Originally smaller than Central Park in New York City, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area has grown seven times larger over the years. Now the National Recreation Area in Atlanta is one of America’s premier urban greenways…a wild place in the city.
Two politicians from different sides of the aisle saved the recreation area, former President Jimmy Carter and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The core of the area was a 680-acre state park just north of Atlanta. Today, the National Park Service owns and manages nearly 6,500 acres of land in 14 separate park units, which have been likened to a string of pearls stretched along four counties and 48-miles of river from Lake Lanier to Standing Peachtree Creek near downtown Atlanta. Eventually, the Park Service hopes to expand the park to its full 10,000 congressionally authorized acres, providing more outdoor opportunities to visitors.
On August 15th, the national recreation area celebrated its 25th anniversary as part of the national park system. With more than three million visitors annually, it ranks number one in popularity among Georgia’s 10 National Park Service areas.
Chattahoochee River Trivia
1. The entire 48-miles of the national recreation area is located in the Brevard Fault, the dividing line between the Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont Plateau in Georgia.
2. Beginning in the northeast Georgia mountains, the Chattahoochee River travels 542 miles downstream to Apalachicola Bay, Fla., one of the most productive fisheries in the U.S.
3. The park is home to more than 900 different species of plants, a variety of old and new growth hardwood forests, and more than 20 species of fish including trout, bass and catfish.
4. Animals found include red fox, river otter, beaver, whitetail deer, rabbits and muskrats.
5. Human presence in the Chattahoochee River corridor may have begun as early as 10,000 years B.C. Archeological sites within the park include 47 pre-historic villages, campsites and hamlets, 16 rock shelters and 23 historic sites associated with European settlement.
Chattahoochee River Attractions
1. Locals like to “shoot the ‘Hooch,” as they call it, in rubber rafts and kayaks. In certain spots, the river is so peaceful and quiet that rafters swear they are in a wilderness area even as they pass under highway bridges.
2. The park has nearly 100 miles of hiking trails. The popular fitness trail at Cochran Shoals draws in excess of 5,000 people every day.
About the Author
Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals – makers of outdoor writing journals. Visit NomadJournalTrips.com to read more.