Ribbon-Cutting for Three New Cochran Shoals River Overlooks Celebrated by Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy and Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, the Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy (CNPC) and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) held a ribbon-cutting to celebrate completion of the replacement of three river overlooks at the CRNRA’s Cochran Shoals unit. Construction of the overlooks was funded and managed by CNPC. The official Friends group for the CRNRA, CNPC provides funding and volunteers to support park initiatives and promotes stewardship of its natural and cultural resources. Part of the national park system, the CRNRA encompasses 15 park units along 48 miles of the Chattahoochee River in metro Atlanta and the US’s first National Water Trail.
The three overlooks are located directly on the Chattahoochee River along Cochran Shoals’ popular Fitness Loop, a riverside trail that sees approximately 20% of the park’s annual visitation. Well-loved by park visitors for years, the original overlooks had deteriorated beyond repair. In 2019, Chattahoochee Road Runners, a running club that often runs in the park, approached the CRNRA about a donation in memory of member Michael Kaye. Kaye loved the park, and the club’s donation became the catalyst for CNPC to begin fundraising to replace the overlooks. In 2020, donations in memory of another park lover, Chris Poucher, provided additional funds for the project. Further support for the overlooks was contributed by individual and corporate donors, with CNPC collectively raising $60,000 to complete the Cochran Shoals project.
Construction began in March of 2021, starting with an unstable overlook that had been closed. The first new overlook was opened in April 2021, followed by the completion of the second overlook in May and third in early August. The overlooks were constructed using helical piers, which is a more efficient method of construction that does not require working from the riverbed. It is also a low impact approach that minimizes disturbance in sensitive areas. All three overlooks are now open to the public for visitors to enjoy expansive river views and are located along the future Chattahoochee RiverLands Greenway.
“The ribbon cutting is not only a celebration of the park and completion of a great project, but the celebration of the lives of two park lovers whose memories sparked the fundraising for this wonderful project,” said CNPC Board President Phillip Hodges. “The CRNRA is beloved by local residents who enjoy the unique national park experience close to where they live. The park now deserves our attention and support to maintain its beautiful park units for use by today’s visitors and conserve the lands and river for future generations.”
Transforming the city’s landscape and conservation efforts when it was formed 43 years ago, the CRNRA is the largest park in metro Atlanta and makes up 20% of the public greenspace. This project serves as a model of CNPC’s support for the national park, which has also included the replacement of the Jones Bridge river overlook, construction of the new Vickery Creek stairway, and restoration of the Sope Creek multi-use trail. Fundraising is underway for further restoration and construction of other park structures and trails. Additional CNPC programs include the Sibley Pond Experience bringing under-resourced fourth graders to the park, education and wellness programs, and individual and corporate volunteer opportunities.
Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy, Inc. isa 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We are proud to support our Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, a unit of the national park system managed by the National Park Service.