'Pig Paddle & Party' To Raise Funds for Etowah River Boat Ramp

The Coosa River Basin Initiative and a Rome couple are hosting the event, which includes a 6-mile paddle on the river; dinner, beer and wine; and a kayak raffle.

The Coosa River Basin Initiative is gearing up to raise money for what it says is a "much-needed" Etowah River boat ramp and parking area at U.S. Highway 411 near Kingston in Bartow County.

The nonprofit and member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance—its mission to inform and empower citizens to protect, preserve and restore North America’s most biologically diverse river basin—along with Todd and Dale Carroll of Rome are set to host Pig Paddle & Party on May 19 as part of CRBI’s continued efforts to create a 160-mile-long Etowah River Water Trail.

Only seven developed, public boat landings exist along the 163-mile waterway that stretches from north of Dawsonville through Cartersville to Rome, but "a coalition of nonprofit organizations, private landowners and local governments are working to establish additional developed boat landings to improve public access to what many call North Georgia's 'best family paddling destination,'" according to etowahwatertrail.org.

Pig Paddle & Party, a Sunday afternoon event, includes a 6-mile paddle on the Etowah River; a barbecue dinner from Euharlee's Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse; beer from North Georgia Distributing Co. and wine from Cosentino Winery; and a kayak raffle, courtesy of Cedar Creek Park and River City Bank, according to the press release. Dinner will be served at the Carroll’s home overlooking the Etowah.

"Funds generated by the event will support the construction of a new boat launch on the Etowah River at U.S. 411 near Kingston," CRBI officials said in a press release. "CRBI expects to break ground on the river access point later this year.

"The facility will include a parking area and boat ramp and will serve as a critical link in the Etowah River Water Trail. Currently, there are no developed public access points between Euharlee and Rome—a distance of 27 miles."

Existing developed, public Etowah River launch sites in Bartow County, according to etowahwatertrail.org, include:

  • Bartow County and the city of Euharlee's boat ramp and parking area at Hardin Bridge;
  • A launch site at Hardin Bridge on U.S. Highway 411 near Reynolds Bend between Cartersville and Rome, which is accessible via a side road next to the river bridge that parallels U.S. 411 in the area of Macedonia Road.
  • An Allatoona Dam launch site is accessible from Allatoona Dam Road off Red Top Mountain Road and includes a large concrete boat ramp and paved parking area. Toilet facilities are at a nearby day use recreation area. 
  • Closest to Allatoona Dam, Cooper Branch Landing is located a quarter-mile from the dam in the slough to the north. The Corps-operated park includes picnic tables and restrooms.

Pig Paddle & Party's Paddle Trip Suitable for Beginners

Pig Paddle & Party tickets are $75 per person or $130 per couple and include canoe or kayak rental and shuttle services, a one-year CRBI membership, dinner, drinks and a raffle ticket for a chance to win the Cedar Creek Park kayak. Buy tickets at www.coosa.org.

The paddle trip begins at 2 p.m. and will be followed by the barbecue dinner and canoe raffle. The 6-mile trip is suitable for beginners and takes in a beautiful section of the river that includes Native American fish weirs and rock islands and bluffs at Reynolds Bend.

In addition to the Carroll's, members of the host committee include Paul and Janice Carter, John and Ali Freeman, Edward and Rachel Graves, James and Debbie Lossick, Nina Lovel, Mary Lucchese, Joanne Smith, Sara Treadwell, Jean Turner, Tony and Gwen Tuck, and Tracy and Virginia Harman.

The RSVP deadline is Tuesday, May 14. For more information, contact Joe Cook at 706-232-2724 or jcook@coosa.org.

Copies of Etowah River User’s Guide, published by the University of Georgia Press in partnership with Georgia River Network and CRBI, also will be available for purchase. The book is 163-page comprehensive guide to the Etowah River printed on waterproof paper, perfect for on-river use, the release says.

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