Outdoor enthusiast Jim Ledbetter has put an all-star team together to help remove logjams this weekend, in the Chickamauga Creek system that borders Camp Jordan Park.
Teaming together on the project at Camp Jordan Park are workers from the City of East Ridge, the South Chickamauga Creek Alliance, the Tennessee Valley Canoe Club, AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry, Big Woody's Tree Service, the American Canoe Club, LL Bean and many volunteers.
Mr. Ledbetter calls the procedure a “unique clean-up effort.”
“For years a major log-jam has developed along this section of creek, making it impossible to paddle the whole section without having to get out and drag your canoe across slippery, deep mud and uneven footing in order to get around the jam,” Mr. Ledbetter said. “This jam was also the one that a body was found in during the Tennessee River Rescue in October of 2013. While removing this jam, other teams will be working from canoes to clear other low-hanging limbs and logs within the creek that are hazardous to newer paddlers.”
Girish Patel is the Health, Safety, Environmental and Security manager for the Americas and Marco Salenda owns the same title with AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry.
The company has supported the Tennessee River Rescue for more than 20 years and is the major donor in the logjam removal project.
Mr. Patel said the South Chickamauga Creek and the local community are important to the employees at the AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry’s site in Chattanooga. The creek borders the site near Amnicola Highway and many of the employees are going to donate their time for the project.
“The plans consist of (Big Woody’s Tree Service) cutting up and chipping the logjam trees and spreading the chips in the surrounding wooded area,” Mr. Salenda said. “Removal of the logjam while retaining the chips at the site will maintain the local ecosystem, provide the community with unrestricted access to the creek for canoeing and other recreational activities, and reduce the rate of accumulation of debris in the creek.”
Sandy Kurtz is the co-chairman of South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance and extremely involved in the logjam removal.
“As more and more people are able to recreate in and along South Chickamauga Creek, they will discover what a wonderful treasure we have and understand the importance of protecting it,” she said. “Thanks to those who will make that more feasible when that logjam disappears.”
Tower Construction is working to build a new canoe launch and update another at Camp Jordan Park from funding provided by the Lyndhurst Foundation.
“Camp Jordan Park is developing a 2 1/2 mile canoe trail with a constructed put-in and take-out at either end,” Mr. Ledbetter said. “Several organizations have been pooling their resources in an effort to give the community this unique, easily accessible recreational opportunity.”
East Ridge Parks and Recreation Director Stump Martin said he appreciated all of the help to open up clear paths in the creek.
“This is a great opportunity to help give canoeing enthusiasts a beautiful place to enjoy the creek,” Mr. Martin said. “Those who are joining together to make this possible are passionate about our blueway system. Speaking on behalf of those involved in our parks and recreation department and our city, I just want to thank everyone for their time and funding that is going towards this project. This type effort continues with our plan to make Camp Jordan an even more special destination.”
Camp Jordan Park is at the confluence of the West Chickamauga Creek that flows from Chickamauga, Ga. where it borders the Chickamauga Battlefield. The historic creek then passes through Fort Oglethorpe before entering Tennessee near Boyd's Speedway and the South Chickamauga Creek, which flows from south of Ringgold, through Graysville and past the Audubon Acres.
“The canoe trail takeout is being positioned at the confluence, with the trail extending up the West Fork for about 2 1/2 miles,” Mr. Ledbetter said. “One of the unique features is that the creek meanders in such a way that the put-in and take-out are both on Camp Jordan property and are only a few hundred yards apart. This will allow paddlers to take the paved walking trail back to where they put in.”
Mr. Ledbetter describes the creek itself is a continuous gently flowing southern stream that winds through hardwoods and wetlands, giving the most novice paddlers a feeling of real remoteness
"This creek winds around in such a manner that you can paddle a couple of miles and come back to near where you started," Mr. Ledbetter said. "The gentle flow through woods and wetlands make it a great place for those new to canoeing to have a rewarding outdoor experience".
Mr. Ledbetter said this project will be wet, dirty work for those who volunteer.
“But once done this community will have a very accessible venue for the most novice paddlers and a great opportunity for schools and youth groups to see the outdoors as they never have before,” he said.
For more information, contact Jim Ledbetter at 423 322-3691 or Stump Martin at 423 463-4391.