Twenty-five people donned life jackets and boarded 11 canoes and two kayaks for a six-mile, four-hour trip on the South River July 21.
Winding through south DeKalb from the Panola Shoals trailhead near Snapfinger Road to Panola Mountain State Park, the trip was sponsored by the South River Watershed Alliance (SRWA) and Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance.
“We want to explore the beauty of the nature and wonders of the ecosystem,” said Maceo Rogers of Decatur, before the trip.
During the river trip species of birds were identified, including Canada geese, mallards, herons, turkey vultures, red-shouldered hawks, belted Kingfishers, Carolina chickadees and white-eyed vireo.
“I’m not sure how many people who live in south DeKalb are familiar with the river and know what it offers,” Rogers said.
Rogers, who has been in DeKalb since 1986, said the trip was his first time experiencing the river.
Part of SRWA’s “Beyond the Bridge” project, the river trips “will allow greater awareness of what’s here the more the word gets out,” Rogers said.
Participants in the trip, which was the second of three planned outings, included representatives from the Rockdale County Planning Department and residents of Jackson Lake Homeowners Association.
South River forms the border between Rockdale County and DeKalb County and ends in the Jackson Lake reservoir.
The canoe trips are “designed to get people in the community on the river,” said Jackie Echols, president of SRWA.
“Momentum that comes from getting a diverse group of supporters and advocates, living upstream and downstream, energized and working in support of South River, is growing,” Echols said.
“If you get folks on the river they develop a connection to it that lasts a lifetime,” Echols said.
SRWA hopes trip participants will help promote future restorative efforts to “ensure the future of the river longterm,” Echols said.