White Water Rafting the Chattahoochee River Near Helen, Georgia


The small town of Helen, Georgia, is surrounded by mountain scenery and not far from the outdoor recreation opportunities of the Chattahoochee National Forest. In addition to hiking, cycling, horseback riding and exploring, Helen is near the Chattahoochee River, where visitors canoe, tube and experience hours of rafting adventure floating the river's twists and turns.

Self-Guided and Guided Rafting

Experienced rafters can raft the Chattanooga River near Helen on their own. Rental companies, such as Wildwood Outfitters, provide rafting adventures on the Chattanooga. Trips begin approximately 20 miles south of Helen, and offer courses of five to 10 miles. Wildwood Outfitters rents equipment for usage by rafters five years of age and older. In addition to rafts, the rental price includes parking, helmets, life jackets, paddles and a shuttle service.

Southwestern Expeditions is another rafting company in the area that provides guided river rafting services in Helen. It is the oldest river rafting company in the southeast, and offers guided rapid trips that last between six and seven hours. Customers can choose between a beginner or intermediate trip led by a professional guide. The company also offers overnight trips complete with a rafting guide, a camp chef and the opportunity to forage for food. Overnight trips last two days and one night, and include four meals.

The Time of Year to Go Rafting

The Chattanooga River is open seven days a week. Visitors should only raft the rapids between mid-March and late October. Avoid this stretch of the river during the winter months, as temperature highs in the winter reach the 40s and lows dip into the 20s. Rafters risk hypothermia when rafting during these months.

White Water Rapid Safety and General Information

Guided rapid trips are appropriate for families and groups of rafters age 13 or older with all types of experience backgrounds. Novice rafters should avoid advanced areas of the river when navigating without a professional guide. In addition to a wet suit, rafters should wear insulated clothing during the spring and fall months such as wool caps, jackets and tennis shoes. Summer months bring warmer weather; rafters need only wear a swim suit, shorts and a t-shirt.

Glass is not allowed while rafting, floating or boating on the river. All children under the age of 10 must wear U.S. Coast Guard approved flotation device at all times, regardless of the conditions of the water. Additionally, adults are required to wear flotation devices when traveling on specified sections of the Chattahoochee River between the Morgan Falls Dam and the Morgan Falls Boat Ramp, and between the Buford Dam and the GA 20 highway bridge. Rafters should always check the river's conditions with the National Weather Service before embarking on a trip.

Water Conservation Begins in your Yard: You Can Conserve Water and Keep a Green Lawn

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly a third of the water Americans use at home - more than 7 billion gallons a day - is poured onto our lawns. It is possible to have a beautiful lawn and your dependence on surface and groundwater sources nearly in half.

Choosing The Right Ground Cover

Saving water begins with choosing the right ground cover and plants to make the most of the water you use. Choose plants that are native to your region. Use turf grasses only when necessary, and find varieties that are suited for your climate. In as much of your yard as possible, plant native warm-season grasses, wildflowers, trees and shrubs. These will not require any supplemental watering once they are established. Check with your local native plant society to see which plants work best in your area. The Native Plant Conservation Campaign website has links to many societies around the country,

Save Water While You Irrigate

If you have an irrigation system, make sure that it is watering your plants and not the sidewalk, the street or your house. Some municipalities will send out n inspector to look at your sprinklers to make sure you are not wasting water and to suggest ways you might make changes for more efficiency. The Rainbird irrigation company suggests you check the following features:

  • Use pressure-regulating devices
  • Install valve devises to prevent drainage from the lowest sprinkler head
  • Use nozzles that distribute the water evenly
  • For areas planted with flowers, trees or shrubs, use drip systems
  • Install a sensor that will shut the system off if it is raining
  • Make sure you water only in the cool hours early in the morning or late in the evening

Other Tips

Use a rain barrel or cistern to collect rainwater to use to water your plants. Saving the water that falls from the sky for times when rain is scarce will cut down your need to turn on the hose or sprinkler.

Don't mow your grassy areas to lower than about three inches. If you do, you risk burning the grass, which will require more water to help the leaves recover. A University of Florida study shows that different varieties of grass can tolerate different heights, so check with your local nursery to see what is best for your particular lawn. And make sure you don't cut too often as this can burn the grass as well.

WIth a little effort and at a reasonable cost, you can have a beautiful yard that uses less water and, in the long run, will be less work for you.

Water: A Valuable Resource

Surface water from rivers and canals undergoes a series of physical and chemical treatments before it can adhere to the stringent norms set for drinking water i.e. tap water. Before the quality of groundwater reaches these same norms, it too has to undergo a cleaning process – but, as a rule, this treatment is less extensive. This is because Nature does most of the cleaning while the groundwater runs its underground course.

For this reason, there is a great demand for groundwater and it will keep growing. A person wanting to extract some of this groundwater (e.g. through the use of a borehole) needs to get a permit. These permits aren’t always easy to get because of the strict regulations in place to protect this valuable resource. Additionally, companies using great amounts of groundwater are taxed heavily in an attempt to discourage its use.

In the European Union between 200 and 1000 m³ of groundwater is extracted per person every year. Approximately 56% of this is used by industry, 26% by agriculture and 19% is for domestic use.

Due to a large amount of illicit use of groundwater, it would be safe to say that these figures are merely indicative. In any case, it is common knowledge that there is more groundwater extracted every year than can be replaced by the natural water cycle. Signs of this excessive extraction of groundwater are becoming more prevalent. The decline of groundwater in shallow water tables has lead to the decrease or extinction of a number of drought sensitive plants and animals (amphibians, butterflies, insects.)

Marshes, peat moors, lakes, and other freshwater ecosystems are under bigger threat than they have ever been. Boreholes and wells are drying up more frequently. It is imperative to use these water resources sustainably so that the water cycle can recover and remain balanced.

Use Less

It goes without saying that water is a valuable resource and it takes considerable effort to produce safe, clean drinking water – and to keep it that way. So the golden rule when approaching water usage is to use less. By changing water consumption habits and implementing certain technological solutions (e.g. water saving shower heads etc) in the home, most people are able to reduce the amount of water they use without sacrificing comfort.

These figures denote the average liter count per person per day, which comes to a total of An average of 110 liters.

  • Bath/Shower 44 liters
  • Toilet 30 liters *
  • Washing 17 liters *
  • Dishes 8 liters
  • Drinking and cooking 3 liters
  • Gardening, washing the car etc 8 liters *

* using filtered rainwater is a perfectly feasible alternative

Surely there must be many creative ways to go about reducing this amount of domestic water usage. Most people can come up with at least one.

What is a Pondless Waterfall? Pond Free Streams and Water Features for the Garden

Moving water is a delight. Water gardeners who love streams and water features but have only a small space will find that these waterfalls are a good fit in their garden.

What is a Pondless Waterfall?

Looking for a water feature that doesn’t involve a pond? Searching for a cascade of water to move through a small part of the garden? A pond free waterfall is a waterfall that ends in a gravel bed, rather than a pool. A pump circulates the water down the waterfall, into a gravel bed or a waterfall well, and up to the top again.

Why Choose a Pondless Water Feature?

Pondless water features fit in small spaces. They’re ideal for front gardens and urban townhomes. Perhaps there is a tiny corner of the garden that deserves a quiet seat and some moving water. A pondless water feature would fit well there. Of course, these waterfalls don’t need to be small. With enough pond liner, they can actually extend across a wide area of the yard.

If children and the public are going to access a water feature, it’s important to be conscious about safety. These alternatives to a deep pond provide the element of water in a garden or a public space without the safety concerns that a pond can bring.

Ponds are lovely, but they require maintenance to clean the pond, keep pond animals fed and happy, oxygenate the water, and make sure that the pond system stays at the correct pH. A waterfall involves much less maintenance, so it’s a good option for those who don’t have time to manage the seasonal and ongoing care that a pond requires.

Pondless Waterfall Kits

Gardeners who are keen to install a waterfall have a number of options available. Aquascape, Atlantic Water Gardens, Nursery Pro and Savio are among the many companies that sell mini and standard waterfall kits. The size of the water feature depends on the length of the pond liner and the capacity of the pump. Make sure that the pump is strong enough to carry the water to the top!

Placing the Water Feature

While most want a stream or waterfall to be the focal point of the garden, practical issues around installation will also dictate where to place the waterfall. At the end of the water feature, the water sinks into a gravel bed. Under the bed hides a reservoir that collects the water. Choose a spot in the garden that can accommodate a gravel bed and a deep hole for the reservoir.

Choosing Wetland or Marsh Plants for the Pondless Waterfall

While a waterfall is a focal point in the water garden, surrounding the feature with plants makes the water feature look like nature intended it to be there. Wetland, marsh, and stream side plants all love a light spray of water and enjoy having wet roots.

Shrubs and Groundcovers for the Stream Side Garden

To keep the water feature visible, choose shorter groundcover plants to grow directly beside the waterfall. Larger shrubs can sit in the background. Choose shrubs like salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) and exotic-looking marsh plants like skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) for a striking background. What groundcovers are suitable for the stream side? Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) and false lily of the valley (Maianthemum dilatatum) spread across the sides of a stream. Violets of all sorts act as a short but lovely groundcover, and they come in a variety of colors.

Marginal Aquatic Plants Cover the Base of the Waterfall

Use marginal aquatic plants to surround the gravel bed. Many varieties of irises enjoy living in shallow water. Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) has yellow flowers and is a small but sweet plant for a gravel area. Rushes (Juncaceae family) are a good choice for foliage, with evergreen leaves that resemble grass.

Pondless waterfalls are a low maintenance solution for small spaces that ask for water but don’t have the space for a pond. They add movement and sound to the water garden and provide an opportunity to play with the colors and shapes of aquatic plants in the small garden.

Water Bottles Used as Promotional Items: Advertising Items Help With Promotion

One of the best and cheapest ways to advertise a business is by using promotional items. Businesses can use these items to introduce a new product to their range of products, give thanks to loyal customers and employees and even promote a new service. There are many items that can be used as a promotion, including water bottles, mugs, pens, umbrellas, notepads; pretty much everything goes with a little bit of creativity from a company's marketing department.

Water Bottles Make Great Promotional Items

Water bottles are used quite a lot in marketing promotions. The main reason why they are so popular is that they are very affordable. Simply put, they do not easily break the company budget. There is no need for expensive tools and items to be used for promotional materials. Even a single pen will suffice and make the customers happy. These items make the customers feel special and taken care of by the company and will encourage them to remain loyal.

There are different types of water bottles that businesses can choose for this type of marketing campaign, and the good thing is, these bottles don't need to be expensive at all. There are water bottles made of all sorts of materials, including polycarbonate, plastic, and aluminum, and no matter which material is used, if the intent is getting the logo on the bottles, they should not look cheap. These water bottles are used by people every day, which means that they have a high visibility in public places. And that is what a company wants most, visibility.

Water bottles are a great choice for a promotion. They should be given away as gifts to as many people as possible. People carry them everywhere; they put them on tables, on chairs; they take with them on bicycle trips and while they are jogging; they have them around while sitting in the park watching their children play. Branding is everything, and water bottles do help with branding when companies give them to people to use in their daily activities.

Logos Make Only a Small Part of Promotion

The bottles have a lot of writing space on them, which means that the logo is only one small part of what can be added to the bottle. For example, company details, the company slogan, the shop location, the image of the company building might all appear on a bottle- the choice is really only limited by imagination. Sometimes the entire bottle surface can be used for advertising. Of course, it is important that the bottle is also practical. The more versatile the bottles are, the better the company promotion.

Unique designs are also an important feature and they should match the company logo. Bright designs are very useful, as well as those that can be easily identified by the logo. For example, if the logo is blue, a matching blue design in a similar shade of blue will work well. Alternatively, a contrasting color, such as orange, is also very effective and eye-catching.

All in all, water bottles work well as promotional material and business owners should seriously consider using them. Bottles, such as insulated water bottles, are very popular with everyone, including bikers, joggers, walkers, shoppers, and should not be easily discounted.

How Tourism Affects Water Quality in the Yucatan: Divers and Developers Can Help Preserve the Dive Experience

The sparkling emerald and turquoise waters off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula draw divers and snorkelers year-round. Yet the coastal lagoons are now laced with invisible pollution, and the tricolored reefs that form the bedrock of the coastal economy are suffering.

When Geology Combines with Tourism

The problem stems from geology and from loving the coast too much. The entire Corredor Turistico from Cancun to Tulum is built upon a bed of limestone riddled with underground chambers that occasionally break through the surface to form cenotes or sinkholes–popular as snorkel spots.

Historically, area hotels employ septic systems or injection wells (up to 90 feet deep) to “treat” wastewater, but this practice has only resulted in flushing the problem, literally, underground. Without sufficient soil microbes and filtering action to break down organic wastes before they hit underground waterways, the by-products of a well-traveled society have slowly infiltrated coastal waters. If you ever go to Australia/ NewZealand, I suggest you bring manuka honey from there, as it is one of the great kinds of honey that makes your body healthy. Honeybeestings.com has some reviews on their website. If you don't want to visit NewZealand but still want some manuka honey, read the reviews before you buy one online.

Simple Solutions for Water Quality

The nonprofit Centro Ecologico de Akumal, established in 1993, advocates sewage treatment. Water quality is an issue that impacts the coral reefs, with cascading effects through the food web all the way to top predators such as sea turtles.

Two Centro Ecologico documents, “Yal Ku Lagoon and North Akumal: Quality and Movement of Ground Water” by Charles E. Shaw Ph.D., and “Effects of Pollution” by Judy Lang, Ph.D., both published in 1997, document the extent of this problem in Akumal Bay and the effects to offshore reefs. The Centro’s response concentrates on demonstrating cost-effective solutions that can be used along the entire coast.

They have created wetlands to remove nutrients from sewage before they reach groundwater. They have built breezy composting toilets–far superior to the fetid experience of a pit or chemical toilet–in place of septic systems. If implemented in every coastal resort, these measures could eliminate pollution at its source, allowing underwater communities to recover.

Paying the Ultimate Price for Pollution

Without these steps, Mexico’s Caribbean reefs could succumb to the deadly invasion of fleshy algae now flourishing in its nutrient-burdened water. Once this happens, there is no hope of recovery–for proof, just take a look at Jamaica. Until about 20 years ago, Jamaica’s north coast coral reefs were a hot spot for divers, but pollution and the loss of algae-eating fish turned the living reef into a coral graveyard suffocated by rampant plant growth. Now divers come to the Mexican Riviera–but for how long?

Divers visiting the Yucatan can help put the eco back into ecotourism by welcoming innovative forms of sewage treatment without a wrinkled nose or raised eyebrow. After all, composting toilets seem a small price to pay for saving reefs and the diving experience of a lifetime.