The Paddler Tattler – Happy New Years 2020

Happy New Year!

Looking forward to another great year of Paddling

Sandhills Crane Paddle Last Saturday
Date: SATURDAY JAN 4th, 10 am
We’ll meet at the ramp at 10 am and paddle up the Hiwassee and around the island and back down the TN River to the put in looking for Sandhill Cranes, Whooping Cranes, and White Pelicans. It’s a five mile paddle and takes about 2.5 hours. We also offer a shorter distance version just straight up the Hiwassee River and back.
After the paddle we’ll head over to the nearby Monkey Town restaurant for grub and grog.

18 paddlers met at 10 am at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge ramp near Dayton, TN on 1/5/20 on a beautiful sunny and 50 degree calm day, which was a lot better than the windy, rainy and cold day yesterday. That’s the good news. The rest is not so much. Firstly apologies to Nancy who I cut out of the photo. I’m going to blame that on Mike as he looks like he’s framing out the end of the photo with his paddle!!. LOl. Of course Pete was off doing laps while we were taking the photo. I need some of whatever he’s on!!. While driving up 27 we saw that Soddy Creek was at summertime lake levels instead of the winter draw down due to the 3 inches of rain we just had. I knew this was bad as the birds congregate on the sand bars and when we got there the water was up in the grass and very few birds around. Last year was bad but this year was even worse and I’m officially calling it the end of an era, and in future we’ll have to call it our winter paddle with a chance of seeing wildlife. Very sad. However, we may be able to still see them in November which I’ll explain later. The first 2 photos are from Phyllis and the 2 immature Bald Eagles is from BG from previous years to give you an idea of how it used to look. We did see 2 Bald Eagles today, a huge flock of sea gulls, and a new shipwreck. OK, so where have all the Sandhill Cranes gone?. I went to a meeting in November with the TWRA (TN Wildlife Resources Agency) Ranger from the Dayton area and it turns out there are many reasons. 1. The TWRA was concerned about diseases spreading so they wanted to spread out the migration concentration. Every year they have been planting less corn there and contracting with surrounding farmers to grow corn like the McDonald farm in Sale Creek. 2. With the winters getting warmer every year we are no longer the half way resting point as the birds don’t fly any further than they have to. This means that instead of just passing through they may decide to just stay here and then they deplete the corn quickly and have to move on. So there were more of birds here in November but they’ve eaten all the food so late arrivals can’t stay here. 3. In 2013 TN allowed Sandhill hunting and so Outfitters have set up blinds and decoys in the farm fields all around the Refuge and they take groups of hunters out who can each bag 3. So they are shooting about 1,000 per year but scaring off thousands more. So with so few birds there why do they need to disperse them?. Doesn’t make sense to me. January 18/19 in the Sandhill Crane Festival up there with people coming from all over and being shuttled over to the viewing area on buses, and they are advertising seeing 20,000 cranes. Ruthie and I stopped by on the way up there today and there weren’t more than 200 birds there so they have killed the Festival also. Anyway, it was a great paddle and the whole group did the 5 mile trip around the island and then we went to the nearby Monkey Town bar/restaurant. Good times. Eric.

TVCC Members Create Interactive River Access Map

Famous for it’s Blueways with hundreds of miles of rivers, creeks and lakes, Chattanooga and the surrounding area is a paddler’s paradise whether you prefer kayaks, canoes or stand-up paddle boards. Now, TVCC members and the general public can review 270 different river access points and pick the ones they want to paddle.
TVCC flatwater cruise master, Eric Fleming, has been padding in this area for decades and collecting information on all the best places to put boats on the water and take out. Working with fellow TVCC member, BG Smith, they created the Interactive map of Chattanooga Area Water Trails. The map provides a comprehensive view of access points for Chattanooga area water trails. It includes points of interest where services like camping, restaurants, and outfitters (rentals, shuttles, tours) can be found. USGS river gauges are shown where available and can be used to check current conditions. The map also includes some sightseeing opportunities.
The Chattanooga Area Water Trail map is posted on the TVCC official website at with links for downloading a printable copy of the map listing all 270 access points.

TVCC Donates $3600 to Local Charities

Each year TVCC raises and donates thousands of dollars to local charities. This year we presented a check for $2500 to Team River Runner Chattanooga (TRR) and $1100 to Friends of the Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park. Both checks were presented at the annual TVCC Christmas party on December 14th. The donations are raised via the annual Ocoee River Race held in October and hosted by TVCC. The Race brings about 150 local, national and even international paddlers to the region and is supported by local businesses with donations of goods and services.
TRR USA was founded in 2004 by Joe Mornini and Mike McCormick with a mission and motto of “Helping Our Wounded Veterans on the River to Recovery.” It is based in Rockville MD, and now has more than 50 active chapters in 31 states, including Chattanooga. TVCC has been supporting the local chapter for five years.
Friends of the Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park work in partnership with the park to preserve and protect the park’s natural resources and scenic beauty. They coordinate events and fundraising activities to enhance the park’s programs and services, encourage community support for the park, and engage in volunteer opportunities to support the park and the organization’s mission. This is the first year that TVCC has supported Friends of the Hiwassee/Ocoee.
Follow TVCC Facebook Page (Events) for list and details on upcoming events.
Check out Photos and stories about recent club activities.