Expedition Seeks To Raise Waterway Awarenesss
Last updated 1/18/2021 at 3:09pm
Four friends are embarking on an ambitious expedition to paddle 340 miles from Fort Clinch State Park on the Atlantic Ocean, up the St. Mary’s River, through the incomparable Okefenokee Swamp and down the Suwannee River to the Gulf of Mexico.
The trip, which will last from Jan. 20 to Feb. 16, will not only set out to be fun, according to a press release, but will aim to raise awareness for “beautiful and threatened waterways.”
The team consists of Jayne Fought (owner of Island Ford Adventures), Clyde Carter (faculty emeritus, wilderness leadership and experiential education at Brevard College), Nelson Stegall (professional landscape and real estate photographer) and Angie Stegall (executive Wayfinder).
Carter dreamed up the coast-to-coast adventure. He was instrumental in the development of the Voice of the Rivers program, now in its 25th year, at Brevard College.
Voice of the Rivers is an expedition program available, regardless of the discipline, to all students and faculty, who study a river from its source to the sea and then spend three weeks paddling the entire waterway.
“I thought it would be great fun to try a coast-to-coast paddle on these three waterways rather than sticking solely to the ‘source-to-sea’ concept,” said Carter.
These four adventurers have a combined total of more than 100 years of outdoor experience spanning forestry, sea Kayaking, whitewater Kayaking and rafting, backpacking, Rock Climbing and environmental education (with several certification therein).
Carter and Stegall are both Eagle Scouts. Fought and Carter are both certified wilderness first responders, American Canoe Association instructors and Leave No Trace educators.
The Stegalls are both CPR and wilderness first aid certified.
American Rivers named the Okefenokee Swamp and St. Mary’s River as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2020, citing the threat titanium mining would pose to the waterways’ clean water, wetlands and wildlife habitat.
The Okefenokee Protection Alliance, a coalition of more than 30 different organizations, focused on protecting the 440,000-acre ecosystem, two rivers and a wilderness destination that attracts over 600,000 visitors annually.
Learn more about the Okefenokee Protection Alliance at http://www.protectokefenokee.org.