by Robin Kemp

Along with the airport, Flint Riverkeeper, and AATC, Finding the Flint is cleaning up the Flint River‘s headwaters this weekend and plans to remove trash and tires (no easy feat!) inside the airport’s fenceline.

The event, which is already full, is evidence of the group’s diligence in reconnecting Clayton County residents with the relatively-hidden Flint River. Long-term plans include a recreational trail alongside the Flint.

Can you find the Flint? Visit for a self-guided tour! Photo: Robin Kemp/The Clayton Crescent

The Flint is Clayton County’s main drinking water source. While it’s better-known downstream as a paddling destination, the Flint is literally obscured at its East Point origins and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport headwaters.

Behind this building, the Flint River is born. Photo: Robin Kemp/The Clayton Crescent

The Clayton Crescent spoke with Finding the Flint’s Hannah Palmer in 2020 about her efforts as a Clayton County native to make locals aware of the beauty hidden in plain sight. Listen here:

We would be amiss not to tip our hat to the AJC’s Leon Stafford, who has the latest update on Finding the Flint’s efforts out today.

Besides the Flint, Clayton County and the Southern Crescent have a lot of other natural wonders you can enjoy. If you’re new to being in nature but want to get started this weekend, plan your outing and take plenty of water and sunscreen–it’s going to be a hot one this weekend. Consult a Girl Scout or Boy Scout handbook. Here are some tips for “tenderfoot” (newbie) hikers:

  • Be as quiet as possible. Lower your voice and use your eyes, ears, and nose to take in what’s around you.
  • Don’t hike or swim alone. Bring a buddy. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Keep your dog on a short (6′ max) leash at all times and bag your furry friend’s deposits for later disposal in a trash can.
  • Bring food/water/first aid/phone/pocket knife/compass or GPS just in case.
  • Use bug repellent and sunscreen.
  • Do not eat or touch plants or animals that you don’t know 100%. Do not drink untreated water.
  • A bandanna, wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and close-toed shoes with good ankle support are must-haves.
  • Always pack out whatever you pack in (no dropping litter or throwing bottles in the bushes).
  • Observe wildlife quietly from a distance.
  • Always wear a life jacket while boating or tubing–no matter how experienced a swimmer you are.
  • If you are inspired to pick up trash, consider using a “grab stick” and stay on the trail. Be aware of where you put your hands and feet–it’s snake season!
You’ll need to take a road trip if you want to paddle the Flint. Closer to home, the Chattahoochee Nature Center and Nantahala Outdoor Center Roswell Outpost offer several paddling opportunities where you can learn how to enjoy the river safely.

We’ve put together some resources for you to learn more about the Flint River and the natural world in Clayton County:

Have a fantastic weekend out there!