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Paddle Georgia 2013 coming to Bainbridge

Published 3:32pm Friday, June 7, 2013

More than 350 paddlers will traverse some 106 miles of the lower Flint River from Warwick to Bainbridge on a week-long canoe/kayak adventure June 15-21, as part of Paddle Georgia 2013.

The week-long journey is organized by Georgia River Network (GRN). Approximately 40 paddlers will also participate in the weekend-only version, Paddle Georgia Lite.

This year’s Paddle Georgia trip sold out in only 24 hours and participants range in age from four to 84 from across the country and the world.

Paddle Georgia 2013 will show paddlers the Flint River in southwest Georgia. Fed by clear, cold springs bubbling up from the Floridan Aquifer, the lower Flint flows 106 beautiful miles from Lake Blackshear Dam near Warwick, through Albany and on to Bainbridge and the backwaters of Lake Seminole. Along the way, paddlers will coast beneath ancient limestone bluffs, cool off in “blue hole” springs and get a chance to see alligators, otters, bald eagles and a host of other wildlife.

The event includes educational programs on the river’s cultural and natural history, tours of facilities and historic sites located along the river, nightly games and entertainment, and even a research program in which participants will help collect chemical and biological data to give a snapshot of the river’s current health in conjunction with the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream program.

On the river by day, the participants will camp at night at nearby facilities such as local high schools. For additional fees, hot breakfasts and dinners are provided, along with sack lunches. The paddlers will call Albany, Camilla, and Bainbridge home for the week, camping at the Parks at Chehaw June 14-17, at Mitchell County High School June 18-19, at Bainbridge High School June 20, and at the Earle May Boat Basin and Cheney Griffin Park on June 21.

The trip culminates June 21 with a celebration and feast at Earle May Boat Basin and Cheney Griffin Park in Bainbridge. Members of the community are invited to attend the event, which includes a fish fry. The celebration runs from 2-8 p.m., with dinner to be served at 6 p.m.. Tickets ($15) are available at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6772090505/efblike#.

This is the ninth year for Paddle Georgia. In the first eight years, organizers guided more than 2400 paddlers on more than 800 miles of Georgia rivers, generating more than $140,000 for river protection in Georgia.

A portion of the proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the Flint Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization working to protect the Flint River from its headwaters near Atlanta to its confluence with the Chattahoochee River in southwest Georgia.

More information can be found on the Paddle Georgia website: http://www.garivers.org/paddle_georgia/2013/pgmediainfo2013.htm.

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