Official Welcome to Georgia Paddlers
Lowndes County Commission Chair Bill Slaughter
Valdosta City Council Member Tim Carroll
Valdosta-Lowndes Historical Society Director Donald Davis
at Land Between the Rivers
Confluence of Little & Withlacoochee Rivers
Saturday, 15 June 2019
Some places just draw people. The land between the Little and Withlacoochee rivers is such a place. And once again history was made here.
On June 15th the land between the rivers for a few hours was home to more than 300 canoeists and kayakers from a dozen states as they launched from the Valdosta Lowndes Parks & Recreation Authority's (VLPRA) Troupville Boat Ramp to begin the Georgia Paddlers’ annual seven-day trip. This year's route took the flotilla on the Withlacoochee and Suwannee rivers, 92 miles from Valdosta to Mayo, Florida, the first time Georgia paddlers have crossed state lines. (For more information see https://garivers.org/paddle-georgia/journey-details/.) The event was co-sponsored by the Georgia Rivers Network and Valdosta’s own WWALS / Suwannee Riverkeeper (see www.wwals.net/ or www.suwanneeriverkeeper.org/ ). The fact that this major event began here is testament to the value of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail, and its eco-tourism potential.
The start point was made more pleasant thanks to the litter clean-up days sponsored by Keep Lowndes-Valdosta Beautiful and WWALS in 2018 and early 2019. Paddlers were officially welcomed by Lowndes County Commission Chair Bill Slaughter and Valdosta City Council member Tim Carroll. The Valdosta-Lowndes Historical Society's Donald Davis provided in-depth background for the Georgia Paddlers' website, as well as on-site briefings and Q&A for participants as they stopped at the confluence of the Little and Withlacoochee rivers. John Quarterman of WWALS / Suwannee Riverkeeper and his team explained about local water trails and assisted Joe Cook and the Georgia River Network's crew from set-up to the paddle's end.
Traveling here from far and wide, the paddlers and their families first took advantage of all the Valdosta area has to offer, from shopping & dining to lodging. The day of the launch they explored Land Between the Rivers and delighted in the flat dark water, white sand and area's beauty.
Future visitors to Land Between the Rivers should be able to do the same.