‘Right to Float’ Debate Sparks Paddle-a-thon

March 19, 2024
1 min read
'Right to Float' Debate Sparks Paddle-a-thon

As Georgia lawmakers delve into the contentious issue of navigational rights on the state’s waterways, the Georgia River Network is setting sail with its annual Paddle-a-thon event, aiming to make waves in the ongoing “Right to Float” controversy.

With $10,000 in prizes at stake, the competition is not just a race but a critical statement in the dialogue surrounding river access rights in Georgia.

The Paddle-a-thon, a celebrated fixture in the Georgia paddling community, has traditionally been a platform for outdoor enthusiasts to engage in friendly competition while supporting river conservation efforts. This year, however, it takes on an added dimension of advocacy, as participants are encouraged to document their river usage, providing tangible evidence to inform legislative discussions on public access to waterways.

Georgia River Network’s Executive Director, Rena Peck, emphasizes the significance of this year’s event, noting the timely intersection with state legislators’ deliberations on defining “navigable streams.”

The proposed legislation seeks to establish a clear list of waterways where public rights to boat, fish, and hunt are protected. Yet, concerns arise over the outdated 1863 definition of navigability and its implications for today’s river enthusiasts and local businesses.

The Paddle-a-thon invites kayakers, canoeists, and paddleboarders to log their aquatic journeys, offering a range of categories for competition, from distance covered to environmental stewardship through trash removal. With enticing prizes, including a $1,300 paddleboard and a $1,000 grand prize for fundraising champions, the event promises to unite Georgia’s paddling community in a shared mission.

The competition runs through October 1 and all paddle trips taken between January 1 and October 1 are eligible. The river network hopes to compile a comprehensive inventory of actively paddled streams, contributing valuable data to the state’s discourse on river rights.

For more information and to join the Paddle-a-thon, visit Georgia River Network Paddle-a-thon.

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