National Forest Foundation

Chattooga River Access Volunteer Day

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by Mark Shelley

Known as the Crown Jewel of the Southeast, the Chattooga was the first river east of the Mississippi to receive Wild and Scenic River (WSR) designation. In July 2018, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the WSR Act, we held a stewardship event to support the Chattooga River Access Project on the Nantahala National Forest.

Together with REI, North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps, and the U.S. Forest Service, we spent the day working to increase recreational access through the Chattooga River Trail. Thanks to REI’s support, this project will enhance opportunities for fishermen, hikers, campers, and paddlers on the Chattooga WSR.

The Chattooga was designated as a Wild and Scenic River in 1974. Flowing more than 50 miles from North Carolina to Georgia, the river is one of the longest rivers in the Southeast.

Shane Hunter

During the project, U.S. Forest Staff from the Nantahala National Forest helped volunteers and North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps members. 

Shane Hunter

Shane Hunter

The Chattooga River Access Project and this volunteer effort was made possible by REI support. REI staff helped out with the event – coordinating logistics, supporting volunteers, and of course – getting their hands dirty as well!

Shane Hunter

Shane Hunter

We completed a number of trail restoration and river access tasks, including clearing the debris and combating erosion.

Shane Hunter

Shane Hunter

Volunteers, of course, had a lot of fun during the day! And their hard work, along with REI’s support, will ensure that local communities and Nantahala National Forest visitors will have safe and sustainable access to the beautiful Chattooga Wild and Scenic River for generations to come! 

Shane Hunter

Click here to learn more about our work with REI on the Nantahala National Forest.

A big thank you to Shane Hunter for donating his time and talent to photograph this project. Check out more of his work here.

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