1. Check the flow before you go! “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing water from Buford Dam all week,” said area Chief Ranger Scott Pfeninger, “so the river has been running unusually high and fast. If you see it that high, we advise you not to float.” The corps does not issue information regarding future water releases. The best way to find out about scheduled water releases is to call 1-855-DAM-FLOW (1-855-326-3569) on the morning of the day you plan to be on the river. In addition, flow information is also available on the area’s web site at www.nps.gov/chat under “Park Alerts.”
2. Clear water is probably clean water. “Bacteria counts have been high this week due to all the recent rain,” Pfeninger said. “Visitors should check the bacteria counts before they get on the water.” Bacteria counts are available on the park web site at www.nps.gov/chat under “Park Alerts.” Water clarity is often an indicator of bacteria counts, because the same runoff that brings mud into the river also brings materials that can carry bacteria such as e. coli.
3. Wear it! Life jacket regulations are changing this summer. A new Georgia state law requires all persons under 13 to wear a personal flotation device at all times on moving watercraft. This is a new requirement this summer. In addi-tion, all adults are required to have personal flotation devices with them on the river at all times. Check out this video by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources at http://bit.ly/16Wm3h5.
4. Bring a trash bag! With fewer trash cans in the park, all visitors are expected to pack out their trash — including pet waste. “Most people are really helping out with the effort to keep the park clean,” said area Superintendent Patty Wissinger. “We really appreciate everyone’s cooperation in helping us take care of this wonderful national park right here in Atlanta’s back yard.”
5. Follow us! The area is on Twitter at @ChattahoocheeNP. It will be tweeting throughout the weekend with up-dates on river conditions and which parking lots are filling up. Popular spots such as Powers Island in Sandy Springs and Paces Mill in Vinings typically fill up on holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, so remember to carpool and arrive early.