Ogeechee Riverkeeper Paddle Trips
As a perk of membership, we invite Ogeechee Riverkeeper members to experience the natural beauty of Southern blackwater rivers, observe wildlife, and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow paddlers. There is nothing quite like the tranquility and intimacy of floating right on the surface of the water in a kayak or canoe without the sound of a motor. Join us on the fourth Saturday of each month at 9:00 AM (unless otherwise stated) as we explore beautiful places in the four sub-watersheds of the Ogeechee River watershed.
Experienced ORK guides have carefully planned each trip so that river access and car shuttles will be easy for everyone. In addition, many trips will feature a guest guide who will share with us special knowledge of the locale’s biology and various points of interest along the way.
Please note: The following information is subject to change due to river levels and weather conditions.
2018 Paddle Schedule
March 31, 2018 – Dickinson Creek – Our first trip of the year starts along the coastal marshes near Sunbury. We will put in at a private launch just south of town, and follow the tide out to the main channel. Meredith Devendorf, a resident of the area will join us and talk about the history and environment of the local community. The last half mile will be going against the current, but you will be well rewarded for your efforts with beautiful views and an opportunity to get lunch at Sunbury Crab Company. Kayak rentals will be $45 per boat.
April 28th – Fort Stewart – Paddling on the Canoochee is always a treat. Taking a trip down the biggest tributary to the Ogeechee is similar to our normal ones, but this time we will be on post at Fort Stewart. This winding 11-mile trip will take us along the Canoochee through Fort Stewart, and we will have a member of the Fish and Wildlife group as a guide and speaker to tell us about the area and what makes it special. We won’t need any special permits for this trip. Check out https://ftstewart.isportsman.net/ to learn more about recreating on post. This paddle is limited to 24 participants.
May 26, 2018 – Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge – Hopefully the weather is better for this year’s paddle trip to one of the ornithological gems along our coast. Thousands of birds call this old airfield home. We will have a bird expert talk about the refuge, how it came to be, and what birds we can see as we make our way from Barbour Landing to a small spit of land called Wahoo Island near the coast. We’ve timed the tides so we will be riding along with the flow there and back.
June 16, 2018 – Family Fun Day at Butterbean Beach – Moon River Kayak Tours is leading a paddle as part of our Family Fun Day at Butterbean Beach. The paddle is now full, but we encourage you to join us for the land-based fun. For more information, visit our event page here.
July 28, 2018 – Scarboro to Rocky Ford – One of our personal favorite trips is this windy patch of rural Georgia. There’s plenty of twists and turns to keep your attention on this shady route that should keep us cool in the dead of summer. We’ll be joined by Dr. Checo Colon-Gaud, a biology professor from Georgia Southern University who will talk about the hidden world beneath the surface of the water that can tell us a lot about water quality.
August 25, 2018 – George L. Smith State Park – This trip is for everyone. George L. Smith State Park is home to a beautiful lake with lots of cypress trees to wind through as we follow the water trails and look for herons, ospreys, and even an occasional alligator. The water will be flat and calm, so this paddle trip is for our beginners looking for an easy day on the water. Patrick Turnkett, a ranger at the park will give us a tour of the area and more insight to the history and ecology of the park. The trip is about 4 miles as the crow flies, but we can make it as long as we like meandering through the trees. The state park has boats to rent by the hour. A 4-hour rental is $28. Please plan on arriving a little early to complete the paperwork at the park office if you’re renting a boat. Each vehicle must pay the $5 entry fee for the state park.
September 22, 2018 – Wadley to Coleman Lake – Another trip with plenty of twists and turns, this route is our farthest upstream. Coleman Lake is a great community, but not really a lake at all! It’s part of an old channel of the river that plugged up and became a great swimming hole for generations of locals. To add to the excitement, we will have a biologist from the Orianne Society with us to talk about the reptiles and amphibians that lurk around the water’s edge. If we are lucky, they might find a water snake to show off! This route is nearly 7 miles long and rated an intermediate difficulty. Ocmulgee Outdoor Expeditions will be our outfitter on this trip, renting kayaks for $40 per kayak.
October 27, 2018 – Morgan’s Bridge to Savannah/Ogeechee Canal – To wrap up the year, we will have an easier trip near the bottom of the watershed. We will start at Morgan’s Bridge, a popular hangout for those who love the river. The river will swell and shrink as we work our way downstream, finally ending at the Savannah/Ogeechee Canal, a historic park that connects the two rivers. Connie Shreve, the manager of Ogeechee Outpost and the S/O Canal will be on hand to give us a history lesson on the Canal and its importance to the local economy around the turn of the century.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How much does it cost to attend?
Paddles are free for members. If you are not a member, individuals can become members for $35, and a family membership is available for $50. Memberships are good for one full year. Become a member here.
What are the rules of your paddle trips?
- Follow all local, state, and federal laws
- Leave no trace – whatever you bring in leaves with you
- Stay between the lead and sweep boats at all times
- All participants must wear a properly fitted personal flotation device at all times.
- Each participant must sign a waiver before the paddle. If he or she is under 18, a parent/guardian must sign on their behalf.
- Children 12 and under MUST be accompanied by their parent or guardian.
Can I rent a boat for a trip?
Ogeechee Riverkeeper has a few canoes available to rent, and we are also working to line up outfitters for each trip for rentals. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on rentals if it is not mentioned on an individual trip.
What should I bring?
Lunch/snacks, water bottle(s), sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, water shoes or old tennis shoes (flip-flops/sandals not recommended), dry bag or other way to store keys/phone (if you plan on bringing them).
How does transportation between the put-in and take-out location work?
For trips that have separate put-in and take-out locations, we meet at the put-in at 9:00 AM to unload boats and sign waivers. Then we send all of the drivers only down to the take-out. The drivers then return in 1-3 cars so that most of the vehicles are at the take-out at the end of the day and only a few people need rides back up to their cars.
I don’t see the sign-up link. Where is it?
If there isn’t a link available for a specific trip, then registration either hasn’t opened for that trip or has already closed. We close registration the Thursday evening before the trip at 11:59PM or when we reach a trip’s capacity.
Members receive an email with the sign-up link a day before it is posted on our website. If you want to check on your membership or update your contact information, email email@example.com.
Who do I contact with additional questions?
Please contact our Monitoring & Education Coordinator Luke Roberson with questions! (866) 942-6222 x.3 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t see your favorite Ogeechee, Canoochee, or coastal Ogeechee watershed paddling spot here? Tell us about it and we will try and incorporate it in future schedules.
Questions? Problems with registration? Feel free to contact Luke Roberson at email@example.com or 866-942-6222 x3.