Exploring Georgia’s rivers is easier with this River Guide app

As co-owner of Southeast Adventure Outfitters on St. Simons and Brunswick, Michael Gowen has been organizing kayak tours on the Georgia coast since 1994. It hasn’t always been easy.

“In the past, he always tried to find information on river puts, trips and distances in Georgia, based on the very few books that were there,” he said. “And then it became of trying to find information on the internet, where you could find it.”

He and other kayakers and canoeists host Georgia River Network’s Georgia River Guide app. Released in March, it has been downloaded over 6,000 times.

“Now with an app, everything is in one place,” Gowen said. “And that’s probably the biggest benefit of having kind of a one-stop-shop for information on the river.”

The app is for anyone who wants to paddle, swim, fish, boat or explore Georgia’s waterways, Georgia River Network spokeswoman Sarah Taylor said.

“We were really trying to get it out to really, anyone, new or experienced and to have all the information you would need in one place,” she said. “But we were certainly aware of people who are paddling around with (paddling), people who sometimes want to get out of the house and do it. We wanted to make sure the security information was accurate for them.

Eight years in development, the app draws information from Joe Cook’s River Guides and Suzanne Welander’s River Guides as well as state river keepers, water trail groups and commercial outfitters.

“So we’re really trying to gather information from the people who know their river best,” said Andrea White, community programs coordinator at the Georgia River Network.

Dale Williams is an expert kayaker, but he’s only just gotten into canoeing. He used to think of the canoe as an “outdated craft”, he said.

“Now I find it very graceful and just a beautiful thing to watch someone who is good at how and and so I try to improve my canoeing skills,” said Williams, who owns and operates Sea Kayaking USA, and lives on Tybee Island. Williams looks forward to using the app to tell him water levels, current flow, and where inlets and outlets are.

When it comes to canoeing the Coastal Georgia River, Gowen likes the Altamaha, called the Georgia Amazon because it’s “very big and wild.” And there is also the Satilla with its beautiful white sandbanks.

Paddlers who can’t find their favorite spot on the app can suggest it by emailing [email protected], White said.

“Since we launched the app on March 1, we have already added three new rivers,” she said.

Rena Peck of the Georgia River Network paddles a canoe through the Okefenokee Swamp.

About the Georgia River Guide app

From the iconic wetlands of the Okefenokee Wilderness Area Canoe Water Trail in the southeast, to the limestone banks of the Flint River in the southwest, and the historic waters of the Etowah River in the northwest, the Georgia River Guide maps the perfect section of river for your next adventure. Download the Georgia River Guide from the App Store or the Android app from Google Play.

Features:

  • Audience to access points & river mileage
  • River conditions & recommended executable levels
  • Level of difficulty
  • Specific river rapids or hazards
  • GPS location in-service and access to all data out-of-service cellular
  • Outfitters and shuttle service
  • Cultural and historical points of interest
  • Available Approvals
  • Tips on how to plan your trip and stay safe on the water

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