ALABAMA SCENIC RIVER TRAIL - MINUTES - ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS - RESOURCE OFFICE
Camden, AL - May 7, 2012
Those present at the meeting were:
Fred Couch Stephen Valdes
Linda Vice Robert Jackson
Teresa Ward Jim Emerson
Jim Felder James Wallace
Ike Lyon Tom Chesnutt
Jason Haynes Jim Bonner
Jason Ledbetter Fran Cook
John Matthews Chip Dixon
Brandon Smith Ofie Hardin
Fred Couch called the meeting to order at 10:35. Ike Lyon led us in prayer. Park Manager Jason Haynes went around the room and allowed everyone to introduce themselves and their affiliations. The minutes were presented and later approved. As we don’t currently have a treasurer, Fred presented the treasurer’s report. Fred added that $6200 for payroll came in last Friday. A $6250 payroll grant will be coming in soon. All $4,000 proration was taken out of this. We will be ordering additional campsite signs with an $11,000 grant. We are to be given a $5,000 grant for our June event in Gadsden. Treasurer’s report approved.
Robert Jackson said there are portage shortages possible but it will mean lots of changes. There is a dangerous waterfall on the Tallapoosa near Harris dam that will need a portage there.
Still no fuel in Mt. Vernon. The fuel truck was hauled to Mobile for repairs and will then be moved back to Mt. Vernon. A sign will be put on the river, but word will get around.
TERRAPIN ADVENTURE RACE
The race has raised $3100 overall in 3 years. We were disappointed in the smaller participation this year. We are looking at doing a smaller race on flat terrain this fall, possibly in Ohatchee. 500 racers could bring in $30,000.
Still waiting on ALDOT for decision.
BARTRAM TRAIL APRIL EVENT
This trip was cancelled due to a huge tree in the bayou that couldn’t be removed in time. The trip will be rescheduled for later.
APRIL ‘WINTER’ WILCOX
– No report
NATIONAL WATER TRAIL SYSTEM NOMINATION
Ike praised Fred for his vision and ASRT for all we’ve done, which is why he nominated us. This will be advertised broadly and dignitaries will be present. Ike wants Camden to get river access so they can be a city covered by The Trail. He showed us the expansive information he used for the nomination, plus letters of support. He showed pictures used from floats. He assured us a win.
Ike wants a steamboat on the Alabama River and is looking for grants and interested people. A woman suggested contacting the Montgomery river dinner cruise about first expanding south. A docking facility would be needed.
Ike procured vehicles that have been used in previous disasters. He is turning them into rolling billboards and will be using the vehicles for safety classes and such. The state record alligator was caught in Camden and may go on tour. Ike said Wilcox County needs additional boat launches and that he wants a first class marina. The vehicles were toured after the meeting.
Fred asked for a sub committee consisting of Linda Vice and other locals to work toward Ike’s vision by talking to Dr. David Bronner, financial guru.
Jim said we presently have 70 campsites on the river and signs have been posted. He showed us the signs. A very few have an extra sign on the post telling people they can call the land owner for assistance.
We paid very little for the trailer and Steve Barnes did some work on it. It is 10 ft. high, painted bright yellow, and will haul 20 boats.
TERRAPIN CREEK VIDEO
Jamie Higgins, one of the attendees on the Terrapin event last year, filmed the 3 day float from her head cam. She did a great job, but we didn’t watch it due to limited time.
RATIFICATION OF NEW WATERWAYS ADOPTION
Sandy Creek and White Oak Creek in Barbour County were previously approved as an addition to The Trail. A motion was made and seconded for ratification at this meeting.
Matt Woodfin has taken over our membership duties. Acquiring new members is our goal. We also need funds, public relations, and to get our foot into the educational door. We now have over 5,000 miles of waterways so we need more campsites. If we have a campsite every 10 miles it would require 500 signs.
CURRENT 631 MILE PADDLERS
Fred read a list of the people who have completed the entire trail and told us about someone who is currently making the trip along with his 2 dogs.
800 KIDS TAUGHT KAYAKING
David West, Calhoun County Extension Agent, works with Fred and other volunteers several times a year to take groups of kids down a river or creek. Some groups are with 4-H and some are with the local Attention Home. Some of these kids couldn’t swim and some didn’t even know how to skip rocks. Each year on Earth Day at McClellan several hundred kids are taught kayak basics on the ground. They are allowed to sit in the boats, taught how to paddle, how to throw a safety rope, and how to put on a PFD.
AUTAUGA CREEK IMPROVEMENTS COMMITTEE
Ofie provided us with an update. Four miles of creek have been cleared and they continue to do more. They are also doing a walking trail which will shadow the waterway. Most of the trail is in the city and private landowners are giving their right of way. They continue to work on the last 2 miles as there is still no road access. Prattville just had a City Fest and the committee provided an information booth. The old Dog Pound will be leased for $1 per year to store kayaks – they hope for 12 boats soon. The Autauga always has water because it has springs coming in. A VIP float is planned soon and Ofie wants the VIPs on the water and to help the committee with funding. Ofie said she would like to see Alabama as the Paddle Sports State.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT
Regarding the $40,000 Google Grant, we are now one of the ads that pops up. A private landowner shut down the previous Centreville ramp, leaving no access in town. The mayor found a couple with 9 acres on the Cahaba who plan to do a ramp for continuous use. We are having patches made for people who have completed the initial 631 miles – some people of a certain membership level will also receive patches. Outfitters across the state continue to give discounts to members. This year we did one poster for the year’s events, with t shirts to match, instead of doing separate posters and shirts for separate events. In southeast Alabama we are adding about 100 miles of the Chattahoochee to The Trail. Columbus, Ga. is building the largest whitewater course in the country, which has an Alabama side to it. Sea Kayaker magazine did an article on ASRT, which was the longest article ever given anyone.
OTHER NEW BUSINESS
Representatives from Demopolis were present and said they would like to work with us to have a quarterly meeting in their area. They are having their first paddle event which coincides with our event there. They are seeing lots of kayakers on the water now and would like to see results there as on the Alabama River. They plan to look for campsites and Fred will help with the legalities for the landowners.
As there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:40. Next quarterly meeting to be held August 6 in Roanoke, AL.
Teresa G. Ward,