About three dozen people from across the state this weekend are celebrating the completion of an Alabama Scenic River Trial project on Terrapin Creek, which passes through Calhoun County just east of Piedmont.
Today marks the conclusion of the group’s celebratory three-day paddling trip on the creek.
Trail organizers have been using a $27,738 federal grant to build ramps at the creek’s edge as canoe and kayak input sites. The last one was completed just last week; the weekend paddlers stopped at each one and battled adverse conditions from Friday’s storms along the way.
“We got a little bit more water than we expected,” said Fred Couch, the trial organization’s president. “It’s been a fast run.”
The water a few feet away churned up whitecaps on a short section of water just down from Piedmont’s Waste Water Treatment Plant. With kayaks and canoes pulled up onto a grassy hill, the participants were making their second stop on the river trail tour.
“This is a good stream. It’s oxygenated and it’s healthy,” said Jim Felder, the scenic river trail’s executive director as he stood beside the creek. “It’s something that has disappeared all over the world and you’re really lucky to have it here.”
The crew began the three-day adventure Friday at the Borden Springs launch on County Road 49. They continued on to the Chief Ladiga Campground just north of Vigo, where they camped though the storms, and Saturday they carried on down the creek until the reached the Spring Garden Road launch just outside of Piedmont. There they celebrated the new launch.
Next, the travelers paddled on to Stewarts Bridge, where they stayed for the night. Today they wrap up their trek at the Terrapin Outdoor Center.
Terrapin is just one arm of the Scenic River Trail’s system, which comprises waterways across the state.
When the trail was first established in 2007 it included 613 miles of waterway. In the four years that have passed the trail system’s organizers have overseen the adoption of more than twice that, they said. Today the water trail totals approximately 15,000 miles and in just few years Felder expects the mileage to double again.
Fielder added that a concentration of those miles is located in northeastern Alabama and that the organization is working to secure more grants to build more access ramps and directional signs for them.
“This is definitely the hot spot,” he said.
Star staff writer Laura Johnson: 256-235-3544.