The Coosa River Basin Initiative and Upper Etowah River Alliance, along with the Historical Society, are teaming up to take people on a journey through water and time. The event includes a six-mile paddle down the Etowah River, an educational program on historic Crescent Farm in Canton, a barbecue dinner catered by Willamson Brothers, a kayak raffle and a live auction.
“Cherokee County’s story is linked to the Etowah River,” said Stefanie Joyner, director of the Historical Society. “This event offers another way to explore our rich cultural history.”
The paddle trip will include a float over a Native American fish weir — a rock dam constructed by the area’s original inhabitants hundreds of years ago. Patrons will also learn about Crescent Farm, the horse and cotton farm operated by Gus Coggins who built the “Rock Barn” that now houses the Historical Society.
“As educators, we believe the best way to demonstrate the unique qualities of the Etowah are to see it up close and personal. This is a great opportunity to learn about the river and see it as our Native American predecessors saw it,” said Diane Minick, director of the Upper Etowah River Alliance. “Along the way we will pass over fish weirs built and used by those early people to gather fish.”
The event serves as a fundraiser for the three organizations and will support efforts to create the Etowah River Water Trail, a 163-mile canoe, kayak and boating trail that stretches the length of the river from Lumpkin County to Rome.
“One of our goals is to introduce people to the Etowah River and the recreational opportunities it offers,” said Joe Cook, CRBI Executive director and riverkeeper.
“The city of Canton recently constructed a new canoe and kayak launch on the river, and our ultimate goal is to have several more public access points developed along the river in Cherokee County. The river is a portal to the region’s history.”
The event begins at 1:30 p.m. with educational programs about Crescent Farm. The paddle trip will follow with dinner served at approximately 6:30 p.m. at the Rock Barn.
Sponsors of the event include Williamson Brothers Barbecue, Reformation Brewery, Appalachian Outfitters, Casteel Construction, Edgewater Hall Family Medicine and Sharp Mountain Vineyards.
CRBI is a nonprofit organization with the mission of informing and empowering citizens to protect, preserve and restore North America’s most biologically diverse river basin.
The Cherokee County Historical Society, founded in 1975 as a nonprofit corporation, is dedicated to historic preservation and education.
The Upper Etowah River Alliance is a community-based watershed protection group that works to protect, conserve, and enhance the natural resources of the Upper Etowah River Basin.
Tickets are limited and are available for $75 or $130 per couple. They include a canoe or kayak rental, dinner, beer, wine and refreshments, a chance to win a new kayak, a copy of the recently published Etowah River User’s Guide, and a year’s membership in each organization.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.coosa.org/events/paddling-through-cherokee-county-history or by calling CRBI at (706) 232-2724.