Georgia River Network announces 2024 Paddle Trip for April 5-7

Jan. 12—ATHENS- Georgia River Network, the state's only statewide organization dedicated to protecting Georgia's rivers, is encouraging everyone to resolve to explore Georgia's rivers in 2024. Registration is already open for one of the organization's first guided trips of the new year, a two-day adventure on the St. Marys River.

The organization's Spring on the St. Marys event is set for April 5-7 and kicks off a year of river journeys and kayaking skills classes hosted by the Athens-based river advocacy group.

Registration fees range from $120 to $375 with discounts for families or groups with more than one child and special rates for young adults age 18-30. Rental boats are available for additional fees.

Spring on the St. Marys includes two days of paddling and a total of 18 miles on the St. Marys River with an option for a third day of paddling in the Okefenokee Swamp. Rising out of the 400,000-acre swamp, the blackwater St. Marys flows some 130 miles to the Atlantic Ocean, forming the distinctive "thumb" along the Georgia-Florida border. The river is known for its tea-colored water, snow-white sandbars and wild riverside forests.

In addition to the on-water adventures, the event includes camping at historic Traders Hill Campground near Folkston, catered meals, educational programs highlighting the area's natural and cultural history and opportunities to learn chemical water monitoring through Georgia Adopt-A-Stream.

"This is a great trip for individuals or families that have always dreamed of doing an overnight canoe/kayak trip but weren't quite sure how to go about it," said Paddle Georgia Coordinator, Joe Cook. "We've taken the guesswork out of the logistics of vehicle shuttles, meals and camping, and the flatwater paddling is an easy introduction to canoeing and kayaking for beginning paddlers."

Spring on the St. Marys begins Georgia River Network's 2024 paddle trip schedule that features day trips, weekend camping adventures and Georgia River Network's signature paddling event, Paddle Georgia 2024—a week-long canoe/kayak journey set for June 15-22 on the Altamaha River.

Other planned adventures include day trips: March 16 on the Satilla River, June 1 on the Etowah, July 27 on the Toccoa, Aug. 17 on the Oostanaula and Aug. 24 on the Tugaloo; and two-day weekend camping trips: May 4-5 on the Ocmulgee River, Sept. 6-8 on the Chattahoochee, Oct. 4-6 on the Flint and Nov. 8-10 on the Okefenokee Swamp and Suwannee River.

Registration for the organization's kayaking skills and water safety classes will open in March.

Georgia River Network is a statewide organization working to protect and connect people with Georgia rivers. In 2023, the organization engaged some 900 people in its paddle trips and kayaking skills and water safety classes.

Sponsors of Spring on the St. Marys include Hennessy Land Rover, Southern Gas, RYAM, Baxter & Harbin LLC, Mill Creek Environmental, Siegel Insurance, Fruit of the Loom, Terry Pate CPA, Patagonia, REI, Georgia Power Company, Kayak Classes Georgia, The Canoe House, Southeast Adventure Outfitters, Wildwater, Murphs Surf, Adventure Keen, The Hike Inn and Café Campesino.