Chattahoochee user’s guide published

by Sarah Fay Campbell

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By Sarah Fay Campbell sarah@newnan.com River enthusiast, photographer and occasional Coweta visitor Joe Cook has penned a user’s guide to the Chattahoochee River, which lays out detailed information about the river, from its headwaters in north Georgia all the way to the dam at Lake Seminole where the Chattahoochee and the Flint leave to become the Apalachicola.

“Chattahoochee River User’s Guide” breaks the river into 24 sections, and identifies access points, guides to paddling, and points of interest along each section. Points of interest include waterfalls, rapids, fish weirs, swimming holes, jumping rocks, dams, farms, parks, bridges and even sewer lines and water intakes. There is also information about changes over time, environmental challenges, and fascinating historical tidbits laid out in the “points of interest” for the various sections. There are also maps of each river section and color photographs.

Cook is executive director of the Coosa River Basin Initiative and is coordinator of the Georgia River Network’s annual Paddle Georgia event, which this year traveled the Chattahoochee. The boaters from Paddle Georgia spent two nights camping at Newnan High School and participated in the Chattahoochee Bend River Fest event held in downtown Newnan.

Cook is the brother of local artist Sherry Cook, and is a renowned nature photographer who is also co-author of “River Song: A Journey down the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers."

Cook includes a particularly interesting historical tidbit for the “Whitesburg” section between Capps Ferry Road in Chattahoochee Hills and the Georgia Hwy. 16 bridge.

In 1864, Union cavalry were sent to scout potential river crossings. When they arrived at Moore’s Bridge, built in 1858, they surprised a group of Confederate soldiers who were skinny dipping in the river. Some of the Confederate soldiers escaped, naked and barefoot, and rode into Newnan to warn locals that the “Yankees were coming,” according to Cook’s account.

An artillery skirmish followed and the Union soldiers set fire to the bridge, which was located just upriver of the current Hwy. 16 Bridge. The bridge, constructed by famous bridge builder and former slave Horace King, was rebuilt in 1867. Carroll County recently opened Moore’s Bridge Park on the Carroll County side of the river.

“Chattahoochee River User’s Guide” is a Georgia River Network Guidebook, published in cooperation with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. It’s published by the University of Georgia Press and is available on Amazon and in bookstores.



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