Float on the Flint this fall

Last year more than 170 paddlers participated in the inaugural Fall Float on the Flint, and this year organizers are expecting an even bigger crowd to join in the 4-day, 70-mile canoe and kayak journey on the Flint River from Albany to Bainbridge.

Georgia River Network (GRN) and Flint Riverkeeper, river advocacy organizations that will jointly produce the event set for Oct. 9-12, say that the Flint “wowed” last year’s participants and expect even more interest this year.

“The Flint River from Albany to Bainbridge is a treasure,” said event coordinator Joe Cook. “It’s got a rapids, blue-hole springs, abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery. It is fast becoming a favored paddling destination.”

The event begins at the Flint River Hydro Dam in Albany and ends in the backwaters of Lake Seminole near Bainbridge. Paddlers will camp at Chehaw Park in Albany two nights and on the river for two nights at Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat in Newton. Catered meals and educational programs about the river will be served up each evening.

“This is an opportunity for people to not only enjoy the beauty of the Flint, but to understand issues impacting our river and all of the state’s rivers,” said Flint Riverkeeper’s Gordon Rogers. “It’s an educational adventure.”

Registration opened July 1 and spaces are going fast. Registration fees are $220 for adults, $175 for children 8-17 and $35 for children 7 and younger. Spaces will be awarded on a “first-come, first-serve basis.” Register online at www.garivers.org/paddle_georgia/fallfloat.htm.

The trip is suitable for novice as well as experienced paddlers. Paddlers range in age from four to 84, with many families participating.

GRN, a statewide river advocacy organization, has led large group paddle trips since 2005 when it organized the first Paddle Georgia, a week-long canoe and kayak adventure that takes place on a different Georgia river each year. It initiated Fall Float on the Flint in 2014 because of the growing demand for group paddle trips.

In 11 Paddle Georgia events since 2005, GRN has led more than 3,400 people down more than 1100 miles of Georgia rivers. The events have helped generate about $280,000 for river protection projects.