Mike McCarthy of Marietta joined 35 kayakers and canoeists from across Georgia for a 112-mile, seven-day journey on the Flint River as part of Georgia River Network’s annual Paddle Georgia event.

The trip kicked off on June 20 at Crisp County Power Dam near Cordele and ended June 26 with a celebratory fish fry lunch provided by the Flint Riverkeeper at Bainbridge Boat Basin Park.

Georgia River Network traditionally hosts more than 300 people during its annual week-long river adventure, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it chose to organize a small-group version of the trip.

Each day, McCarthy and the other participants paddled between nine and 22 miles down river and camped on the riverside each night where they enjoyed catered meals, educational programs and games. The event also included additional day-time educational programs on the river.

With Georgia Adopt-a-Stream, participants helped collect chemical and biological data, capturing a snapshot of the rivers’ current health. Paddlers also observed and learned more about the Flint River’s plant life and fish with scientists from The Jones Center at Ichauway.

Although this year’s participant list was necessarily short, it was packed with Paddle Georgia veterans, a few of whom have participated since the event’s beginning in 2005, meaning they have now paddled more than 1,600 miles of Georgia’s rivers.

Next year, Georgia River Network plans to return to its traditional Paddle Georgia trip and the organization expects more than 300 participants to paddle 100 miles on the Upper Flint River from near Thomaston to Montezuma/Oglethorpe, June 19-25.

For more information, visit www.garivers.org.

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