Chattahoochee River could take Appalachian Trail hikers to coast
In a June 11, 2011 photo, men walk on the rocks in the Chattahoochee River below the City Mills dam near Columbus, Ga. Leaders of a national land trust say a river that runs through metro Atlanta holds the key to realizing a grand vision for outdoor enthusiasts. They aim to create an extension of the Appalachian Trail that would allow hikers to traverse the mountains from Maine to north Georgia, then continue on in a canoe or kayak to the Gulf of Mexico. Leaders of the National Trust for Public Land say the effort is years away, but they believe it can be accomplished within 10 years. They're already working to make large sections of the Chattahoochee River easy to navigate, including one stretch from West Point, Ga. to Columbus. (AP Photo/The Ledger-Enquirer, Robin Trimarch)
ATLANTA — A river with a history of ferry boats and Civil War battles may one day provide a new route for hikers who finish the Appalachian Trail to continue south until they reach the Gulf of Mexico, a national conservation group says.
Leaders envision the Chattahoochee River as a way to allow Appalachian Trail hikers to reach the Gulf either on trails along its banks or in a canoe or kayak on the river. The trail already stretches from Maine to north Georgia.
The Chattahoochee’s headwaters, in the north Georgia mountains, are near the trail’s southernmost section.
“The idea is that someone looking for adventure could hike the Appalachian Trail, and then get off the trail and go to the headwaters of the Chattahoochee,” said Curt Soper, the Georgia-Alabama state director of the Trust for Public Land. The nonprofit has worked for years to acquire land in the area and make it available to its partners, such as the National Park Service. The new route could become a reality within the next decade, Soper said.
— Associated Press