Paddle Georgia 2017: The 125-mile adventure along Etowah River is under way. Follow their week-long journey to Rome.

Paddle Georgia 2017: The 125-mile adventure along Etowah River is under way. Follow their week-long journey to Rome.

A few of the many participants get ready to head out on the journey early Saturday. (Facebook photo)

The 125-mile week-long canoe/kayak camping adventure Paddle Georgia is underway traveling through the north Georgia mountains to Rome along the Etowah River. The 7-day journey began Saturday near Dawsonville and will wrap Friday in downtown Rome.

The annual event, organized by Georgia River Network, is billed as an environmental education adventure for the whole family, is designed to connect people with Georgia’s rivers. In addition to paddling about 17 miles each day, participants will learn about the river through nightly programs about the river’s ecology and cultural history and special tours of historic sites and industrial facilities.

“This will be the 13th Paddle Georgia event since 2005, and we’ve found that north Georgia rivers that flow through metro Atlanta are among our most popular trips,” said Joe Cook, Paddle Georgia coordinator. “Aside from that, the Etowah is arguably the best family paddling river in the state. It’s a beautiful river, rich in history and though there are small shoals and rapids, it’s a great river for novice paddlers.”

Joe Cook will be joining us on Hometown Headlines Radio Edition every day this week at 7:20 a.m. with an update on the journey. Tune in to WRGA 98.7 FM or online at

The route will take paddlers through Dawson, Forsyth and Cherokee counties before bypassing Lake Allatoona. The final three days of the trip will take paddlers through Bartow and Floyd counties and will include a stop at the Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site. You can following their journey via the Paddle Georgia blog or Facebook

It also serves as a fundraiser for Georgia River Network and local watershed groups working to protect the river. Since the inaugural Paddle Georgia in 2005, GRN has introduced more than 4,000 paddlers to more than 1200 miles of water trails on 13 Georgia rivers. Along the way the event has generated more than $400,000 for river protection. Coosa River Basin Initiative based in Rome and Upper Etowah River Alliance based in Canton will be the local groups benefiting from this year’s event.



The public is invited to participate in two Paddle Georgia events this week: Thursday, June 22, CRBI and the City of Cartersville are hosting the 300-plus paddlers for a street party and Canoe Tug-O-War competition by the Depot in Cartersville. The free street party begins at 6 p.m. and will feature a DJ, dancing, canoe and kayak test rides and canoe tug-o-war competitions. Event sponsor Cedar Creek Park & Outdoor Center will set up its mammoth portable pool in downtown. Canoe and kayak test rides will begin at 6 p.m. followed by tug-o-wars at 7 p.m. Registration is $25 per four-person team.

Then on Friday, June 23, Paddle Georgia will complete their 100-mile, 7-day journey in downtown Rome. There will be a fish fry celebration at Heritage Park at 6 p.m. Paddles will be arriving between 1-5 p.m. at the boat ramp. Tickets for the meal at $15 and include a feast of fried catfish, hushpuppies, cole slaw and cheese grits. All proceeds benefitting CRBI’s river protection projects.  Registration
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