Monthly Archives: May 2017

Off to the Races

Sports

Off to the RacesLocal sailors can enhance their summer fun each week with a little friendly competition 

Augusta Sailing Club is full of traditions, and an annual summertime favorite is the Wednesday Night Fun Race. This year the informal races will be held May 31 – July 26, with the exception of July 5.

“It’s low key. We don’t even keep score. People just show up and put their boat in the water and join in,” says Martinez resident Dick Mayne, who has been sailing since 1958 and is a longtime member of the club. 

Participating sailboats range from 14-foot Sunfishes and 16-foot MCs to 20-foot Seaboats and 28-foot E scows. The 400-yard races get underway about 6:30 p.m., and depending on the wind, the Sailing Club will run three or four races. Dictated by the weather, the number of boats typically range from four or five to 10 to 15.

“There’s no limit on the number of boats that can race at once,” says Mayne. “If we have a lot of boats, we just move the starting line to make the race longer.”

Off to the RacesPeople do not have to belong to the Sailing Club, which was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1953 to promote sailing, to participate in the races. However, Mayne recommends that nonmembers contact the club in advance if they would like to join the fun. “Otherwise, the gate is locked, and they won’t be able to get in,” he says. 

Volunteers serve dinner after the races. The cost of the dinners, which could include hot dogs, hamburgers or lasagna, generally range from $5 – $7.

“We just want everyone to come out and enjoy sailing and have a good time,” Mayne says.

Visitors can contact the facility at (706) 305-7357 or manager@augustasailingclub.org. For more information, visit augustasailingclub.org.

Little River Water Trail

Sports
Water Trail

Georgia’s Little River Water Trail is a wildlife sanctuary for bald eagle nests, river otters, turtles and other animals, and its history includes gold mines as well as Quaker and Native American Indian settlements. (Mark Rodgers photo)

Happy Trail
Georgia’s Little River Water Trail will make a big splash in the area recreational, environmental and tourism community. The development of Georgia’s Little River into a water trail has been underway for several months, and the effort continues to build momentum.

Similar to a hiking trail, a water trail has safe public access points, information kiosks and signage, and family friendly amenities such as picnic areas and facilities along the route.

The trail flows 20 miles through Wilkes, Warren and McDuffie counties within the 15,000-acre Clarks Hill Wildlife Management Area, and it includes four public access locations – Highway 80, Highway 78, Holliday Park and Raysvillle Campground. The water trail is a wildlife sanctuary for bald eagle nests, river otters, turtles and other animals, and its history includes gold mines as well as Quaker and Native American Indian settlements.

The Little River Water Trail is being developed by various community stakeholders including McDuffie, Wilkes and Warren counties; the Army Corps of Engineers; the Department of Natural Resources; landowners; local business owners; Boy Scout troop leaders and local paddlers. Gwyneth Moody, the Georgia River Network director of programs and outreach, is helping as well.

“Georgia River Network’s water trails technical assistance program helps communities form comprehensive water trail stakeholder partnerships as well as providing them with guidance and resources to begin developing a sustainable water trail,” Moody says. “It’s a win-win for everyone – and most importantly our rivers as water trails are also an effective way to introduce people to river issues and to engage them in the protection of their local waterways.” 

Developments include the passage of the Georgia’s Little River Water Trail Resolutions of Support by McDuffie and Wilkes counties, social media updates and the design of marketing materials. Trail head kiosks have been put up at some access points, and kayak rentals are available at Raysville Campground. Georgia River Network also held a two-day paddle and campout on Little River in May.

“Ultimately, Georgia River Network hopes to see Georgia’s Little River Water Trail join the statewide Georgia Water Trails Network consisting of the 15 water trails that have successfully fulfilled the six criteria required to become an officially established water trail. 

Under the criteria, the water trail must:

  • Be sponsored, maintained and promoted by a local entity or partnership;
  • Have publicly accessible areas that paddlers can legally access and safely unload boats and park vehicles;
  • Have river access sites that are appropriately spaced apart on the river so that they may be reasonable paddled in a few hours or a full day;
  • Have water access to public overnight camping sites, depending on the length of the trail;
  • Provide information about the water trail to paddlers through a website and illustrative maps created by the sponsoring entity;
  • Place signage or kiosks that include river etiquette information, paddling safety information and a map of the water trail at all access points.

The water trail will be divided into three sections – Highway 80/Wrightsboro Road Bridge in McDuffie County to Highway 78 (7.63 miles), Highway 78 to Holliday Park in Wilkes County (7.86 miles) and Holliday Park to Raysville Campground in McDuffie County (4.53 miles).

“This is a great opportunity for McDuffie County to take advantage of our close proximity to Clarks Hill Lake, and it will open up a whole new world of outdoor recreation, family fun and business opportunities for our community,” says Elizabeth Vance, the Thomson-McDuffie County Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director and Little River Water Trail coordinator.

A ribbon cutting is slated for later this summer once the six water trail criteria have been met.

Grilled Corn Salad

Salads
  • Food Salad6 ears sweet corn
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing corn
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Slivered almonds 

Remove husks and silk from corn. Prepare grill to medium high heat. Brush corn lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill 6-7 minutes until charred in spots but still slightly crisp. Remove from grill and let cool slightly before cutting kernels from the cobs. Scrape kernels off, rows at a time, with a sharp kitchen knife and set on plates. Place tomatoes and onion in a bowl and set aside. In a separate small bowl, mix together the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Pour dressing over tomatoes and onion and toss to thoroughly coat. Spoon tomatoes and onions over corn. Garnish with almond slivers and serve. Makes 6 servings.

 

Dive Rescue and Recovery Team

Community Groups in Action

Dive Rescue and Recovery TeamEmergencies can occur anytime, anywhere. However, if something happens on local waterways, the Columbia County Dive Rescue and Recovery Team is ready to respond.

The team is made up of 40 volunteers who receive training and diving certifications from a nationally recognized agency. They must meet the physical requirements necessary to perform underwater recovery specialist and boat operator duties, and they also purchase their own diving equipment. 

Dive Rescue and Recovery Team“They train on their own time at their own expense,” says Danny Kuhlmann, the operations chief of Columbia County Fire Rescue, which oversees the team. “The fire department maintains other equipment and gets it to the dive sites. We’re here to help the team in any way possible.” 

Duties include conducting underwater searches for missing persons and forensic underwater searches for physical evidence. “The county has so much water in addition to Clarks Hill Lake and the Savannah River,” says Kuhlmann. “There are hundreds and hundreds of ponds in the county.” 

The dive team also performs surface and ground searches, rescue and safety operations, and public safety demonstrations and presentations. In addition, dive team members provide support for local events such as the Adaptive Water Ski Clinic, Benderdinker and Heroes on the Water. 

Dive Rescue and Recovery Team“This is a fantastic volunteer group right here in our back yard that we rarely think about until an emergency happens. Constant training and preparation enables them to respond quickly when a dreaded accident occurs. Our hat’s off to these wonderful folks,” says Phil Alexander, CallingPost founder.

Volunteers range in age from 18 to 60, but not all of them are divers. Some are boat operators; others help suit up divers and watch over them when they are on a mission. The team also has a volunteer who performs administrative duties.

Kuhlmann says the number of volunteers cannot exceed 40. However, anyone who is interested in becoming part of the team can email him at dkuhlmann@columbiacountyga.gov. He will contact  eligible applicants as openings become available.