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.
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.
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:
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!
We’ve put together some resources for you to learn more about the Flint River and the natural world in Clayton County:
- Learn more about the Flint River and why it’s so important from PBA30’s Sharon Collins, host of Georgia Outdoors.
- Georgia River Network (Flint River Facts page)
- Reynolds Nature Preserve, Morrow (free)
- Newman Wetlands Center (free)
- Willie Oswalt Park, Lake City (free)
- Shamrock/Blalock Reservoir, Jonesboro ($)
- J.W. Smith Reservoir, Hampton ($)
- Shoal Creek Reservoir (access monitored, boat limit)
- CCWA Wildlife Viewing ($)
- Arabia Mountain, Stonecrest (free)
- AWARE Wildlife Rescue Center, Stonecrest (donation requested)
- Panola Mountain State Park, Stockbridge (free)
- Chattahoochee Nature Center, Roswell ($, see site for 2021 paddling changes)
- Nantahala Outdoor Center Roswell Outpost, Roswell ($, learn to paddle)
- Paddle Georgia ($, 7-day canoe/kayak adventure on the Lower Flint from Thomaston to Montezuma/Oglethorpe; 2021 is full so plan ahead for 2022!)
- Flint River Outdoor Center, Thomaston ($, RV/tent camping, boat launch)
- Georgia Audubon Society (statewide)
- Georgia Sierra Club (statewide)
- American Rivers (national partner of Finding the Flint)
Have a fantastic weekend out there!