The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper has dropped the “upper” from its name and is refocusing its efforts downstream of Atlanta, its executive director said Monday.
“It’s been a dream for us to expand downstream,” Sally Bethea told a group gathered for lunch at the Riverkeeper’s LaGrange office.
Although great strides have been made to clean up the Chattahoochee River since the organization formed – and sued Atlanta to get the metro area to clean up its sewers – Bethea said the “mission and challenge” of the riverkeeper was huge.
“When we started, the stretch of the river from Atlanta to West Point was considered a drainage ditch that couldn’t be fixed,” she said.
Now, the river is clean and land owners are investing millions in developing alongside it, she said.
“People see the river as they should,” she said. “It’s an asset. We’re changing a mindset. It’s not just between drinking water for Atlanta and mussels in Florida.”
Bethea urged river watchers here to lobby their state representatives on water issues and use her office to help lobby for changes that would benefit West Point Lake.
“We can turn these things around,” she said.
To help mark the first anniversary of the opening of the LaGrange office, two area events are planned. “Camping for a Cause” will be Sept. 28-30 on West Point Lake. Campsites are being donated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the event will include roasting s’mores, watching movies and football games on the lake. Admission is $25 for adults and $15 for children and reservations can be made at email@example.com.
The Riverkeeper also is hosting a Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Oct. 4. A $15 charge includes a movie ticket, admission to the reception prior to the movie and a one-year riverkeeper membership. Otherwise, tickets are $8 general admission and $3 for students. The reception is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 35 S. Lafayette Square, the film is at 7 p.m. st Carmike Cinema.