ATHENS — With the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting the way Georgians work and play and the demand for close-to-home outdoor adventures soaring, Georgia River Network, Georgia’s leading river advocacy organization, has opened registration for a series of six “COVID-safe” cycling and paddling events.
“One of the stumbling blocks for group canoe and kayak trips during the pandemic is putting people together in shuttle buses, vans and vehicles,” Joe Cook, GRN’s Paddle Georgia coordinator, said. “On these trips, we avoid those shuttles by having everyone bicycle from the river take-out site to our launch site. We shuttle bicycles instead of people.”
The organization’s first Pedal-Paddle adventure is set for April 24 on the Tallapoosa River near the city of Tallapoosa. Other adventures are planned for the Ocmulgee River near Abbeville (May 8), South Chickamauga Creek in Ringgold (May 15), the Chattahoochee River near Franklin (July 24), the Oostanaula River near Rome (Aug. 21) and the Oconee River near Athens (Sept. 11).
Registration fees are $60 for adults and $30 for youths 17 and under. The fees include bicycle shuttle service and sag vehicle, maps and guides, on-river guide services and liability insurance fees. Kayak rentals are available for additional fees. More information is available at garivers.org/grn-events.
The trips are limited to 30 participants, and COVID-19 social-distancing protocols are enforced throughout the event.
“Because of the pandemic, people are really hungry to get outdoors,” Rena Peck, GRN’s executive director, said. “But we’ve got to keep everyone safe and limit the spread of COVID-19. These trips get people on Georgia’s rivers is a safe way.”
Most of the events involve bicycle and paddling routes of about 10 miles each, making for an all-day adventure.
The organization also organizes weekend, canoe/kayak camping trips, and each summer a weeklong adventure known as Paddle Georgia. GRN is a statewide 501(c)(3) organization with the mission of helping everyone enjoy, connect with, and advocate for economically vital and clean flowing rivers.