Almost everybody sees the results of Alabama storms. but, only paddlers, and the small communities and businesses tied to the lifeline of recreation and tourism, see the lingering result of the trees that every severe storm leaves across an Alabama creek. It’s not just about the money, or the fun. Blocked streams can be extremely dangerous to paddlers.
Alabama Open Waters is a safety project, conceived by Alabama Scenic River Trail Member Philip Hamrick, to clear Alabama streams of (deadfall) trees, limbs and similar blockages for improved recreational and tourism use. By removal of these impediments, families, scout groups, and friends on a float trip will have unimpeded fun. too. Removal of such trees keeps them from piling up on and weakening bridge supports, and out of lakes so motorboats will have clear waterways.
Representatives Ron Johnson, Barbara Boyd, and Steve Hurst, along with Senators Shay Shelnutt, Jim Mcclendon, and Del Marsh have been instrumental in supporting this project.
Without their support The Alabama Scenic River Trail (ASRT) and the Resource, Conservation, and Development (RC&D) program which have combined efforts would not have had the funding to assist the Alabama Open Waters project.
Members of the Childersburg Rescue Squad and a host of volunteers started what promises to be a long but rewarding project of clearing a 12-mile stretch of Talladega Creek. Working with the Alabama Scenic River Trail (ASRT) officials, the group is working its way up & down the creek banks, clearing fallen trees and other debris deemed to be hazards to those who wish to travel the creek.
Philip Hamrick, the Talladega County director for ASRT, says the group’s goal is to clear 101-miles of waterway throughout Talladega County, making local creeks safer for paddlers along Talladega Creek, as well as Tallaseehatchee and Choccolocco Creeks. ASRT is supplying funds for the projects, and the Childersburg Rescue Squad are using the project as a fund-raiser for all of their duties, as they gather volunteers to join their ranks in clearing the creek.
ASRT officials were on hand this past Saturday at the Kymulga Grist Mill Park to send off the workers on the first leg of their task. The day long effort Saturday on Talladega Creek, starting at the Kymulga Grist Mill, by the Childersburg Rescue Squad, is the first first in a pilot project of those planned in five counties where ASRT matches grant funding with the RC&D Councils of Alabama to fund rescue squads and volunteer firefighters to get this program underway for our state.
Hamrick said that workers will soon post warning signs &/or buoys where dangers that cannot be cleared are located, such as above the low head dam near the Kymulga Grist Mill, warning of the danger ahead and requiring kayakers and canoers walk around the low head dam.