Category Archives: Blueway

Floyd’s Island, Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee River 2020-11-07

A little rain didn’t stop us on a fun two nights of camping and two days of paddling to and from Floyd’s Island in the Okefenokee NWR. Yes, the dozen of us saw gators, cormorants, and herons on the Suwannee River, the tree canopy over the run to Floyd’s Island, and deer on the island.

Thanks to Bobby McKenzie for leading this expedition, and to Shirley Kokidko for provoking it.

[banners, river, gator, canopy, island, deer]
banners, river, gator, canopy, island, deer

Also we saw Georgia River Network’s thirty paddlers coming in Sunday as we were going out, but my camera had run down by then. Here’s a picture of GRN E.D. Rena Ann Peck on the Friday before, in Moniac, GA.

Here are more pictures, also on the WWALS website.

Many paddlers posted pictures on facebook. Continue reading

Pictures: Ichetucknee, Santa Fe Rivers 2020-01-20

The manatee swam under my boat; I was sitting still. This was on the Ichetucknee River, just above the Santa Fe River. Shirley Kokidko led us on the Redo: Ichetucknee and Sante Fe River Paddle 2020-01-20.

We’re going again January 2, 2021.

[Manatee under boat, 14:07:12, 29.9327060, -82.8000880]
Manatee under boat, 14:07:12, 29.9327060, -82.8000880

This is just a small selection of pictures. There are more here:
https://wwals.net/pictures/2020-01-20–ichetucknee-santa-fe-pictures

Click on any small picture to see a larger one. Continue reading

Troupville to Spook Bridge, Mayor’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-06

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, November 12, 2020 — Join the Mayor of Valdosta and a hundred of his closest friends for a leisurely paddle on the Withlacoochee River. Mayor Scott James says, “Over a year removed from a terrible spill into our area waterways, and right at a year of massive improvements to our infrastructure since our last ‘Mayors Paddle,’ I am again looking forward to fellowship on the river February 6.”

All elected officials present will have three minutes to speak. And you can paddle up to them and ask questions.

WWALS President Tom H. Johnson Jr. said, “This stretch of river extends from the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin past some suburbs and many rural woods. It is important for all the upstream city and county wastewater treatment plants to keep a grip on their sewage, because many people depend on the Withlacoochee River for swimming, fishing, and boating, plus water wells nearby may be affected by anything that goes into the river. It’s a joy that publicly elected officials are involved in this activity, and that the Mayor is helping organize it.”

It was fun last year, so let’s do it again! There is plenty of room to stay six feet apart, at Troupville Boat Ramp, the lunch stop, and at Spook Bridge, and of course on the water. We are still working out how the shuttle will work.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman said, “Thanks again to The Langdale Company for riverside access at the mid-way lunch stop, and at the Spook Bridge takeout.”

[Pictures from last year]
Pictures from last year, 2020-01-18.

Attractions include Valdosta’s famous Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Outfall, which has not spilled since December 2019. Yes, we know some people in the Valdosta city government consider that not a spill, since the raw sewage never actually got into the WWTP. We hope Valdosta’s new catch basin prevents that. Most of the route is downstream from GA 133, where Valdosta has frequently gotten high E. coli results from nobody yet knows what source. The entire route is upstream of Okapilco Creek, which sometimes carries cattle manure runoff after big rains. We will once again test the water quality from the river.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, February 6, 2021

Put In: Troupville Boat Ramp, 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602: on GA 133 off I-75 exit 18. in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.851842, -83.346536

Take Out: Spook Bridge, west from Valdosta on US 84, left onto Ousley Road, right onto Old Quitman Highway, stop at the gate.
Thanks to The Langdale Company for access through their private property to Spook Bridge for this outing and for water quality testing.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net/donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup

[Troupville Boat Ramp (upper right) to Spook Bridge (lower left)]
Troupville Boat Ramp (upper right) to Spook Bridge (lower left) in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

Continue reading

New Year Ichetucknee to Santa Fe River Paddle 2021-01-02

First paddle of 2021, from Ichetucknee to Santa Fe Rivers.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park tells us no Ichy Nippy Dip Day for 2021, due to the virus pandemic, but the North Entrance will be open. So see you there, but keep your distance. Then WWALS will paddle downstream. We will also paddle past the notorious Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline.

When: Gather 9:00 AM, Launch 10:30 AM, End 4:00 PM, Saturday, January 4, 2020

Put In: Ichetucknee S.P. North Entrance, 8294 SW Elim Church Rd, Fort White, FL 32038.

GPS: 29.9859, -82.7602

Take Out: Hwy 129 Boat Ramp, William Guy Lemmons Memorial Park Ramp @ 296th St. Ramp, From Branford, travel east on US 27; turn right on US 129; travel south to 296th Street; turn right and William Guy Lemons Memorial Park is on the left, in Suwannee County. 29.912717, -82.860514

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

NOTE: The Ichetucknee is a non-disposable river; do not have any food or drinks in disposable packaging. All liquids and foods should be in reusable type containers. This helps keep litter out of our rivers.

Free: Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay at the event or online.
https://wwals.net/donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Fee: There is a $5.00 park fee.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Start]
Start, 2020-01-20.

Continue reading

Winners: WWALS Boomerang 2020-10-24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, October 29, 2020 — Everybody had a good time on a fine sunny day with the water just right. We had a few more paddlers than last year, and more vendors and sponsors, so WWALS Boomerang 2020 was a rousing success!

[WWALS Boomerang 2020]
WWALS Boomerang 2020

“The winner drove up from Tallahassee: Jackson Buttery, who finished the six-mile round trip in one hour sixteen minutes and 42 seconds. He got the $100 cash First Prize.” said Bobby McKenzie, the WWALS Boomerang mastermind.

[Jackson Buttery winning and with First Prize]
Jackson Buttery winning and with First Prize

Of the racers, 10 were male and 12 were female, in 16 boats, of which 6 were tandem kayaks and 10 were solo kayaks.

[And they're off]
And they’re off

The four McKenzies in one canoe (Bobby Mckenzie and his 2 young sons and 1 daughter, all from Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, in the Alapaha River watershed) did register, although they did not race, so that’s 13 male and 13 female paddlers, for 26 in all, in 17 boats.

“I would say considering the Coronavirus and the other metrics listed, the Boomerang had a stronger showing this year than last. Plus the vendors have grown and we had a fourth outfitter join us at the ramp, Madison Outdoor Adventures, along with Banks Lake Outdoors, NWXpeditions, and VSU Core. We also got more sponsors this year, adding Olympia Bend and Life Outdoors and SBMS CrossFit.”

Other winners included first, second, and third for various distances, classes (solo or tandem) and genders, as well as for upside down, backwards, and last: Continue reading

Lunch and drive by mine site near Okefenokee Swamp 2020-11-06

Since there are two weekend outings in the Okefenokee Swamp 7-8 November 2020, I suggested some paddlers may also want to drive by the proposed titanium mine site southeast of the Swamp. Kim Bednarek, Executive Director of Okefenokee Swamp Park, suggested we meet first at Lacy’s Kountry Store in Moniac, for lunch, talks, and discussion. She and Rena Ann Peck, Executive Director of Georgia River Network, will say a few words. Also saying a few words will be either Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman or WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. Possibly we will have another speaker.

[Moniac marked by green ellipse]
Moniac marked by green ellipse on the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail and the Okefenokee Swamp.

No doubt everybody will have plenty to discuss, considering the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers just abdicated oversight of streams near the mine site and Twin Pines Minerals says it will plow ahead yet TPM still needs five Georgia permits.

This is just a small, informal, side trip. We will only be able to see the mine site from the public highway. Yes, I did ask TPM if they would hold a tour for us, but they said they were only allowing employees and contractors on their site.

When: Noon, Friday, 6 November 2020.
Please come early so we can start at noon.

Where: Lacy’s Kountry Store, 389 GA-94, St George, GA 31562.
They have a wide selection of foods you can order.

GPS: 30.518918, -82.224829

Event: facebook

May I also recommend you read this book: Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land, by Janisse Ray. Continue reading

Silent auction online for WWALS Boomerang paddle race

You don’t have to wait for Saturday and the WWALS Boomerang to bid in the online slient auction:
https://www.betterunite.com/WWALS-wwalsboomerang2020

You can bid on paintings by Julie Bowland, a day trip by NWXpeditions, a Life Outdoors archery package, a one month SBMS Crossfit membership, kayak racks, cake, bowl, pump, and more!

[Silent Auction]
WWALS Boomerang 2020 Silent Auction

You can even buy a $30 ticket to the Boomerang through the silent auction link.

Everything about WWALS Boomerang 2020 is here:
wwals.net/pictures/2020-10-24–boomerang

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

This Saturday, with more sponsors and higher water: WWALS Boomerang paddle race into Florida and back to Georgia 2020-10-24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, GA, September 4, 2020 — The water’s up, and we’ve added sponsors at State Line Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River 9 AM this Saturday, October 24, 2020. For the WWALS Boomerang paddle race you can choose 1, 2, or 3 miles downstream into Florida, and then back up. There will be food, drink, prizes, and an online silent auction.

[WWALS Boomerang 2020]
WWALS Boomerang 2020
PDF

Tickets are on sale now, $30 online or at the event.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wwals-boomerang-paddle-race-2020-tickets-118844038719

Boomerang mastermind Bobby McKenzie says, “There is plenty of room for distancing at the boat ramp, and even more room on the water. We will have someone at the one big shoals to direct you.”

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman said, “Thanks to Bobby for getting Olympia Bend Shooting Range as a sponsor! There’s no need to be shooting up our water trail signs. And let’s not forget Life Outdoors, who are supplying two archery packages in the online auction, along SBMS Crossfit, NWXpeditions, and others.”
https://www.betterunite.com/WWALS-wwalsboomerang2020

Bobby McKenzie added, “With Madison Outpost Adventures we now have four outfitter sponsors, adding to VSU CORE, NWXpeditions, and Banks Lake Outdoors. Thanks to Carter & Sons for cooking barbecue that WWALS will serve for purchase. Drinks will be available from Kona Ice, and we will have water dispensers. In addition to the $100 First Prize, each of the many winners will get a Boomerang tumbler!”

Canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards are welcome to register starting at 9 AM, Saturday, October 24, 2020, with the race to begin at 11 AM.

Come early if you want to help clean up at the boat ramp. We’ll give you a spiffy Georgia Rivers Alive bandana facemask.

[Open containers of alcohol prohibited]
Open containers of alcohol prohibited

State Line Boat Ramp is at 6461 Madison Highway, Valdosta, GA 31601. If online maps misdirect you, try 6600 Madison Highway. You may also know it as Mozell Spells, or Madison Highway Boat Ramp; it’s at Horn Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, just north of the GA-FL line on Madison Highway, also known as GA 31 and Madison County CR 150.

Heading south down I-75, take Exit 11, turn west, and keep going until you see the boat ramp sign, then turn right. From Madison, Florida, head up CR 150 until you cross the river, make a U-turn, and head down to the ramp.

Everything about WWALS Boomerang 2020 is here:
wwals.net/pictures/2020-10-24–boomerang Continue reading

Suwannee paddle for Visit Suwannee County + FL 6 & State Line 2020-10-16

The movie extras took a side trip up Sugar Creek on a 1.5 mile paddle down the Suwannee River from Suwannee Springs, after the old 93rd Drive bridge, pursued by the Suwannee County Sheriff, to the Suwannee Canoe Outpost at the Music Park.

[Sheriff, Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Gretchen]
Sheriff, Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Gretchen, departing Suwannee Springs beach

Thanks to Charissa Setzer of Visit Suwannee County, Florida for the invitation for paddlers to be videoed for a tourism advertisement.

Thanks to Bret Miller of NWXpeditions and Mylinda Greene for the mini-distanced-shuttle. Thanks to Dawn and Lisa of Madison Outpost Adventures for joining us, along with Steven E. Scott of Luxury Lawns, Gretchen Quarterman, and John S. Quarterman.

NWX and MOA along with VSU CORE are outfitter sponsors of the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back, coming up next Saturday, October 24, 2020, at State Line Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River.

[Third Annual WWALS Boomerang]
Third Annual WWALS Boomerang

Thanks to Steve of Suwannee Canoe Outpost for the take-out hospitality.

Also thanks to the Sheriff’s deputy for helping carry my boat up at Suwannee Canoe Outpost.

See also facebook pictures by

All us paddlers are now officially models, since we each signed a model release.

Suwannee Springs

Click on any small picture to see a larger one. Continue reading

WWALS Solstice Light Parade 2020-12-19

Deck your canoe, kayak, jon boat and the like with lights and we’ll do a short excursion out on the lake and bring it back in for fanfare and judging for this end of the year fundraising event. We will have monetary prizes for 1, 2, and 3rd places. We have a 3:00 PM start time to help with onsite boat decorations.

Marking the winter solstice and the ending of 2020 with a decorated evening lighted boat parade and contest with hot chocolate and cookies. Second annual of the first event of its kind in this area.

Please go all out with lights for your boat (glow sticks work well, or head lamp, flashlight, etc.) so other boaters can see you in the dark, and it’s a light parade! It will be very dark after sunset, with no moon, so everyone will see your lighted boats parading.

[Light Parade 2020]
Light Parade 2020
PDF

Prizes! $100 First Prize, $50 Second Prize, $50 Third Prize.

Tickets are $10 for each person entering (yes, even for WWALS members; it’s a fundraiser).
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wwals-solstice-light-parade-tickets-124630460061
We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

When: Gather 3:00 PM, launch 5:15 PM, end 7:00 PM,
Saturday, December 19, 2020

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635

GPS 31.034824, -83.096725

ARWT: Banks Lake is part of the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT).

Take Out: Banks Lake Boat Ramp

Bring: Continue reading