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Etowah River trip this weekend
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Forsyth County News

If you're going

* When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

* Begins: Etowah River at Old Federal Road

* Cost: Free with a membership to the CRBI or UERA, for which a joint membership is $35. Pre-registration required.

* Note: Canoes and kayaks can be rented, and there's a shuttle back to the starting point for a small fee.

* Online:

Given the steep bank, canoe and kayak enthusiast Joe Cook said it can be tough to launch a boat into the Etowah River in Forsyth County.

The Coosa River Basin Initiative, of which he is the executive director, along with the Upper Etowah River Alliance will lead a 15-mile trip from that very launch spot this Saturday.

The group paddle will begin at Old Federal Road in Forsyth and flow west on the river to East Cherokee Drive in Cherokee County.

While the trip's main aim is to have fun, Cook said it will also to raise awareness of the need for public access launch points in the two counties.

"This is an effort to promote recreational use of the river and get people out there so they can learn to appreciate it," Cook said.

The groups have been working to get the 160-mile stretch of the Etowah from Dawson to Floyd counties developed into a "blueway," allowing public access along the water.

Forsyth County plans to open two launching spots at its 225-acre Eagle's Beak property, which the Etowah flows through.

The plans are in the early stages, but county officials appear ready to put the project out for a design bid soon.

Spots are still available for Saturday's trip, but paddlers will need to pre-register, Cook said.