The Paddler Tattler – September 7, 2020

Annual club meeting is full

The New Location of the TVCC Fall Member meeting has changed!
The Date Remains Sept 12th
The Fall Member Meeting will now be held at

629 Welcome Valley Road, Benton, TN 37307

If you are interested in camping, please contact the OAR office at 423-338-5746.

Please join us at the TVCC Fall Club Meeting (after the Girl Scout Raft Race) at 7:00 PM, September 12th at the O.A.R Pavillion. Pizza and Beer will be served. Check out the TVCC website to ‘register’ for this event, so we know how much pizza to get, ok? Bring a chair, listen to some music (A local musician will be pickin’ for us!!) and help us ratify our next years’ leadership by membership vote. (per the By-Laws!!) A list of proposed officers for 2021 is listed below.

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.

Mike Shillinger
TVCC President 2020

Proposed TVCC Officers for 2021

They will be voted on at the Fall Member Meeting
President: Darren Caputo
Vice President: Cat Vogel (Paddle School)
Treasurer: Buck Meyer
Secretary: Kathy Cusick
Communications: Dian Lawhon
Webmaster: David Riall
Conservation: Dixie Riall
Safety Robert Theurer
Training: Karla Gann
CM1: Greg Foster
CM2: Robert Haile
CM3: Ben Johnson, Dave Leigh
CM4: Liz Young
CM5: BG Smith
Non-Paddling: TBD
Quartermaster: Scott Painter
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!

TVCC Offers First Aid and CPR Certification Course

When: Monday, September 14, 2020 at 6 pm
Location: Hixson, TN (address TBD)

Come learn to save a life! TVCC’s own Alison Bolnick, a certified American Heart Association Instructor, will teach & certify students how to properly perform Rescue Breathing, CPR, the use of the AED, and proper 1st Aid Techniques.
This course is accredited by the American Heart Association and meets the standards for ACA instructor mandatory two year maintenance certification.

This session is for September 14th, 2020 starting at 6:00 PM.

This First Aid and CPR certification course costs $50.00. The CPR section will take approximately 2.5 hours to complete and will be held first, those who only need a CPR certification can leave early. These rates is nearly half of what others charge so come get it while you can! (space is limited so no refunds after registration)

The course will be held in Hixson, TN. Exact location to be announced.

If this course fills up and you are looking for your CPR & First Aid Certification please email and we will look at setting up a second session.

To register go to:

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, or 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.

Sign up NLT Thursday
for the
Lower Ocoee River – Flatwater Paddle

By BG Smith,
Flatwater Cruisemaster

This is a 12 mile flatwater paddle down the beautiful lower Ocoee River from Dam #1 to the Hiwassee River. It’s 12 miles, but will only take 3.5 hours. Come join the fun!
If interested in this trip contact the Trip Leader, BG Smith, at by Thurs Sep 10th at 4 PM. Details will be sent out later that evening to registered paddlers.
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:

2) TVCC Communicable Disease Waiver Link for Participants to Sign:

  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 actually 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
    A Battle Worth Carping About

The Asian (Carp) Invasion

The Tennessee Aquarium is exploring the ecological significance of the influx of invasive Asian Carp (Silver Carp, in particular) into the rivers and lakes of the American Midwest and South. Millions of pounds of these fish are being removed from waterways through a combination of government incentives to encourage commercial fishing, stunning them through electrofishing and the installation of bioacoustic fish fences (BAFFs). Some of the organizations involved in this uphill battle include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Federation, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Check out this video and others for the (scary) details.

Find out more and what you can do to help:,-This%20species%20of&text=They%20compete%20for%20food%20and,jet%20skiers%2C%20and%20water%20skiers.

Tennessee River Pot Point

Overnighter Reminder

Start: Sat, October 31, 2020; 9:00 AM
End: Sun, November 01, 2020; 5:00 PM
Location: Tennessee River Blueway
Paddling The Tennessee River Blueway

Do you ever have the desire to escape the routines of your life, to get out and merge with nature, observe wildlife and experience your world from a different perspective? If you answered, “yes” to any if that, then check the following:

The Tennessee River Gorge falls within the Tennessee River Blueway, a river trail formed by TVA in the 1930s that runs for 45 miles from Chickamauga Dam to Nickajack Dam. The best information for traveling on the Tennessee Blueway is located at Canoe Tennessee’s website. You can also head over to Outdoor Chattanooga’s website for tons of information on exploring the Gorge via water.

The Tennessee River Blueway is a beautiful section of the Tennessee River that flows through Chattanooga, Tennessee from the Chickamauga Dam, about 50 miles down river to the Nickajack Dam. We will put-in at Suck Creek ramp after meeting at 10am to start the shuttle. Our campsite is 5.4 miles down at Pot Point which is just down river from the Pot House. You can either paddle two days and camp, or you can paddle one day only with us and take off.

Contact 423-400-2590

Toccoa River overnighter

Start: Sat, October 17, 2020; 10:00 AM
End: Sun, October 18, 2020; 5:00 PM
Location: Toccoa River, Suches, GA

Beautiful hidden campground on the clear free flowing Toccoa River.

There is only 1 low class III rapid, and if you flip, you are right at the campsite. So don’t let that one rapid stop you from coming. You do need to have Class II maneuvering skills for the river though.

Contact Ben Johnson at 423 241-3483 now if interest

Elk River Overnighter

Start: Sat, September 19, 2020: 9:00 AM
End: Sun, September 20, 2020; 5:00 PM
Location: Elk River overnighter
Beautiful clear dam fed river with a clean grass cut large campsite.

Contact to be put on the trip’s info email list.


August 22nd Sunset paddle to Nickajack Bat Cave

By BG Smith, Flatwater Cruisemaster
Photos by Carolyn Rand, Mark Miller and BG Smith

We are on a streak! The weather held up and except for a very brief 2-3 minute light shower right at sunset we enjoyed a great sunset paddle over to the Nickajack Cave to watch the bats emerge.

A staggering 51 paddlers met up at the Shellmound Park for the 1.5 mile paddle across Nickajack lake to the small cove where the cave resides. The evening started out with perfect weather, low humidity and blue skies. We put on about 7:15 PM EDT for the 40 min paddle over to the cave. Lake conditions were perfect with light winds and smooth surface. A small patch of milfoil about 3/4 of a mile across presented a small challenge to the group. It was only 50-75 feet wide at most, but it was thick, full of dead fish, lots of rotting debris and garbage. Generally a pretty nasty 5 min crossing!! Took a little effort to paddle through due to the density of the milfoil!

A brief rainshower teased us right at sunset when the bats were set to emerge, but is was very light and lasted less than 5 minutes. The bats finally came out shortly after sunset. Those up close to the cave and the fence line had the best views of the spectacle. After 30 minutes we made the trip back across the lake. It was beautiful calm, clear night for a paddle.

Everyone had a great time. My thanks to everyone for helping each other out with launching and recovering boats. Special thanks to Mark Miller for leading the group across the lake and back and providing yeoman’s help getting boats loaded and unloaded for the group.

Want to Learn More?

So lots of people asked me about milfoil. Here is a little info about it:
– Milfoil is an invasive aquatic plant that contaminates lakes throughout the Northeastern/Southeastern United States since the 1960s. It looks harmless enough, resembling a green squirrel tail. Yet, milfoil can grow up to 15 feet long, forming dense mats of vegetation that choke out native species. These mats block sunlight from reaching other submerged plants, killing them, and can deplete oxygen levels in the water while decaying, which hurts fish and other aquatic animals. The plant not only destroys ecosystems but also inhibits recreational water activities, as the dense mats of milfoil make boating or swimming impossible. Furthermore, these large clusters of plant matter are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, more bad news for those who visit lakes.

People also asked about the gray bats and we talked briefly about the white-nose syndrome which has devastated bat populations across North America for almost 2 decades. Here are a couple links to help you learn more:

TRIP REPORT: N. Chick Creek and Dam Lock Through
Sep 5, 2020

By BG Smith,
Flatwater Cruisemaster

The streak continues! We had awesome weather for the popular N. Chickamauga Creek and Dam LockThru. A great Fall day!

A total of 33 paddlers met up at Greenway Farms in Hixson and, after running the shuttle to the Chickamauga Day Use Boat Ramp, we put on for the short 3.25 mile paddle down the N. Chick to the confluence with the Tennessee River. Along the way we were entertained by numerous Great Blue Herons and a Red-tailed Hawk. The back-flow current caused by the release at the dam caught some paddlers by surprise! They had to actually paddle instead of just float down the creek!

The highlight of the trip of course was the lock through of the Chickamauga Dam, Our timing was perfect as we arrived at the dam just as they were lowering it to allow two private boats to transition down river. So after only about 10 minutes we were allowed into the dam to start our transition up river. The dam raised us 53′ but took a little longer than normal as one of the valves was not operating properly. No one seemed to mind.

Interestingly, when we called to request clearance, the lockmaster, Doug Sarrell, turned out to be an avid local paddler himself. He took a couple pictures of our group inside the dam during our passage and shared them with us. A unique perspective that no one remembers having seen before!

After safely clearing the dam, the flotilla found itself on the windy and choppy waters of Chickamauga Lake for the last 1 mile over to the take out for a 4.5 mile total trip.

The diverse paddle environments on this trip is interesting to note. We had beautiful serene creek conditions for the first miles of the N. Chick, then found ourselves paddling against a current and headwind for the next mile and a half and finally out onto the lake where small waves and wind caused water to crash over the decks of our boats. Lots of fun! Makes you stop to consider the type boat and gear you are using for a trip! Those folks paddling the shorter SOTs and whitewater boats might have wished for a longer recreation or expedition type boat! So when someone asks, “How many boats do you have?”, don’t laugh when they say, “I don’t know. Maybe 10-12 boats!” They probably have one for each type environment they like to paddle in! One boat is never enough!!

Many thanks to all the folks that shared their photos of this trip. Lots of good ones, Click to link to view.

Lorye Nichols also shared her “Relive” app story, another interesting perspective of the trip. Take a look here: Very cool! Thank you Lorye!

As always, my special thanks to the people that help out with shuttles, boat wrangling, ramp safety, and on water safety. Can’t do it without your help! Lot of things have to work right to make these trips look easy!


  • Next Trip: Saturday Sep 12th: Lower Ocoee River, 12 miles to Dentville Rd
  • Girl Scout Raft Race Support Boaters Sep 12th : Contact Taylor Watson,
  • TVCC Fall Membership Party & Meeting, Sep 12th @ Fireside Basecamp. 7 PM. register at TVCC Website.


Hello Tennessee River Rescue zone leaders!
This year’s Tennessee River Rescue event has been cancelled due to ongoing concerns for our loyal volunteers and risks of coronavirus exposure.
While everyone will be disappointed, we feel this is the proper course of action.
Instead of a large, in-person event, we hope you’ll use your voice on social channels to encourage everyone to eliminate single-use plastics at home and continue recycling. And, while you are enjoying the region’s outdoor recreational areas, take a small trash bag with you to leave the trail in better shape than you found it.
I would hope you and family members will go out during early October and let us know where you went. Shoreline or land anywhere is good…just let us know what you did!! Let us know what tributary or creek or land area you cleaned.
Please share any images (and stories) of your cleanup efforts on our website or the Tennessee River Rescue Facebook page. I encourage you to send us a photo of one or two people cleaning up and tell us where! We could not show groups of people and we cannot encourage that. We will have not dumpsters but you can dispose of your bags along with your own trash.
We may do an event around Earthday, so stay tuned!
We look forward to seeing you the first weekend in October 2021 for the 31st Tennessee River Rescue event!

Christine Hunt
(423) 785-4024

Waivers for paddling during COVID 19 Pandemic

A lot of TVCC members signed new waivers a couple of months ago, however, due to COVID 19, we are required to have new waivers on file for all participants in TVCC trips. Please sign your new waivers before you paddle!!!

Waiver Access Information (both waivers need to be signed):

1) TVCC Annual Waiver Link for Participants to Sign:

2) TVCC Communicable Disease Waiver Link for Participants to Sign:

Check out the official

TVCC website

for all the latest new plus details on all upcoming events, including Paddle School!
Follow TVCC Facebook Page (Events) for list and details on upcoming events.

Check out Photos and stories about recent club activities.