December 2021

Celebrating 2021!

Dear CNPC Community, 

Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy had a busy and effective 2021 supporting the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA). Our park is so important to Atlanta, providing needed outdoor recreational areas and access to nature. Please click here to view an overview of our 2021 accomplishments, which include the rehabilitation of three overlooks in Cochran Shoals, a pier in Jones Bridge, and 6.7 miles of multi-use trails in Cochran Shoals/Sope Creek.

We are looking forward to being able to assist the CRNRA even more in 2022. We hope that you will continue to be a part of the community that supports the park by attending events, volunteering, and providing much-needed financial support.  Please visit our website at or contact me directly at President@ChattahoocheeParks.Org to learn more about helping CNPC support our well-loved national park. 


Graham Dorian, Board Chair and President 

Great Winter Walks for the Holiday Season

The holidays offer a perfect opportunity to enjoy the park with kids and visiting family and friends, or a place to escape the rush and crowded stores with a quiet walk amid spectacular views. For individual maps of all of the park units, go to

Photo of the bamboo forest at East Palisades

Sunrise at Jones Bridge

You will need to get up early for this walk, but it is well worth it! Head from the parking lot straight to the river, veering left where the trails cross. Walk the meandering path along the river, surrounded by the chattering of birds chasing their breakfast, to the wooden overlook. Marvel at the fog rolling in over the shoals, as cormorants and geese land on the rocks amid the splashing water. A fantastic way to start the day!

Photo from the overlook at Jones Bridge

Park history at Sope Creek

For some intriguing park history, head over to Sope Creek to see the stone ruins of the Marietta Paper Mill built in 1853. With an abundance of water and an upstream dam to facilitate processing, the mill provided paper to most of the south from 1855 to 1902. The mill was destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War for its suspected role in producing Confederate currency. Explore the ruins and enjoy views of the water flowing past large rocks in Sope Creek. For information on the mill’s history, go to

Photo of Marietta Paper Mill ruins at Sope Creek by Tom Wilson

Family walk at Paces Mill

Looking for a place where you can take the extended family? The accessible Rottonwood Creek Trail that stretches along the river at Paces Mill can be navigated with bikes, strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs, keeping energetic kids busy while letting grandparents enjoy the relaxing tree-lined path and river views. Parking and restrooms located right by the trailhead make this an easy visit with the oldest and youngest family members.

Photo of the Rottonwood Creek Trail at Paces Mill

River views and a surprise landscape at East Palisades

This hike provides spectacular views, from the trail right along the river up to an overlook with expansive views of the Chattahoochee and downtown Atlanta, a reminder of the fortunate proximity of the national park to our metropolitan community. Stay on the trail, and you will be rewarded with an unlikely forest of 30-foot bamboo trees. The trail and Whitewater parking lot can be busy, so time your visit accordingly.

Photo from East Palisades overlook by Tom Wilson

Picnic at Bowman’s Island

Tired of holiday crowds? Consider a trip to Bowman’s Island, located right below the Buford Dam at Lake Lanier. Just an hour north of Atlanta, a gorgeous landscape and river views await at the CRNRA’s most northern point. Picnic tables tucked along the river’s edge, restrooms, and an adjacent open area provide a great place for families to relax, run, and play.

Photo of the river by the picnic area at Bowman’s Island

Birds in the Park: Those Cold Days of Winter

Have you ever wondered if birds get cold in the winter? They do, but birds have adapted to survive cold winter temperatures. Those shivering, puffed up birds on the tree branches are fluffing their feathers to trap heat from their bodies to keep warm. Birds also huddle in groups and roost together in nesting boxes to share warmth. They store fat during the short days of winter to keep themselves warm, and some birds can slow their metabolism to conserve energy. With body temperatures around 105 degrees, birds have high metabolism and constantly seek high protein energy sources when it is cold for energy to stay warm. Multiple species of birds can communicate and help each other by flocking together to look for food resources such as insects, berries, and seeds. Those noisy flocks of birds in the woods and at feeders in the winter have adapted to follow each other to where individuals find food. Winter is an important time for birds to have access to abundant food sources, so be sure to keep feeders filled with high fat food like suet and continue to provide water sources.

Photo of Great Blue Heron by Tom Wilson

Treasures on the Trail: Lichens

After the leaves fall to the ground, lichens are easy to spot along the trail. Those scaley rough or powdery patches on the bark of trees come in an array of colors, from grays and greens to yellow, white, and more. Lichens are a complex life form that is a symbiotic partnership between fungus and algae known as cyanobacteria. Like plants, they produce their own nutrition by photosynthesis, but they do not have roots. With about 20,000 species, lichens can be found almost anywhere and can grow on almost any surface. An estimated 6–8% of Earth's land surface is covered by lichens.

Lichens can have the ability to absorb everything in their atmosphere, especially pollutants, and can provide valuable information about the environment around us. Heavy metals and other pollutants in the atmosphere are absorbed by the lichen and can be extracted to determine toxin levels. Lichen biomonitoring by the US Forest Service helps federal land managers with detection and assessment of the ecological impacts of air pollutants. 

On your next forest walk, see how many different species and colors of lichens you can find. To learn more about lichens, go to

Photo of lichen by Volodymyr

New Year’s Resolutions: More Time in the Park!

As we reflect on a terrific 2021, we are making our New Year’s resolutions for an even better 2022. Let’s all spend more time in the park and relish the national park experience. Please join us in making 2022 an absolutely amazing year!

Here are some of our New Year’s resolutions:


I will wake up early to enjoy sunrise on the river.

I will go to park units I have never visited.

I will go to a yoga session along the river.

I will learn to identify some of the birds, animals, and wildflowers that I see in the park.

I will sign up for HikeCRNRA and document my 66-mile journey with photographs.

I will volunteer at a CRNRA workday to support my national park.

What are your new year's resolutions for spending time in the CRNRA? Send us a photo of you fulfilling your new year’s resolution in the park for our social media at Info@ChattahoocheeParks.Org 

Photo at East Palisades by Tom Wilson

Give the Gift of Membership and Support Your Park!

Do you have friends, kids, and grandkids who love spending time outdoors? CNPC memberships make a great gift for anyone on your holiday list! CNPC memberships are available at a variety of levels and help enable CNPC to fund a variety of projects within the CRNRA such as trail updates and restoration and education programs. CNPC members receive regular updates on our activities and volunteer opportunities, an invitation to our annual member celebration, notice of park and river-related events, participation in our free Walk & Talk series, a discount on Nantahala Outdoor Center boat rentals, and a special CNPC sticker or magnet! Give the gift of membership today by clicking here

Photo at East Palisades by Tom Wilson

    Family Fun: Great Outdoor Gifts for Kids

    Looking for some special holiday gifts for kids? Give gifts that kids can use to learn about or experience the outdoors, then take them with you to the park.

    Books are an excellent way to introduce kids to the wonder of the outdoors and teach species identification. Check out All Aboard! National Parks: A Wildlife Primer by Hailey and Kevin Meyers (ages 2-5), Fun with Nature: Take Along Guides by Mel Boring (ages 7-10), and Young Birders Guide to North America – Peterson Field Guides (ages 9-12). For older kids, there are a variety of excellent field guides depending on their interests, such as Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Peterson Field Guide to Animal Tracks, or Sibley Guide to Birds. There are numerous age-appropriate wildlife and national park themed puzzles and family games like Junior Ranger Matching Game (ages 3 and up), Trekking the National Parks (ages 8 and up), and Wingspan (ages 14 and up). Outdoor gear is another great gift for kids of all ages. Kids will love a fishing pole, binoculars, an unlined journal with colored pencils, a headlamp, or an ENO hammock. You can even give them a special backpack ready for their outdoor adventures with a plastic magnifying glass, pencils and crayons in a zippered case, a waterproof notepad, laminated field guides, and more. Then, it’s off to the park!

    Photo at Cochran Shoals

    Book of the Month: On Display by Christy Knight

    Winter is the perfect time to settle down with a good book. On Display chronicles the misadventures of a young naturalist as she starts her career at a natural history museum. As the story evolves into an unexpected mystery, Knight’s background as an exhibit designer for a museum of natural history and environmental educator at a nature preserve shines through in her detailed nature descriptions and character development, making for intriguing storytelling. A portion of the proceeds from sales will go to Atlanta Urban Ecologists, an education program for youth in grades 8 through 12.  Click here to learn more. 

    Upcoming Events:

    Trail Day

    December 18

    8:45 AM - 12 PM


    Community Hike

    January 2

    11 AM - 2 PM 


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    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.

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