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Party on the Chattahoochee

Riverkeepers have a splashing good time

WEST POINT – When kayakers heard banjo music, they did indeed paddle faster on Saturday to get to the celebration at the end of the sunset paddle hosted by the Chattahoochee Valley Riverkeepers as part of the Chattahoochee Valley River Revival in West Point.

The riverside park was crowded with recently returned paddlers, and other locals after the paddle trip who gathered to listen to some music and enjoy a scenic view of the river.

“There are very few towns that have a park on the bank of the Chattahoochee River, and have access with boat ramps and have a city that is encouraging getting out and kayaking, and so by helping encourage and inviting folks to join us, we are also hoping that people will become more involved and aware of the river as something to protect and enjoy at the same time, but then also respect,” said Riverkeepers Outreach Manager Henry Jacobs. “… Another reason for this was to invite people who may never have kayaked before to come try it with a group of people. We had volunteers and Riverkeeper staff on the water helping kind of guide. If anybody needed assistance, they were there.

Even those without kayaks were able to participate thanks to the recently opened GLL Outdoors beside the downtown West Point boat ramp where the fire station was formerly located. The business both sells and rents kayaks along with other supplies that are often requested near the river, like fishing gear.

“It certainly has a positive impact on our business because a clean river is something that people want to use and enjoy, so keeping it clean makes it fun,” said Matt Headrick, the owner of GLL Outdoors.

The section of the Chattahoochee where the paddling trip took place and where GLL regularly gives kayakers rides is known as an easy section of the river for families with little to no rapids and no way to get lost making it perfect for less experienced kayakers and the fishing tournaments put on by GLL.

All this fun on the river works hand in hand with the Riverkeeper goal of letting people enjoy the river, so that they can see it as something worth protecting.

“I’m just extremely happy to have a turnout like this and have the weather be so good and just to have some new members in the area who didn’t know what we were doing,” said Laura Breyfogle of the Chattahoochee Riverkeepers.

To learn more about the Chattahoochee Riverkeepers and their upcoming events visit chattahoochee.org or visit their office on LaFayette Square in LaGrange.