Those present at the meeting were:
Fred Couch called the meeting to order at 10:30 A.M. Hank O’Steen led us in prayer. Everyone present introduced themselves and stated their affiliations. Our host, Kesa Dunn, told us about the renovations being made to town. The area now has an outfitter, Tallapoosa Wild, and business is building very well. The Roanoke Chamber of Commerce provided our great lunch today from leftover tourism money.
The minutes were emailed to ASRT members and they were also posted online for the general public well in advance of today’s meeting. Fred read from the financial report, which shows we presently have a negative balance of $5,000, but we have $8,000 coming in soon.
Fred said we ran into a snag on the Tallapoosa below Tallassee due to a waterfall with a 13 ft. drop – the only way around it is by road. We have portages on Mitchell Dam but they are too steep and too long, pretty tough with a loaded boat. A trail angel charges $50 by vehicle. We are looking for 2 alternatives and we plan to install more signs.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT
Jim said he is still working on the Centreville ramp, which will be the only river access people have had for over a year. He is working with the National Park Service on 100 miles of river on the Chattahoochee and grants have been submitted for guidebooks and historical signs. We now have patches for long distance paddlers, as well as member patches. We had a birding event in May and plan to do it again. The Gadsden event was a rural to urban paddle. We have our first weeklong paddle planned for October in the Black Belt. ASRT received a national status award by Secretary of the Interior Salazar after being nominated by our own Ike Lyon. We were one of three river trails awarded, and by far the longest trail. Magazine interviews have resulted from this. We continue our sign projects.
AUTAUGA CREEK EVENT
Ofie and her group are in the process of promoting their creek and recently had their second big event. Around 30 people were present for Friday and Saturday and 40 by Sunday. The city of Prattville helped out and some food was provided. They paddled the millpond and cypress swamp, there was a snake show and catered dinner, a historical tour of the town, and camping was at the sewage plant. Four miles of creek through downtown were previously cleared, with four more recently cleared above the dam down to the new outfitters. Work is being done to clear an additional two more upper miles, for a total of 11. The creek has artesian wells which provide year round water.
Fred suggested that we all spend some time on Facebook, as well as our friends and families, to stir up interest for our trips, especially the upcoming week long paddle event.
Hank recently went with Alagasco to their pipeline under the Alabama River – their legal people are discussing us using the area as a campsite. We are still trying to acquire a campsite every 10 miles. We discussed with a woman getting a campsite on her private property and ended up getting a permanent tent site at a nearby RV park at MM 226.
CHOCCOLOCCO CREEK ADOPTION RATIFICATION
The goal is to promote the watershed and to clean up the creek, also to promote recreation on it. Our board voted to adopt the creek and a motion was made, seconded, and passed today to ratify it. It will be presented at the county commission meeting later this week.
ALABAMA SPORTS FESTIVAL
Fred and Noopie recently attended the Alabama Sports Festival, which is in its 30th year. 6,000 athletes competed last year in 25 sports, but so far no water sports. The idea is to have preliminary races and then go to the festival, which would be a 1 day event, with a lake venue at Oak Mt. State Park. Thousands of people are involved, there is private funding, and lots of sponsorships. We want representatives from all over the state on a committee for marketing purposes.
Fred said we are getting some new members now. We continue to give discounts and offers, such as $15 off events for members.
LONG DISTANCE PADDLERS
Fred provided a full sheet of names of paddlers who have completed the entire trail. He read a letter from Sam Brown. Sam has paddled all over the world and said that ASRT should be a destination. He plans to finish the trail when it gets cooler.
LEGISLATIVE ACTION/FUTURE FUNDING
Norman Burton has secured some money for us through Jacksonville State University. Since our national designation some legislators have taken notice and Norman thinks we will get some money next year. Ike Lyon’s nomination certainly helped.
2013 EVENT PLANNING
Jim was so pleased with this year’s events he plans to repeat them next year. No dates are set – we will need to look at football schedules, maybe tie in with festivals, and schedule around other events in the Delta. We may add the Chattahoochee as a lot of work has been done in that area and they already have established campgrounds. There is talk about doing a partnership with Paddle Georgia. Columbus, Georgia’s $20 + million whitewater project will be completed in 2013.
Linda Vice is looking at Selma as the site for our annual meeting in February. Elections will be held for president, treasurer, at large member, campsite director, etc. There may be a ghost tour in the afternoon. Our next meeting will be on Terrapin Creek in November.
OTHER NEW BUSINESS
Keena Graham with the National Park Service told us about Expedition Alabama. She received a grant to outfit 3 state parks with camping gear to help get minorities involved in outdoor activities, children who could not have afforded to buy such on their own. She wants these children later in life to vote to protect the outdoors. Entertainment opportunities such as music helps get young people interested. She said grants are needed to out reach to diverse groups, and there is a $100,000 limit on the grants. She provided packets on the Trail of Tears she did. Fred told her about the 4-H floats we do each summer for underprivileged children, minorities, and foster children.
Brett Connell spoke briefly about his thesis on aquatic mapping, which includes erosion and habitats.
As there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:54.
Teresa G. Ward