More volunteers needed
Chattahoochee River floods park
by Sarah Fay Campbell
The Chattahoochee River crested at 17.8 feet at the Hwy. 16 Bridge around 6 a.m. Tuesday.
The swollen river flooded significant portions of Chattahoochee Bend State Park, including the platform campgrounds and playground and pavilions at the day-use area.
“And it’s not going down real fast,” said Tim Banks, park manager. “It is slowly receding.” How fast the floodwaters recede will depend a lot on how much water is held back by the two dams upstream, Banks said.
Flood stage for the river at Hwy. 16 is 15 feet, and anything under 21 feet is considered minor flooding. At 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, the river was at 17.32, according to the National Weather Service’s River Forecast Center.
At least 2.5 inches of rain had fallen on the downtown Newnan area by late Monday, and some 3.5 to 4 inches fell over north Georgia, quickly swelling the river.
The Friends of Chattahoochee Bend State Park are asking for help with cleaning the flooded park.
“April is one of our busiest months and we’re right in the middle of spring breaks,” said Steve St. Laurent, president of the Friends of Chattahoochee Bend. “Please consider coming out to the park beginning Thursday to help the park staff recover from the flooding.”
On Saturday, the park is hosting the Sweep the Hooch river cleanup. Originally, it was going to be limited to boats on the water. However, because of the flooding, “we have opened up the option to assist with cleanup wherever it’s needed,” St. Laurent said.
Because of the flooding, there is sure to be extra trash and garbage. Banks wants to remind everyone that “if you throw it into the ditch, it washes into the creek and eventually ends up in the river. So that is where all the trash comes from,” he said.
Banks said park staff anticipated the flooding and “moved tables and trash cans out of the day use area.”
There are events planned at the park for Thursday and Saturday.
“We’ll be there with a fire hose washing off all the mud, scrubbing it down, disinfecting it and getting everything ready for the weekend,” he said. Banks expects there to be a film of mud on the picnic shelters and the boat ramp will also need cleaning.
Anyone wanting to help out can just show up. “We’ll put them to work,” Banks said. Instead of going to the gym for a two-hour workout, “if you come to the park we’ll give you a six- or eight-hour workout.”
“We’re in the process of getting all the road shoulders ready to overseed,” Banks said. They’re getting ready to build a new bridge on the Riverside Trail, and final approval has been received for equestrian and mountain bike trails. “We’re ready to go … as soon as we can get volunteers.”
Today at noon is the deadline to sign up for the river cleanup. Those wanting to help clean up the banks can sign up at the park on Saturday.
Plans are for volunteers to gather Saturday at 9 a.m. at the boat ramp.
For more information, contact the park office at 770-254-7271, or visit www.bendfriend.com. You can sign up for the Sweep the Hooch cleanup at www.sweepthehooch.org.