Taddler Paddler Newsletter 08-14-20

We (TVCC) can do Anything!
A Message from our President
So another year is about to come to a close…sort of…What a hell-of-a Year!
When you start to live in the rhythm of TVCC, you realize that this organization never stops; the club never stops; the train never stops; all than changes is the point at which you jump on for the ride.  So was this year! 
Other outdoor sports organizations our area have crumbled and fallen apart with the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.  They have quit.  They have rolled up their doormats, and gone away, hoping for better times next year.   Thanks to the best board TVCC has ever fielded, that did not happen to us.  We regrouped after our forced paddle school cancellation, got back on the river as a club, and started training paddlers again.  We’re running trips every weekend and we will continue to do so.  THIS IS AMERICA.  WE CAN DO ANYTHING!  AND GOOD CLUBS CAN DO ANYTHING!  And TVCC led that effort to once again, do what is does best:  train new paddlers and promote paddling in a safe, positive environment.  We’ve shown everybody in the region that we can get it done – Safely.
People, you owe your current board members a debt of gratitude for not quitting in the midst of this COVID-19 mess.  These guys navigated some true class V bureaucracy to get us back on the river.   My thanks to each and every member of the 2020 board for jumping in the raft with me – and pulling ‘all forward’!!
The Girl Scout Raft race is still on for September 12th – please contact Taylor Watson (AKA Momma T) at taylorwatson@comcast.net, 423-304-5102 to volunteer.  There are at least 20 rafts this year, so we need as many of you as can help.  Please lend a hand, we really need you this year. 
Our next slate of club officers for 2021 is getting posted this week.  We still need volunteers for some key positions!  Please join me at the TVCC Fall Club Meeting (after the Girl Scout Raft Race)  at 7:00 PM, September 12th at the FIRESIDE BASECAMP Hiwassee Campground, 369 Spring Creek Rd, Delano, TN  37325.  Pizza and Beer will be served.  Check out the website to ‘register’ for this event, so we know how much pizza to get, ok?  Bring a chair, listen to some music, and help us ratify our next years’ leadership by membership vote.  (per the By-Laws!!)
The Annual Ocoee Down River Race IS STILL ON October 10th.  Keep your eyes on the Webpage and Facebook for registration.  It will be a smaller event this year, but we still need a bunch of folks’ help putting it on.  Cat Vogel, our 2020 Race Director, will be sending out updates as we get closer to race time.
Lastly, I’m asking each of you to consider becoming a leader in TVCC.  We need leaders; we need folks who are willing to step up and be in charge of stuff – not JUST participate in events or JUST be spectators.   We powered through this very tough year because we had folks willing to be leaders, but that is a very fleeting thing.  This club rewards its leaders.  Please consider becoming part of the decision- making team…We need you.
Remember!  The TVCC Fall Club Meeting is September 12th at 7pm  at  the FIRESIDE BASECAMP Hiwassee Campground, 369 Spring Creek Rd, Delano, TN  37325. 

Please ‘register’ for this event on the TVCC website so we know how much pizza to get.  Bring a chair, listen to some music, and help us ratify next years’ leadership.

See you on September 12th!

Mike Shillinger
TVCC President 2020
The Great American Outdoors Act
Signed into Law on August 4th
By Byck Myer
Conservation Officer

In the midst of an election year, partisan bickering is as bad as ever. One bright note is the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which received bi-partisan support, and is supported by the White House. How can this be? Well, it is 2020.
The legislation is a significant milestone for those of us who relish being outdoors. Maintenance of the nation’s parks and public lands has long been a funding nightmare, and the Act establishes a National Park and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund that will provide up to $9 billion over the next five years to remedy this. Maintenance needs will be funded at national parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and other federal lands. $6.5 billion is earmarked for the 419 national park units.
The Act also guarantees $900 million per year in perpetuity for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This conservation program is paid for by royalty payments from offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters. The LWCF was established in 1964 with an authorization level of $900m, but in most years Congress has appropriated less than half of this amount. The LWCF provides funds to National Parks, National Forests, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. Now that funding is assured, and will help with the acquisition of additional lands.
Clearly, a win for the outdoors crowd.
While receiving bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House, Senator Alexander and Senator Blackburn did not agree in their vote, with the former supporting the bill and the latter voting against it. I reached out to Senator Blackburn to ask why she voted no, and received this reply:
“I support protecting Tennessee’s many natural assets and efforts to address the maintenance backlog at our National Parks.  However, by authorizing mandatory funding outside of the annual appropriations process, this bill expands authority for the bureaucracy and removes the ability of elected members to address needs of their constituents.”
Every vote is a political statement, and this one appears to be against bigger government and ceding control from the legislature to the administrative branch. In any event, the GAOA will benefit outdoor enthusiasts for many years to come. 
The Girl Scout Raft race is still on for September 12th 
TVCC will once again be supporting the annual Girl Scout Raft Race on the Hiwassee River. Each year Girl teams and adult teams are invited to build their own separate rafts and compete as they float and paddle down the Hiwassee River. The two-hour float trip will end with girl awards for the fastest raft, the best looking raft, the hard luck raft, and the best Girl Scout skills raft. The race will only be cancelled in case of lightning; rain will not stop the race.  TVCC paddlers will escort the girls down the river, providing safety as well as moral support. 

Please contact Taylor Watson (AKA Momma T)
at taylorwatson@comcast.netor 423-304-5102 to volunteer.  There are at least 20 rafts this year, so we need as many of you as can help.  Please lend a hand, we really need you this year. 
Trip Report 
W. Chick Creek Dietz Rd to Camp Jordan 2

By BG Smith,
Flatwater Cruisemaster

So far, 2020 has been full of surprises and this adventure down the beautiful West Chickamauga Creek was one of them.  The trip provided just enough reminders that this was a “paddle” trip and not a “float” trip!  We had swimmers, not by choice, a sinking ship, and a blood letting!

A whopping 29 paddlers met at the Dietz Road put in on a warm … OK … hot Summer day!  We ran the shuttle and put on by 11 AM. The almost 7 miles to the lower Camp Jordan ramp took about 4 hours which included a nice break about 4 miles downstream.  Temperatures reached 100 degrees during the paddle and people enjoyed swimming, by choice, before we headed downstream and during the lunch stop.  The water level was a bit low, about 65 CFS which created some bony spots during the trip.  Recent rain was not enough to improve the conditions.  Despite the water level the trip still provided a great experience.

The West Chick is characterized by a very gentle flow, but this year’s downed trees and subsequent creek maintenance left a couple spots that needed some tight maneuvering and boat control skills to make it through.  A few spots had some pushy water that caught some folks off guard.  But the three unintentional swims on a very hot day were actually sort of refreshing in a way.  While helping paddlers through one of the tight rocky areas, one of our support boaters slipped and cut their knee.  “Doctor” Scott was there with his ever present 50 pound medical kit to administer his high priced service and all was well later after a few margaritas!

The highlight of the day was the first sinking of a boat on a club trip since anyone can remember, a la the Titanic!  Going over a rock garden area in the creek, the fixed skeg of the boat was ripped off, leaving a sizable hole in the hull, and a sinking ship!  The embedded support boaters were on the scene immediately rescuing the crew and boat quickly.  Boat and paddler made it to the take out safely.  It’s why we wear PFDs!

My thanks go out to our shuttle drivers for the day, Ben, Jo, Sue, Rose and Nancy.  As always, these trips are not possible without your help.  Special thanks today to all my support boaters for handling the unusual situations.  Special thanks to Ben for thinking ahead and bringing his canoe which allowed us to safely extract our sunken boat captain!  Truly a lucky break for us all. Thanks to Mike Alan, Mark Miller, Buck Meyer for assisting Ben and keeping us informed of the situation.  Great teamwork! 

Pictures courtesy of Lorye Nichols, Paul Durland, Eric, and I.
The Annual Ocoee Down River
Race IS STILL ON!!!!
Scheduled for October 10th 

Keep your eyes on the TVCC Webpage and Facebook for registration.  It will be a smaller event this year, but we still need a bunch of folks’ help putting it on.  Cat Vogel, our 2020 Race Director, will be sending out updates as we get closer to race time.
Safe Paddling Procedures
By Flatwater Cruisemaster BG Smith:******You must sign both waivers!******1) TVCC Annual Waiver Link for Participants to Sign: https://waiver.smartwaiver.com/e/MHyj4KpbDpnPcSALLdNsPh/ 2) TVCC Communicable Disease Waiver Link for Participants to Sign: https://waiver.smartwaiver.com/e/yPFgvfQQfmQYqGdaw65a64/  1. I need to know you are coming! So, let me know! Planning shuttles will be a little harder. TVCC on-line waivers must be completed before arriving at the river! 2. I will ask you a couple questions at the river: – Are you feeling OK? – Have you had a fever or any typical flu-like symptoms in last 48-hours? – Have you been in contact with or have you been caring for anyone in last 14 days with known COVID-19 diagnosis or anyone with flu-like symptoms? 3. Do not come to the river if you are in doubt to answers to Questions in #2! 4. Bring a mask and plan to use it. We will wear masks while operating around ramp areas and when we run shuttle. You will need to carry the mask in your boat, in a dry bag or other waterproof container. NO MASK – NO PADDLE! This is a hard stop. You will wear a mask at the ramp and during all shuttles. No quibbling and no buts … 5. When we run shuttles, we will put no more than 4 people in a vehicle and space them in the corner seats. Did I mention you will wear a mask in the vehicle! Bring a mask – wear it! We will drive with A/C on, no recirculation modes engaged, and the windows on the vehicle down! If you do not want to be in a vehicle with others I understand and need to know that up front so the shuttle plan can be properly arranged. We want you to paddle. We want you to feel safe. We will figure out the shuttle to make it work. It may take extra vehicles. 6. As much as possible, handle your own gear. Carrying boats is OK, by the bow/stern grab handles. Limit handling other people’s gear unless from same family group. 7. If we have big groups to launch and head down river, we will break up into smaller groups of about 10 people and launch in those smaller groups. I will assign a lead and sweep to each of these groups. 8. On the river we will stay spaced by about 6+ feet. This is pretty much what happens anyway, just we will be cognizant now! 9. No sharing of food, drinks, snacks on the river! Bring your own! 10. Bring hand sanitizer and any other sanitizers you are comfortable with. I will have a big bottle of hand sanitizer and a spray bottle of disinfectant to clean hands and wipe down vehicles as needed. 
Nickajack Bat Cave Trip
Shellmound Park
When: Sat, August 22, 2020, 6:45 PM
Location: Nickajack Lake, TN.
We’ll meet at 6:45 pm EST at Shellmound and then put on to watch the bats emerge from the cave at sunset. 3 mile round trip paddle.   Need to be unloaded and ready to put on by 7:30 PM.  We will adjust based on climate conditions that night so best to be a little early.   Please note:  these times are all Eastern Daylight Time even though the lake and bat cave are in Central Time zone.  Special requirements:  Bring a light to put on your boat that provides 360 degree coverage.If interested email/text me by 4 pm on Thursday August 20th and check your email that night for details. BG Smith at  bgsmith11@gmail.com or 703-398-7836

See article above for safe paddling requirements.

What’s special about this paddle:
Nickajack Cave, partially flooded by its namesake lake, is considered to be biologically one of the most important caves in Tennessee. This is primarily because of the thousands of gray bats that inhabit it from late April through early October. The gray bat, a medium-sized short-eared species, is one of over a dozen in Tennessee and is listed as federally endangered.During the time of year they roost in Nickajack Cave, which is also when they give birth to their young, they emerge each evening around sundown from the mouth of the cave to search for food in a continuous stream estimated to contain over 100,000 bats and lasting about 45 minutes. It is estimated they consume 274,000 pounds of insects a year. Although they prefer mayflies and stoneflies, they also eat mosquitoes, caddis flies, beetles, moths and other aquatic insects. In the fall, the bats move to cooler caves for hibernation.Over the last decade, a fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats has spread from New York over much of the U.S. and Canada, posing a serious threat to bat populations and resulting in the closure of many public caves. But there’s good news. Recently, scientists and conservationists have successfully treated bats for white-nose syndrome and released them back into the wild. Click here to learn more.Cliff swallows also inhabit the cave, co-existing with the bats and building mud nests on the ceiling.
Make Plans NOW for the

Elk River overnighter

Start: Sat, September 19, 2020,  9:00 AM

End: Sun, September 20, 2020, 5:00 PM

Location: Elk RiverBeautiful clear dam fed river with a clean grass cut large campsite. Contact UweZitzow@comcast.net to be put on the trip’s info email list.