MARCH CALENDAR OF EVENTS
March 6, Thursday: Meaher Park to Bay Minette Basin
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Place: meet at the public boat ramp under the bridge near the entrance to Meaher Park on the Causeway
Contact: Carl Haywood cell: 689-3935 firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments: Paddle upriver from the causeway to Bay Minette Basin and back. Level of difficulty will depend on conditions, in that the rivers are high right now and some of this paddle will be in open (or at least big) water. Call Carl on his cell phone if you plan to come and/or for further information.
March 15, Saturday: Grand Opening of Pensacola Kayak and Sails
Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Place: Pensacola Kayak and Sails, on Bayou Chico, Pensacola, Florida (driving directions will be forthcoming soon; stay tuned to this website)
Contact: Bob Andrews h/w: 344-8664; cell: 367-4144
Comments: This is MBCAKC member Tony Chavers' new store in Pensacola. We all know Tony as the owner of Fairhope Boat, which serves as the phone contact for club information, and where information about our club and its activities are posted on the store's bulletin boards. Tony has a new business in Pensacola now, and this will be its grand opening. There will be representatives from and demonstrations by several kayak manufacturers. An ACA instructor will conduct a free class for beginners. You will need to register in advance for this class by calling Bob. (It's free, but Bob needs to know in advance how many students there will be so he knows how many classes of how many students he will need to arrange.)
March 15, Saturday: Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program
Contact: Matt h) 343-1196 w) 341-1712 email@example.com
Comments: Leslie Hartman and Lee Yokel gave a much-appreciated presentation at our meeting last month about this project. The Alabama Marine Resources Division (AMRD) and Mobile Bay National Estuary Program are joined again to clean Alabama coastal waters. On Saturday, March 15, 2003 all crab traps within 500 yards of the shoreline will be considered marine litter and can be removed and disposed of by volunteers in dumpsters provided by Mobile Bay NEP. Taking of a crab trap at any other time or location can be considered theft of property unless authorized by the Alabama Marine Resources Division. Many of the traps are in water too shallow for powerboats to reach. However, canoes and kayaks would be able to reach these traps in shallow water. The most efficient crew would be a team of one boat and several canoes or kayaks to pick up these traps in a designated area.
Matt Darring has kindly volunteered to coordinate the MBCAKC's participation in this project. If you would like to participate call or e-mail Matt at the numbers listed above, and for further information, see http://www.mobilebaynep.com. The best time to reach Matt is during business hours at his work number (Spoke N Trail).
March 22, Saturday: Fowl River Marina to Bellingrath Gardens
Depart Time: 12:00 Noon.
Return Time: Plan to get back around 2:00 -3:00 p.m.
Launch Site: Fowl River Marina which is on the NE side of Fowl River Bridge, about 1-1/4 miles south of Bayley's Restaurant on Dauphin Island Parkway (Hwy 163) and about 8.5 miles south of the Dog River bridge over Dauphin Island Parkway.
Launch Site Coordinates: North 30 degrees 26.69' West 88 degrees 6.85'
Take-Out Site: Same as Launch Site.
Launch Site Facilities: Fowl River Marina Restaurant with rest rooms.
Launch Fee: Usually free for kayakers even though there are launch fees. Bring a few dollars just to be on the safe side.
Trip Distance: Approximately 4 miles round trip.
Trip Route: We go southwest from the Fowl River Marina, down East Fowl River and around the corner to Bellingrath Gardens.
Trip Speed: Slow and leisurely paddle.
Recommended Paddler Level: Beginners will like the slow speed and short distance of this paddle.
Food/Snacks: No picnic planned. Bring your own fluids & snacks to meet your energy needs.
Gear: Usual safety equipment, such as life jacket, paddle float, spray skirt, pump, sunscreen, and bug repellent.
Conditions: Lightning storm cancels or delays paddle due to lack of tree cover. Call Rob to get the last minute conditions. Strong windy conditions could turn this short leisurely paddle into a challenging one. High tide will be approx 1:50 pm.
Caution(s): We will start out in a marina area and then paddle on Fowl River - less than a mile from the entrance to the Mobile Bay. Big boats are rarely a problem, but they do represent a potential hazard. Watch for their wakes.
Highlights: See Bellingrath Gardens from Fowl River. Depending on what is in bloom, this can be a colorful paddle. You can also see the House and Grotto from the river.
Post-Trip Rendezvous: Fowl River Marina Restaurant
Leader: Rob Nykvist
Contact Numbers: work (251) 666-2766 cell: (251) 455-4699
March 25, Tuesday: French's Lake Paddle Part 2
Time: 12:00 noon
Contact: Matt Darring, 343-1196(h) 341-1712(w) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting place: at the Conoco at I-65 and Hwy 225 in Stockton, which is exit 31, then we will drive to the launch at French's Lake
Comments: Last month we paddled French's Lake going east. This month we'll go in the other direction, and see what's happening down there. This is a beautiful area to paddle. The location and the pace should be amicable to people beginners and up. Bring your camera.
March 29, Saturday: Jane's Party to Clear Magnolia River
Contact: Jane Agee, 251-965-7154
Yes, Jane will be throwing another one of her wonderful parties at her house on Magnolia River. We will be cleaning up some deadfall at the top of the Magnolia River, near Jane's house. This is going to require a mix of paddlers, waders, workers, and a power boat. Bring your willingness to get wet, help, and to party after we've made a path through the deadfall. It'll be fun, and the food will be good (as always). Click on http://baykayaker.blogspot.com/2003_02_09_baykayaker_archive.html#88918625 to read an explanation by Tom Fink of how to clear deadfall while causing a minimum of harm to aquatic life.
March 30, Sunday: Boiling Creek
Contact: Bob Andrews h/w)344-8664 cell)367-4144
Comments: This is a club favorite. Boiling Creek is in Eglin Air Force Base near Milton, Florida, and you will need a current, valid recreational permit from Eglin AFB to paddle with us there. Information on how to obtain such a permit appears at the end of this calendar of events, and is always posted on the MBCAKC web page under "Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQs").
And already scheduled for April: 2-3 days on the Okatoma River
Date: Saturday-Sunday, April 5-6
Contact: Mark 458-7574
Comments: This trip will include some beginner whitewater. Mark proposes to camp one or two nights at the Okatoma Outdoor Post in Mississippi, which offers cheap campsites with few amenities, and do day trips of varying lengths from there. You can join Mark's group for day trips, without staying overnight, if you get there early in the morning.
The next club meeting will be on April 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fairhope Yacht Club. Regular meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month, same time, same place.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Construction and dedication of shelter on Appalachian Trail in memory of Ann McDuff
You can imagine how pleased and happy we were when Larry McDuff told us after the club meeting last night that the Appalachian Trail Conference will build a shelter in memory of his wife, Ann. The shelter will be located north of Wayah Bald and south of the Nantahela Outdoor Center, near the junction of the Bartram and Appalachian Trails. Because the Ann McDuff Shelter will also be near a highway, through-hikers will not be the only ones who enjoy it; it can also be enjoyed by families on local day- or overnight-trips. If you would like to contribute to the construction of this shelter, contributions should be sent to the Appalachian Trail Conference, Post Office Box 807, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425-0807. Please make your check payable to the "Appalachian Trail Conference" and BE SURE to write on your check that it is "for shelter to be built in memory of Ann McDuff."
Thanks to Jay Mengel of the Pascagoula River Alliance for his presentation at last night's club meeting. To join the Pascagoula River Alliance (for free), please e-mail your name, e-mail address, phone number, and snail-mail address to Jay at email@example.com. Jay's phone number is 228-497-5084, and his cell phone is 228-369-0901. Remember, Jay also offers tours of the bayous and Horn Island, can arrange shuttles, knows local outfitters and bed-and-breakfast owners, and is glad to share his knowledge and contacts to encourage our "eco-tourism" in the Pascagoula River area.
We, as a club, have a lot to look foward to, as we explore some of the areas Jay talked about last night.
In related news: the Pascagoula River in Mississippi is also the subject of an article in this month's Canoe & Kayak Magazine. At the same time, this month's issue of Sea Kayaker has an article on Appalachicola Bay and the St. Vincent's Preserve in Florida. Here we are, right in between two beautiful paddling destinations, with comparable, though perhaps (and fortunately?) less publicized, destinations in our own backyards here in Alabama.
How to Obtain a Permit to Paddle Boiling Creek
A current permit is required to paddle Boiling Creek in Eglin Air Force Base. The permits are good from 1 October to 30 September. They cost $5.00. You get a map along with the permit that is worth more than the fee.
Request the Recreational Permit, which is the one for paddling. You can get the permit from one of the gates or by mail. Permits may be obtained from the Jackson Guard Office (Natural Resources Branch), located at Highway 85 North, Niceville FL 32578 (850) 882-4164. The mailing address is:
Eglin Natural Resources Branch
107 Highway 85 North
Niceville, FL 32578
For each permit requested, send a photocopy of either a driver’s license or identification card which contains full name, current address (including zip code), current phone number, and date of birth. Specify the type of permit (recreational) desired. Be prepared to wait three weeks for delivery (though recent turn-arounds have been only a few days). Payments can be by personal check, money order, or cashiers check made payable to DFAS-LI Eglin AFB. Cash is not accepted.