Thursday, February 21, 2008

Georgia Out...and About

Get outdoors this weekend. Here's just some of what's happening this weekend.

Saturday, February 23, 5:30 AM: Experience sunrise at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Don’t miss the sight of light barely filtering through Spanish moss and the sound of the land coming alive with scampering wildlife, owls and other birds. Learn more.

Saturday, February 23: Hike the Moody Forest with famed author Janisse Ray. Learn more.

Saturday, February 23, 6:30 PM-9:30 PM: Owl Prowl! Enjoy an evening of storytelling, guided night hikes, songs to sing around the campfire, marshmallow roasting, nocturnal wildlife sights and sounds, and the night time beauty of the Chattahoochee River. Reservations are required, as space is limited! Learn more.

Sunday, February 24: Massee Lane Gardens Bike Ride has several miles of country roads to ride upon, near the famous Camilla Gardens in Fort Valley. Learn more.

All weekend, too numerous to list. Visit the website of Georgia's State Parks and Historic Sitesfor information about events such as a fly-fishing workshop, history hikes, a dulcimer making workshop and wildlife rescue!

This Week on Georgia Outdoors: Suwanee River

Georgia Outdoors: Suwanee River
Friday, Feb 22 at 9:30 PM
Saturday, Feb 23 at 12 Noon & 6 PM
Tuesday, Feb 26 at 7:30 PM

The Suwannee River is one of the most famous rivers in the southeast. From its origins in the Okefenokee Swamp to the river's end along the marshes of the Gulf of Mexico, this great river is one of the last remaining unspoiled waterways in the United States.

But a river is does not stand alone. Through a network of a network of springs, creeks, and underground aquifers, the Suwannee River Watershed drains an area over 11 thousand square miles straddling Georgia and Florida.

Georgia Outdoors explores the natural diversity of and some recreational opportunities throughout the Suwannee River Watershed.

Visit our website for more web resources about the places and people we visited in this show.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Georgia Outdoors: Georgia's Great Lakes

Georgia Outdoors: Georgia's Great Lakes

Friday, Feb 15 at 9:30 PM
Saturday, Feb 16 at 12 Noon & 6 PM
Tuesday, Feb 19 at 7:30 PM

Though Georgia has no large natural lakes, we have several major reservoirs which offer a variety of opportunities to get out and enjoy yourself on the water. This episode highlights some fun things to do on and around our great lakes.

Starting with a sailing regatta on Georgia's most visited lake, Lake Sydney Lanier, we'll feature some well-known and not-so-well-known lake activities – including windsurfing on Clark's Hill Lake, birdwatching at Lake Walter F. George, and bass fishing on Lake Seminole. We'll also explore the sunken history of some of our lakes and visit a lake clean-up at Allatoona Lake that draws 5,000 volunteers every year!

Filmed before the effects of the present drought were visible, this episode of Georgia Outdoors serves as a symbol for what's at stake. Visit the websites below to learn more about how you can help conserve water in Georgia.

Web Resources

Great Lakes of Georgia
The Great Lakes of Georgia website features our state’s nine US Army Corps of Engineers lakes.

Conserve Water Georgia
Georgia is facing one of the most severe droughts in history. Our rivers and reservoirs are at record lows, and many of our communities face water shortages that could challenge their ability to meet water supply needs. Visit this website to learn how you can do your part.

WaterSmart is a program of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Environmental Protection Division in partnership with the University Georgia Cooperative Extension. Visit this website to save water, save time and save money!

Georgia State Parks
Many of Georgia's state parks are located on a "great lake". Visit this website to learn about them all. Boating Safety
Before going out on the water there are many things to consider in order to make the outing as safe and enjoyable as possible. Visit this website to learn more about boating safety and regulations in Georgia.

Rivers Alive
When you get involved in Rivers Alive, Georgia's Annual Volunteer Waterway Cleanup, you are taking the first step in following Rivers Alive's mission and directly protecting Georgia's 70,150 miles of streams and rivers.

Lake Lanier Sailing Clubs
There are several sailing clubs on Lake Lanier. Visit this website to learn about them all.

White Cap Windsurfing
Windsurfing instruction on the local lakes radiating out from Augusta, Georgia including Atlanta and Columbia, SC, Whitecap also regularly covers the nearby coast, particularly the Georgia Golden Isles, up to Savannah, and around Charleston, SC.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

35 Natural Wonders

Wonderful article in the AJC by Charles Seabrook. Many of these places have been featured on Georgia Outdoors. When our GPB website is back up and running at full capacity I'll come back and link these places with Georgia Outdoors episode that features them. Check back soon!

Originally printed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on

Bookstores are filled now with such titles as "1000 Places You Must See Before You Die" and "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die." Everywhere you turn, in fact, there are lists suggesting things you should do, see, read, taste or listen to before you die. So, I've come up with my own list — 35 Natural Wonders in Georgia You Must See Before You Die. You might have candidates of your own, but here are mine:

1. Okefenokee Swamp. World-famous wetland.

2. Marshes of Glynn. Far-as-the-eye-can-see coastal salt marshes that inspired poet Sydney Lanier to write his famous poem.

3. Cumberland Island National Seashore. Former President Jimmy Carter called it one of his most favorite places on Earth.

4. Ossabaw Island. Unspoiled barrier isle; amazing natural beauty.

5. Cabretta Beach, Sapelo Island. One of Atlantic coast's most beautiful undeveloped beaches.

6. Woody Pond, Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge (McIntosh County). In spring, thousands of egrets, herons and endangered wood storks form spectacular nesting colonies.

7. Ebenezer Creek (Effingham County). National Natural Landmark; harbors 1,000 year-old bald cypress trees with huge buttresses eight to twelve feet wide.

8. Altamaha River. Lower Altamaha called "Georgia's Amazon" for the lush, jungle-like growth along its banks; river's entire 137 miles unfettered by dams.

9. Broxton Rocks Ecological Preserve (Coffee County). Rugged sandstone rock outcrop deep in South Georgia; sculpted over centuries by water into fissures and shallow ravines that are now havens for many rare plants.

10. Ohoopee Dunes State Natural Area (Emanuel County). Sometimes called "Georgia's Desert" because of its dry, sandy soil and scrubby vegetation. Biologists call it an "enchanting environment."

11. Wade Tract Preserve (Thomas County). Privately-owned 200-acre swath of old-growth long leaf pine and wire grass; one of few remaining examples of great long leaf forest that once covered Coastal Plains region.

12. Providence Canyon State Park (Stewart County). Eroded land that transformed into a place of great beauty; sometimes called Georgia's "Little Grand Canyon."

13. Doe Run Pitcher Plant Bog Natural Area (Colquitt County). Lush growths of carnivorous pitcher plants in spring.

14. Pine Mountain (Harris County). Spectacular view from Dowdell's Knob of valley below; President Franklin D. Roosevelt often came here to picnic and meditate.

15. Warm Springs (Meriwether County). Naturally warm, soothing water bubbling from Earth; FDR came here for treatment of polio.

16. Oaky Woods Wildlife Management Area (Houston County). See for yourself why conservationists are intent on saving from development this place of roaming black bears and rare wildflower habitats.

17. George L. Smith State Park (Emanuel County). Bald cypresses growing in pond are magnificent in fall when they take on their orangish-bonze tints.

18. Sprewell Bluff State Park (Upson/Talbot counties). Little known gem on Flint River, which is one of South's most beautiful and interesting streams; 3-mile trail offers superb views of river and rocky cliffs.

19. Palisades unit, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Spectacular greenspace in midst of sprawling, bustling metro Atlanta.

20. Graves Mountain (Lincoln County). Rockhounds from all over world come here for amazing array of rocks and minerals.

21. Stone Mountain/Arabia-Davidson Mountain/Panola Mountain. Huge geological wonders that sport some of Georgia's most colorful arrays of wildlflowers in spring and fall.

22. Tallulah Gorge (Rabun County). Hard granite walls fall perpendicular to land above, forming steep cliffs.

23. Amicalola Falls State Park (Dawson County). Falls plunge 729 feet in seven cascades; highest waterfall east of Mississippi River.

24. Richard Russell Scenic Highway. 14-mile-long road is not natural, but it winds through some of the most splendid mountain scenery in the Southeast. Along the way are trailheads to waterfalls and scenic spots.

25. Cloudland Canyon (Dade County). One of Georgia's most scenic state parks; rugged geology and beautiful vistas.

26. Brasstown Bald (Chattahoochee National Forest). At 4,784 feet above sea level, it's Georgia's highest mountain; four states can be seen from top.

27. Rabun Bald (Chattahoochee National Forest). Rivals Brasstown Bald in elevation and spectacular views.

28. The Pocket, Pigeon Mountain. (Walker County). Lush growths of colorful spring and fall wildflowers in a beautiful setting.

29. Rocktown, Pigeon Mountain. Stunning, house-size boulders make it a rival of its famous cousin, Rock City near Chattanooga.

30. McLemore Cove (Walker County). One of Southeast's most picturesque mountain valleys.

31. Chattooga River (along Georgia-South Carolina border). Untamed and unimpeded; wild and rugged.

32. Sosebee Cove (Chattahoochee National Forest). High elevation, north-facing cove forest; rich diversity of shade tolerant trees, shrubs and wildflowers.

33. Cooper Creek Scenic Area (Chattahoochee National Forest). Harbors large hemlocks and white pines, some with bases as big as four feet in diameter.

34. Raven Cliffs Falls (Raven Cliffs Wilderness Area). Splendid waterfalls; trail to them almost equally stunning.

35. Anna Ruby Falls (Unicoi State Park, White County). A must-see for visitors.

New Watering Restrictions

New Watering Restrictions in Georgia.

  • Hand watering will be allowed for 25 minutes per day on an odd-even schedule between midnight and 10 a.m. Odd numbered addresses can water on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Even numbered addresses can water Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Hand watering is defined as one person with one garden hose with a spray nozzle that shuts off when it is released.
  • New professionally installed landscape can be watered up to three days a week from midnight to 10 a.m. for a period of 10 weeks based on the odd/even schedule. The new schedule will help ensure the survival of new landscape without requiring more water than what is being used under the current 30-day exemption.
  • Anyone wishing to water new professionally installed landscape must register with the Outdoor Water Use Registration Program. The program will be hosted on the Urban Agricultural Council web site at Urban Ag Council beginning April 1, when the outdoor watering exemptions take effect. Georgians may also contact their county extension agents for assistance in getting registered.
There is no watering whatsoever in the City of Atlanta.

The following activities are exempted from the City of Atlanta’s new watering restrictions:

  1. Personal food gardens
  2. New landscaping installed by a certified or licensed landscaper. These newly installed landscapes may be watered any day of the week between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 10 a.m. for a period of 30 days following installation. You have one exemption per year / per property. There is no longer a 30-day exemption for lawn areation & overseeding, or for planting sod in existing/established landscapes. A 30-day watering exemption for sod pertains only to new construction.
  3. Swimming pools may be filled through an irrigation meter, domestic meter, well water or other alternate source. The City does not be provide pool filling services during the drought. Pool filling is subject to change due to drought conditions.

The following commercial outdoor water uses are exempt from watering restrictions:

  1. Professionally certified or licensed landscapers, golf course contractors, and sports turf landscapers: during installation and 30 days following installation only. Professional landscapers must be certified or licensed for commercial exemptions to apply.

    All landscape professionals and all customers seeking a 30-day watering exemption for newly installed landscape must register with the Outdoor Water Use Registration Program at per February 11, 2008 Order of Ga. Environmental Protection Division Director Carol A. Couch.

  2. Irrigation contractors: during installation and as needed for proper maintenance and adjustments of irrigation systems and equipment only.
  3. Sod producers.
  4. Ornamental growers.
  5. Fruit and vegetable growers.
  6. Retail garden centers.
  7. Hydro-seeding.
  8. Power-washing.
  9. Construction sites.
  10. Producers of food and fiber.
  11. Car washes.
  12. Other activities essential to daily business.
  13. Watering-in of pesticides and herbicides on turf.

All other uses fall under the new service-area-wide restrictions which state:

City of Atlanta customers may not water outdoors. No outdoor watering is allowed until further notice. This service area includes the City of Atlanta, Sandy Springs and unincorporated South Fulton County.

For more information about water schedules in your area, contact your local water provider. For more information on water conservation and outdoor water use, please go to

Georgia Outdoors Premiere Episode: Above 4000 FT

Premiere Episode!

Georgia Outdoors: Above 4000 FT
Friday, Feb 8 at 9:30 PM
Saturday, Feb 9 at 12 Noon & 6 PM
Tuesday, Feb 12 at 7:30 PM

North Georgia is home to the southern end of the Appalachian mountain range, and while most of our peaks aren't quite as tall as those mountains to the north, a few reach heights of over 4,000 feet. From Brasstown Bald to Blood Mountain, we take a look at some of the more accessible of these mountain peaks and show you a few ways to enjoy yourself in these high elevations.

Whether it's a bike race to the top of Brasstown Bald, hiking and stargazing, or bouldering, this episode is packed with fun activities to enjoy atop our highest mountains. We also take a look at the unique ecology and climate found far above sea level.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

America is Going Outside Less and Less

A lot of issues are important to voters in the recent and upcoming elections. And for the first time, it looks like environmental issues are actually one of them. In exit poll after exit poll, environment is listed right up there with economy, national security, health care... go us. Captain Planet is finally getting his message across.

Or is he?

A new study released recently suggests that the number of Americans spending time in the outdoors every year has declined rapidly since the early ninteen ninties.

Oddly enough, it's only been recently that the "green" movement has really taken off. So why the dichotomy? How is it possible that people can claim to care more and more about climate change, electric cars, and solar power while visiting the natural world less and less?

Come on Georgia. Lets put our money where our mouth is. Our state is absolutely filled to the brink with natural wonders. And talk about variety! We've got beaches, mountains, piedmont, swamps, rivers, lakes, canyons, and caves. There is a state park within an hour drive of you no matter where you live in the state. So go outside and take a walk. Ride a bike. Climb a mountain. Drag all of those paint cans and miscilanous power tools out of that canoe, dust it off, and put it in the water.

Get out and get a little taste of what it has suddenly become trendy to care about. You might find that the nature of your concern changes in a subtle but significant way.

Just as long as you are back inside and in front of your television in time to watch Georgia Outdoors. : )