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Kayakers tour and raise funds for the preservation of the Apalachicola River

Chattahoochee received visitors from St. Georgia Island, Tallahassee, Gainesville, Apalachochola, Tampa, and St. Louis, Missouri for a two-day trek down the Apalachicola River.

Doug Alderson, the outreach and advocacy director for Apalachicola Riverkeeper, led part of the trek during the October kayak voyage.

The trek was part of the Apalachicola RiverTrek, an annual event that takes dedicated kayak paddlers on a 107-mile journey over the river and starts, roughly, at the Chattahoochee River Landing Park.

Typically, the annual RiverTrek is a five-day endeavor, but due to approaching foul weather, the crew decided to embark on a two-day paddle in October and complete the last leg of the journey in November.

Throughout their journey, kayakers paddled more than 20 miles a day, and camped on a river sandbar.

Camryn Barton, a 6th-grade science teacher at Maclay School in Tallahassee, sported a special paddle that had been signed by her students. Barton has used her adventures with RiverTrek to educate her students on the importance of river preservation.

The trek provided a true outdoor experience, allowing the paddlers a first-hand experience through one of Florida’s most diverse and inspiring rivers.

Paddlers also typically learn about the river through guest speakers who meet the group at selected locations along the river in the evenings and online events prior to the trek. Paddlers received educational key points about the plants and animals that are supported by the river, and the rare and endangered species that call the Apalachicola River home.

The paddlers also got to experience the river’s diverse scenery. Large bluffs shorelines, which are known for being the tallest in Florida could be seen throughout the most of the journey

Despite COVID-19, the collection of visiting paddlers were given well-wishes by their support crew, former paddlers and Chattahoochee’s Town Manager Robert Presnell during the launch on Tuesday, October 8 at River Landing Park.

According to Doug Alderson, the outreach and advocacy director for Apalachicola Riverkeeper (the organization that hosts these treks), of the 13 planned paddlers, eight were newcomers to the journey and five were return-paddlers from previous trips.

Alderson also notes that the purpose of RiverTrek is to raise necessary funds for Apalachicola

Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization that has advocated for the river and its bay for over 20 years. Paddlers with the 2020 trek raised around $50,000 in funds that will help keep the river and its surrounding area preserved for future generations and will allow the Apalachicola RiverKeeper group to continue monitoring the river’s water quality.

After completing the two-days of paddling that was part of their October trek, Alderson said that they had a ‘great two days’ and are looking forward to completing their trek in November.

Currently, the troupe of paddlers plan to launch on November 6 and will complete the final leg of their journey on November 8.

To learn more about and support the Apalachicola RiverTrek visit

Photos and story by Ashley Hunter –