ATHENS — This year’s edition of Georgia River Network and Flint Riverkeeper’s Paddle Georgia Fall Float on the Flint canoe/kayak adventure set for October will give participants the opportunity to not only enjoy the beauty of the Flint River but also to taste the bounty the river helps provide.

The three-day paddle trip will feature nightly locally-sourced meals paired with locally-produced beer and wine.

Meats from Grady Ranch in Bainbridge and Marview Farms in Arabi will be served during evening meals, along with beer from Pretoria Fields Collective in Albany, Georgia Beer Company in Valdosta, Omaha Brewing Company in Omaha, and wine from Five Points Berries Winery in Mauk and Still Pond Winery in Arlington.

“The Flint River and Floridan aquifer play a critical role in making southwest Georgia the breadbasket of Georgia,” Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers said. “We have quality farm products and are working toward a highly sustainable agricultural production system here.

“This event will highlight Georgia-grown products and businesses.”

Set for Oct. 4-7, the float will chart a 48-mile course from Baconton to near Bainbridge. The route highlights one of the most scenic sections of the river, featuring lively shoals, limestone bluffs and blue hole springs.

The event begins with a gathering and camp on the evening of Oct. 4 with paddling beginning Oct. 5.

Options for both two- and three-day trips are available with registration prices ranging from $120-$340. Registration fees include catered meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, complimentary beer and wine, camping facilities with showers and restrooms, shuttle services, event T-shirt and more.

In addition to traveling about 16 miles on the river each day, participants will have the opportunity to learn about issues impacting the Flint, take part in water testing programs with Georgia Adopt-A-Stream and learn about the river’s unique fishes and mussels from biologists and scientists. The group will camp for three nights at Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat, a campground located on the river in Newton.

The trip is suitable for novice paddlers as well as experienced paddlers. Paddlers range in age from 4 to 84, with many families participating. In 2018, more than 100 paddlers made the three-day weekend journey.

Fall Float on the Flint is an offshoot of Georgia River Network’s annual seven-day summer voyage that takes place on a different river each year. Since its inception in 2005, GRN’s Paddle Georgia trips have guided more than 5,000 people down 15 different Georgia rivers while raising more than $500,000 for river protection.

Fall Float on the Flint serves as a fundraiser for GRN and Flint Riverkeeper. This marks the sixth anniversary for the annual autumn river sojourn that highlights the ongoing effort to establish the Flint River Water Trail, a recreational boating trail running the length of the river.

“Georgia River Network is working with Flint Riverkeeper, The Conservation Fund and local communities to develop the Flint River Water Trail,” Rena Stricker, executive director with GRN, said. “Along with our Flint River Guidebook, the water trail will increase access and safe enjoyment of the Flint, building local ecotourism for rural economic development and a conservation ethic for river preservation.”

Georgia River Network is a nonprofit organization working to ensure a clean water legacy by engaging and empowering Georgians to protect and restore our rivers from the mountains to the coast. Flint Riverkeeper is a nonprofit working to restore and preserve the habitat, water quality and flow of the Flint for the benefit of current and future generations and dependent wildlife.

Online registration is now open at garivers.org/fall-float-on-the-flint-river.

Those interested in participating can get more information at the Paddle Georgia website at www.garivers.org/paddle-georgia or by contacting Joe Cook at (706) 409-0128 or joe@garivers.org.

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