RiverTrek 2014 is Oct 7-11!

5 days of paddling and kayak camping to raise funds for Apalachicola Riverkeeper. Support Crew volunteers are critical to success of this expedition, too. Please let us know if you would like to participate as a support crew member – good times!

RiverTrek 2014 is October 7-11. On the morning of October 7, 2014 paddlers will launch their kayaks at the northern end of the Apalachicola River just below the Jim Woodruff Dam in Chattahoochee, Florida. Five days and 107 miles later, they will reach their destination of Apalachicola Bay and the city of Apalachicola, Florida. From the steep bluffs of the northernmost Apalachicola to the marshlands of the coastal plain, paddlers will experience the most diverse habitat in North America – all while raising money to help the River! These experienced paddlers are volunteering to raise money for Apalachicola Riverkeeper and the important work the organization is doing to restore, protect and preserve this National treasure. At journey’s end, the paddlers will emerge from their kayaks at Battery Park in Apalachicola to a festive finale in celebration of their return.

You can help

This group of paddlers is in a brisk and friendly competition to see who can raise the greatest funds to support Apalachicola Riverkeeper. Each paddler is currently gathering sponsors—friends, neighbors, and businesses to donate to Apalachicola Riverkeeper on their behalf. The paddling team is eager to surpass RiverTrek 2013 fundraising total. You can be part of the adventure by supporting a specific paddler or the entire team with your donation to Apalachicola Riverkeeper. All proceeds go to Apalachicola Riverkeeper–the only organization whose sole mission is to restore, protect and preserve the Apalachicola River.

WFSU-TV produced a documentary series on Apalachicola Riverkeeper’s (2012 and 2013) RiverTrek. These videos highlight the issues the Riverkeeper is working to address and resolve. To learn more about RiverTrek and the Apalachicola River, see RiverTrek 2012 and RiverTrek 2013 on YouTube.

Meet and Support the 2014 Paddlers

Georgia Ackerman

Georgia AckermanGeorgia grew up playing in the thick woods of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She eventually migrated to the swamps of North Florida where she continues to camp, kayak, hike and play. Fascinated by Florida’s waterways and its abundant wildlife, Georgia stays knee-deep in conservation issues. Asked her reason for volunteering with Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Georgia stated, “as a parent, I have a real desire to take care of Florida’s water–on the only planet we’ve got. My kids are counting on us all.” That river needs us and we need it. Georgia works at Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy in Tallahassee and serves on the Apalachicola Riverkeeper Board of Directors. She can usually be found in or on the water.

Doug Alderson

Doug Alderson“Perhaps we took it for granted. Oysters would always be plentiful in Apalachicola Bay. Tongers would always line the horizon at dawn, following a generations-old tradition. Apalachicola would always be known as a premier seafood town. Now we know different. An incredible natural resource, local economy and way-of-life hang in the balance and it all depends upon our actions today. That’s why I’m participating in this year’s Apalachicola RiverTrek—to support the Apalachicola Riverkeeper and its mission. It is why we need your help. Please contribute to this worthwhile cause.”

Doug Alderson (www.dougalderson.net) is the author of several books, including Waters Less Traveled, New Dawn for the Kissimmee River, Encounters with Florida’s Endangered Wildlife and Wild Florida Waters. Additionally, his articles and photographs have been featured in numerous outdoor magazines. In 2011, he assisted Riverkeeper in developing the Apalachicola River Blueway, now a national recreation trail.

Doug also works as the assistant bureau chief for the Office of Greenways and Trails, part of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Josh Bolick

Josh BolickJosh discovered his passion for the great outdoors in early adulthood. A Navy enlistment carried him to Hawai’i, where he surfed, swam, snorkeled, and generally gloried in the pleasures of an aquatic existence. When his naval tour was up he continued his recreational watery ways through an undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. While there, one of his outdoor jobs was guiding folks through the salt marshes and coastal creeks of Eastern North Carolina for the now defunct Salt Marsh Kayak Company. Josh recently completed a Masters of Library and Information Studies at Florida State University. He currently splits his time between Strozier Library at FSU, where he reconsiders scholarly publishing in the digital age, and The Great Bicycle Shop, where he has worked since moving to Tallahassee in 2009. A veteran of RiverTrek 2012, Josh is excited to participate in RiverTrek 2014 because he believes the protection and preservation of the Apalachicola River and Bay are an unqualified good, and because he wants to savor Bay oysters for the remainder of his days.

Mary Crecelius

Mary CreceliusMary, a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, was introduced to the beauty and ecological diversity of the Apalachicola River and Bay over 30 years ago. Living on the St. Francis River in Missouri and spending free time in the summers canoeing, kayaking, sailing and just being on the waters of Northwestern Florida’s Forgotten Coast have rejuvenated and sustained her. From her years of exploring and experiencing these waters, Mary has a deep appreciation of the wild open landscapes and the interconnectedness of each of these ecosystems. She believes that knowledge of, connection to and deep appreciation of nature are important to the health of our rivers, our own health and the health of our planet.

Mary feels privileged to be able to help raise awareness and hopefully inspire others to help preserve and restore the uniquely beautiful and ecologically important Apalachicola River.

Bryan Desloge

Bryan DeslogeBryan is excited to participate in RiverTrek 2014! A native of Tallahassee, he has spent his entire life in the North Florida area with the exception of a two year stint as a ski bum in Aspen. After Aspen, Bryan returned to Tallahassee, cut his hair, went to work with IBM and married his high school sweetheart. Ten years and four children later he left IBM to establish Desloge Home Oxygen and Medical Equipment. Bryan was elected to the Leon County Commission in 2006 and currently serves as the District 4 Commissioner.

Bryan has completed multiple marathons, an IronMan event, skied the Haute Route, and reached the summits on Mt Rainier, Iiztaccihuatl in Mexico, Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa, and the summit of Alaska’s Denali. Bryan says, “North Florida is the best place to come home to and protecting and preserving our waters and wilderness areas is a priority–the legacy we leave for our children and grandchildren.” Bryan hopes you will consider supporting this great cause. The Apalachicola River is a great American treasure, and we must ensure its preservation for the enjoyment of future generations. Bryan was top fundraiser participating in RiverTrek 2012.

Bill Graham

Bill GrahamA native to Tallahassee and Alligator Point, Florida, Bill grew up exploring the Gulf and spent most of his summers swimming and fishing the waters of Apalachee Bay. Today he enjoys fishing these same waters. Happily, Bill and his wife Julz have enjoyed sharing many of those same experiences on local waterways with their three children.

Bill’s first exposure to kayaking came after law school when he got a job as a camp counselor at a kayaking camp on the Ardeche River in the Provence region of France. Now, many years laters as a lawyer, it has been his pleasure to frequently represent Leon County’s legal interests. Much of that effort has been directed at protecting the water quality of Leon County’s lakes, springs and rivers, including the Ochlocknee River. Bill says, this experience has opened my eyes to the many challenges facing the Apalachicola River.

As a member of Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Bill is looking forward to River Trek 2014 and to raising money to help bring attention to the issues that face the river.

Julz Graham

Julz GrahamFor the last seven years as Host of Dimensions on WFSU-TV, Julz has watched with interest the multitude of interviews and stories covered regarding the health of our local waterways. After sending a film crew to cover RiverTrek 2012 and 2013, when the opportunity to apply for RiverTrek 2014 arose Julz thought – why not me?

Perhaps, the least experienced paddler, Julz is excited by the huge challenge. She wants to be able to take advantage of all the region has to offer. As the purpose of this trip is to heighten awareness of this beautiful river system and make it accessible to the public, then what better way than full immersion! Growing up in Sydney on the beaches, Julz has a great love of water, of fishing and of skiing. Julz said, “RiverTrek 2014 is daunting to me I can’t pretend otherwise, but I would like to show myself, my children, and my friends that I can do this.” Please consider supporting Julz in RiverTrek 2014. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Bob Henderson

Bob HendersonSince being a member of the Apalachicola River stakeholders as a representative of the Audubon Society in the 1980’s, Bob has maintained a profound interest in saving the river and it estuary from the unintended consequences of the burdens people have placed on the river.

Bob believes that it is important that we preserve the river for its natural beauty and the life-support it gives to many living things in nature, but also to preserve it for the benefits it gives to humankind. There are ways we can use the resources of the river without destroying it. Often short-sighted interests do irreparable damage to a natural resource. We, in hindsight, look back and wonder how we could have been so foolish.

Apalachicola Riverkeeper can be our eyes to the future by telling us what we should do now to ensure that the river continues to provide its natural services of beauty and sustainability for nature and for people. Bob wants to support, and ask others to support, the good work of the Apalachicola Riverkeeper so we can have a viable river into the distant future.

“I am Bob Henderson, retired from FSU, past Leon County Commissioner, and community volunteer. Please support RiverTrek 2014.

Tom Herzog

HerzogAs Apalachicola Riverkeeper’s Board President, Tom is totally committed to the mission of the organization and believes wholeheartedly that supporting this organization is an important way to help the Apalachicola River remain the treasured resource it is today.

Tom is an avid North Florida outdoorsman and world traveler who does it all. In fact, it is a rare occasion to find him indoors. Fishing, camping, boating, cycling, hiking, hunting—on the water or in the woods is where Tom prefers to spend his time. He has paddled the Apalachicola River many times over and explores her meandering tributaries, such as Graham Creek, regularly. Tom is a Board member and volunteer trip leader with Apalachicola Riverkeeper. He is eager to again participate in RiverTrek and to be fully involved in protection of the mighty Apalach’ and the Bay.

Faith Jones

Faith JonesFaith Jones is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner with TMH Physician Partners in Quincy and has worked for TMH in various nursing roles for over 30 years. Her love of the outdoors began while attending FSU when she and her family would paddle and camp their way down various north Florida rivers. She began cycling later in life as a way to exercise and fell in love with the sport. For many years she participated in local cycling events as well as Bike Florida, a week-long cycling event through various regions of Florida.

Eight years ago, when she and her husband moved to a lake in Havana, she took up kayaking to escape the increasing hazards of road cycling. Faith now spends much of her time exploring the lake. She has always been eco-conscience and is trying to leave as small a footprint on Mother Earth as she can, from composting, recycling, using rain barrels, and growing her own vegetables.

Faith is always looking for a new challenging adventure and very excited to be part of the 2014 RiverTrek team and looks forward to learning more about ways to support the Apalachicola Riverkeeper.

Katie McCormick

Katie McCormickKatie McCormick grew up paddling a small stretch of the St. Francis River and hiking in southeastern Missouri. Those adventures with her sister, Mary Crecelius, were the foundation for a lifelong appreciation for exploring, being outside, and building an understanding of the fundamental importance of our environment. Katie has lived in Tallahassee for less than three years, but has been exploring the Apalachicola River and Bay for more than twenty years. Crossing the bridge from Apalachicola to Eastpoint, looking out over the estuary and then back across the Bay, provided a sense of relief, excitement, and wonder on every drive from St. Louis to St. George Island. Tupelo honey, that little taste of sunshine, and Apalachicola oysters were both delicious treats and experiences that inspired a desire to learn more about the world they came from.

The Apalachicola River is an important recreational, economic, historical, and natural asset. Katie sees RiverTrek 2014, a journey from the river’s source to the Bay, as a unique opportunity to engage with the life of the river, to better understand the River’s relationship to its communities and ecosystems, and to help protect it.

When she’s not out enjoying the natural beauty of the Florida Panhandle’s rivers, beaches, and parks, Katie is helping to preserve Tallahassee’s and Florida State University’s history as Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives for FSU Libraries.

Tom McLaulin

Tom McLaulinTom is the current President of the Florida Paddling Trails Association. He is an avid water sports enthusiast who enjoys kayaking, sailing, scuba diving and camping. Tom is dedicated to water resource conservation and developing a public understanding of the value of healthy water sources for sustaining ecosystems and recreational opportunities.

“As a lifelong central Florida resident, the opportunity to become familiar with and enjoy the natural resources of north Florida is a welcome adventure. Being able to assist in the goals of the Apalachicola Riverkeeper is a fulfilling endeavor and a chance to give back to a deserving cause.”

Jennifer Portman

Jennifer PortmanJennifer Portman, a Los Angles native and senior writer for the Tallahassee Democrat, fell in love with free-flowing streams during her decade living and reporting in the Ozarks. She has floated the entire 135-mile length of the magnificent Buffalo River in northwest Arkansas as well many of the region’s other glorious rivers. Whenever possible, she has used her newspaper work to educate, enlighten and inform readers about the importance of protecting and preserving such special places. Since settling down in Tallahassee in 2004, she has written in-depth pieces on the dangers facing such wonders as Wakulla and Wacissa springs and is looking forward to putting her reporting – and crude kayaking skills – to work to benefit the incredible Apalachicola. Jennifer participated in RiverTrek 2012 and wrote an award winning piece recognized nationally by Gannet News.

Steve Seibert

Steven SeibertSteve Seibert is an environmental/land use lawyer by trade, a former County Commissioner and Secretary of Florida’s Department of Community Affairs. He was involved in settling the Tampa Bay Water Wars and sees the same sort of dynamics, writ large, in the 3-state conflict over the Apalachicola River. He desperately wants to see this precious river protected and knows, on some level, this journey will provide the inspiration to further that cause.

Steve grew up on the Intercoastal Waterway in the Tampa Bay area and now lives in Tallahassee with his wife and son. He plays ukulele and vows to disturb both his colleagues and the cosmic balance by his nocturnal strumming on this trip.