reach and the Tallulah license. Based on this information, American
Whitewater will decide how to address the dewatering of the Mathis Reach and if it is feasible and
reasonable to request releases in this reach.
We would like to extend a big thank you to all of the grassroots feasibility study
todd shollenberger (organizer extraordinaire)
john hudgens - oc-1
debra berry - oc-1
This run is completely roadside, along what is called "Old 441" near the
Tallulah Gorge. Driving north on US 441, cross the dam and look for a left across from the entrance
to the Interpretative Center. Drive along this road and put in wherever you please, noting that the
most action on this run occurs toward the very end of this run nearing the lake. Be wary around the
RV park, though. The owner is NOT very supportive of whitewater boating on this reach.
StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2005-01-11 22:01:35