May 2021

First Five Hikers Complete CNPC’s New HikeCRNRA Challenge

CNPC recently launched the HikeCRNRA program to recognize individuals who hike all 66 miles of designated trails within the CRNRA. Five hikers have already completed the challenge! CNPC created the HikeCRNRA program to encourage hikers to explore all 15 park units and 66 miles of maintained hiking trails within the CRNRA and fully experience this beautiful metro area green space along the Chattahoochee River.

Our first five hikers to finish the program are:
  • Marty Speight
  • Tom Cole
  • Sara Womack
  • Phillip & Cathy Hodges

To start the HikeCRNRA challenge, participants can go to Park unit trail maps and trail segment tracking forms are available for downloading. Additionally, a summary form is available to submit to CNPC once all trail segment hikes have been completed. Credit will be given for trail segments completed after December 1, 2020, and hikers will have a lifetime to complete all trail segments. Individuals who hike all designated CRNRA trails will receive a special HikeCRNRA patch, an annual membership to CNPC, and recognition at the annual CNPC members meeting.

Please send us photos and comments on favorite trail segments you experience on your HikeCRNRA journey. Send your name with the park unit, trail shown in the photo, and comments to If you bring your favorite furry friend to hike with you, please remember dogs must be on a leash in the park (and any photos you send), and please pick up and properly dispose of your dog’s waste.

“Bag and Bin It” Backpack Kits are Being Distributed to Dog Adoption Centers  

Through the "Lead the Pack - Bag and Bin It" initiative, CNPC is trying to create a major change in how dog owners care for their dog's waste and promote proper dog waste disposal in the CRNRA. In addition to 37 new dog waste bins, CNPC hopes to educate owners of newly adopted dogs as well as long-time dog lovers on the impact of dog waste in their drinking water supply and the unsightly garbage often left behind.

As part of its outreach, CNPC is launching a new program to distribute free "Bag and Bin It" educational kits to dog adoption shelters across the Atlanta area for new pet owners to learn about the importance of proper dog waste disposal and that dog waste bins with free bags are available throughout the park. Each kit includes a drawstring backpack, waste bag dispenser with bags and a collar clip, a blinking dog-bone shaped collar clip, and an informational card about the importance of proper waste disposal and facts on protecting the watershed.

Educating pet owners will promote a safer and more enjoyable experience for all visitors along the Chattahoochee River. Additional plans include distributing kits and information cards to vet offices, pet stores, pet training programs, and other places dog owners frequent in our efforts to promote the program. The goal is to get pet owners to pick up dog waste everywhere, every time.    

If you would like to find out more or donate towards this program to provide more educational kits to adoption shelters, please go to

Love Sope Creek? Public Input Requested for Sope Creek Assessment

Sope Creek is an incredibly popular part of the CRNRA for many types of recreation. The Sibley Pond area is a trailhead for hiking and biking visitors connecting to Cochran Shoals and an important location for educational programs such as the Sibley Pond Experience, a program in which CNPC and CRNRA host over 400 underserved fourth graders each year. Unfortunately, there is severe erosion in the secondary spillway of the Sope Creek - Sibley Pond Dam, and the CRNRA is expecting funding for an architectural and engineering assessment of the area. The facility study will assess the dam and develop alternatives, but public input is needed to plan for the future of the Sope Creek - Sibley Pond Dam. The NPS is inviting the public to provide early input to inform the anticipated planning. For more information on the project and to provide comments by May 15, please visit

Photo of Sibley Pond by Barnard

NPS celebrates Asian American and Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders enjoy a rich heritage and have both shaped and been shaped by the United States and its history. Their cultures and legacies live on in national parks and communities across America. Here are a few examples:

During World War ll, Japanese Americans faced discrimination and were forced to relocate to internment camps far from their homes. Tule Lake National Monument houses some of the remaining buildings and showcases stories of the 30,000 Japanese Americans who were incarcerated at the Tule Lake Japanese Segregation Center and Camp Tulelake.

Over 11,000 Chinese individuals helped build the Transcontinental Railroad. At the Golden Spike National Historic Site, archeological excavations have uncovered remains of campsites and towns of Chinese workers that help interpret their daily life working on the railroad.

From the early 1900s to the 1940s, Asians and Pacific Islanders moved to the Stedman-Thomas Historic District in Ketchikan, Alaska and played an important role in the history and economic growth of the city. They opened businesses to support the expanding town and worked in Alaska's rapidly growing fishing industry, including many Filipinos who came to work in canneries.

Early Chinese immigrants built some of the original roads and trails at Yosemite National Park, as well as providing cooking and staffing at park lodges. Sing Peak is named after Tie Sing, a Chinese backcountry cook who prepared meals for cartographers and conservationists visiting Yosemite in the late 1800s and early 1900s. 

Hawaiian sugar manufacturing depended on native islanders as laborers and became one of the largest industries in the islands. The Old Sugar Mill of Kōloa, now a National Historic Landmark, was part of Ladd & Company's sugar plantation where in 1841 workers went on strike for higher wages, the first of many strikes affecting sugar plantations in the islands for the rest of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Photo of the Tule Lake Japanese Segregation Center by rocbolt.

Exploring the National Park System in Georgia - Andersonville National Historic Site

This Memorial Day weekend consider exploring Andersonville National Historic Site in Andersonville, GA. Located about two hours south of Atlanta near Americus, the park can be visited as a day trip or covered over the course of a weekend. Three separate factions make up Andersonville National Historic Site: the former Camp Sumter Military prison, the Andersonville National Cemetery, and the National Prisoner of War Museum.

Andersonville Military Prison at Camp Sumter was the largest military prison during the Civil War. It was built in 1864 for the imprisonment of 10,000 Union soldiers, but ultimately held 45,000 prisoners over the course of its 14-month existence. Because of overcrowding, conditions at Camp Sumpter were horrendous – nearly 13,000 prisoners died from malnutrition, disease, and poor sanitation. A series of sales and donations beginning in 1875 ultimately put Andersonville Prison in the care of the National Park Service starting in 1971.

Andersonville National Cemetery is one of 14 cemeteries maintained by the National Park Service. Trench burials began in 1864 for prisoners who died at Andersonville Military Prison. Today, nearly 20,000 individuals are buried at Andersonville National Cemetery; the cemetery is still open and active for military burials.

The National Prisoner of War Museum, which opened in 1998, is the newest installment of the Andersonville National Historic Site. Home to the Visitor’s Center, the museum highlights stories of and is dedicated to prisoners of war throughout American history.

To learn more about Andersonville National Historic Site and plan your trip, visit

Photo of the Andersonville National Cemetery by National Park Service

The Atlanta Firefly Project is Looking for Citizen Scientists

    Are you interested in community science? Do you love fireflies? The Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia is looking for citizen scientists for the Atlanta Firefly Project, a community science initiative that assists researchers in collecting data to study firefly conservation in Atlanta. 

    Firefly species worldwide face threats such as habitat loss, artificial light at night, pesticide application, over collection, water pollution, and climate change. The Atlanta Firefly Project is part of a data collection initiative studying our common Eastern Firefly, known as the Big Dipper (Photinus pyralis), to facilitate understanding of the threat of habitat loss, artificial light at night, and land management practices. The Odum School of Ecology will use these recorded observations to directly influence firefly conservation research, with the goal to provide individuals with the information needed to make informed decisions about the land where we live. 

    Please consider joining this unique project. Everyone’s observations are valuable for the study, even if you do not see fireflies. You can help right from where you live, whether it is a detached home, apartment, townhome, etc. There will be an option to attend a follow-up presentation and discussion on the outcome of the research. For more information and to access a short training video, go to To volunteer, please visit the “Get Involved” page with instructions on how to sign-up.

    The first 500 volunteers will earn a free Atlanta Firefly Project sticker! 

    Photo by kentfan

    Updates and Opportunities

    Stretch, Sip and Relax with Yoga in the Park - the perfect way to end the day!

    Join CNPC for Yoga in the Park led by BeAnne Creeger on Thursday, June 17 from 6 - 8 PM at the Paces Mill Unit of CRNRA. Enjoy a 60-minute traditional flow class along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, followed by healthy snacks and a cool SweetWater Brewing Company beverage.

    $15 for CNPC members
    $25 for non-members 

    The rate includes a yoga class, snacks and a SweetWater beverage.
    All proceeds from the event go to the Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy to help us help the park you love. 

    Class notes: Please bring your own yoga mat, there will be no mats available to borrow. The class size will be limited, so register soon to reserve your space. You must be 21 years-old or over to attend.

    Learn More at Yoga in the Park

    CNPC and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Paddle Clean-up on

    May 22

    Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy is partnering with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper on a paddle cleanup from Garrard Landing to Island Ford on May 22 at 8AM. This is a bring your own boat clean-up along a very moderate 5-mile stretch with a few riffles. Learn more at CNPC and CRK River Cleanup 

    Birds in the Park – The Unusual Nesting Habits of

    Brown-headed Cowbirds 

    Brown-headed cowbirds (molothrus ater) are commonly seen within the CRNRA and in metro Atlanta. With a stable range spanning from

    mid-Canada to the southern United States, cowbirds thrive in a variety of habitats including prairies, farms, thickets, wood edges, fields, and near rivers.

    Cowbirds are considered a “brood parasite” due to their reproductive and nesting habits. Rather than build their own nests, this species takes over the nests of other birds to lay their eggs. In fact, scientists have documented cowbirds nesting in over 220 other bird species. Unsurprisingly, the nest location does not matter – cowbirds are observant creatures and will find a nest by watching other birds engage in nesting activities.

    When a female cowbird finds a suitable nest, she will often discard a “host” egg before laying her own. A single female cowbird may lay up to 40 eggs over the course of a nesting season, so this can impact the overall bird population. Cowbirds have been linked to the decline of many other bird species including the Black-capped Cireo and Kirtland’s Warbler. In addition to commandeering nests, cowbirds will also rely on the “host” bird to feed and care for its young once hatched.

    So, what should you do if you find a cowbird egg in another bird’s nest? According to an article, the short answer is: nothing. It is illegal to interfere with cowbird eggs without a permit, as the brown-headed cowbird is protected under the Migratory Birds Treaty Act of 1918. Also, many “host” birds are unable to differentiate cowbird eggs from their own. Removing an egg from a nest can cause the “host” female to abandon the nest completely. In other words, let Mother Nature sort things out.

    Left photo of an Eastern Phoebe nest with a Brown-headed Cowbird egg by Galawebdesign

    Right photo of an adult White-crowned Sparrow feeding a fledgling Brown-headed Cowbird by Pets4Dawn

    Book of the Month – The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham  

    In celebration of the upcoming Black Birders Week from May 30 to June 5, 2021, CNPC’s Book of the Month for May is The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham. This compelling piece of nonfiction, the winner of both the Southern Book Prize and Reed Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center, weaves a personal narrative of family history and race into an appreciation for our environment and the importance of conservation. As a Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University and a black birdwatcher (, Dr. Lanham artfully explores what it means to be a black man in a primarily white field.

    Family Fun – What do I do when I find a Baby Bird?

    Scientists estimate that only 30% of young songbirds survive their first year of life. While a 70% mortality rate sounds dismal, remember that it is Mother Nature’s way of keeping the bird population in balance. However, you may be wondering what to do if you come across an orphaned or injured baby bird. First, resist the urge to pick it up and leave the bird where it is. Wait a short distance away to see if the bird’s parents are close by as they usually stay near but may be out of view or searching for food. Spotting the adults can also help you identify the species as baby birds will not have their adult feathers and coloring yet. If you wait and no adult birds approach the young bird, then it is time to consider the best way to help.

    The Georgia Audubon has a visually appealing flowchart to help quickly guide your decision and provides a variety of rehabilitation resources should you need to call in the wildlife experts.

    In short, if the baby bird is:

    • Covered in feathers and moving about, it is a fledgling and probably fine so long as there aren’t any immediate threats (i.e., in the middle of a road or near cats)
    • Without feathers, it is likely a nestling or hatchling that fell out of the nest and needs help to return. Observe your surroundings closely to find its nest; if there is no nest visible, make one and hang it in a nearby tree.
    • Visibly injured or sick, call for professional help. For information on where to take an injured or orphaned bird, go to

    Become a CNPC member or donate today!

    YOU can help us achieve our vision of an inspired and thriving community of support for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

    CNPC is a 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.

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    Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy
    P.O. Box 769332, Roswell, GA 30076
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