Dear Friends of the River:
Just in case you haven't had the occasion to tune in to recent happenings with the Friends of the Locus Fork River, I'll give you a quick overview. And yes, I'm going to ask you for your support – but you're gonna want to be a part of this!
Friends of the Locust Fork River seems to be trending. . . and that brings new opportunities for us to advance our mission of protecting this natural treasure. Three years ago we were pleasantly surprised to be recognized by the Blount- Oneonta Chamber of Commerce as the Volunteer Service Organization of the Year. As pleased as we were for the recognition (comments of “its about time!” were heard from the audience), I now realize that that was the starting bell for an amazing ride that may be just beginning. Building on our Monthly Outings and award winning Kids’ Day on the River, last year we finally began our River Access Project (RAP) to preserve and improve the public's access to the Locust Fork. FLFR has been an enthusiastic supporter for the County to re-purpose the old 231 bridge into a Scenic River Overlook. So the Commission President asked FLFR to assist the County in developing signage for their new Overlook Park – which we gladly agreed to do – though the money for signage is still to be found (hint, hint).
As you may know, the 231 bridge is the put-in for the stretch of the Locust Fork that is a regional destination for whitewater paddlers. Although the County's grant to develop the park did not include any monies for 'river access', FLFR spoke early and often for the need to preserve and hopefully improve the boaters’ access at the new park . . .
. . . and boy did the commissioners take our plea to heart. With FLFR's help to appreciate eco-tourism, all four commissioners contributed labor and machinery to not just improve access to the river, but design and install what will inevitably be called the Grand Staircase – which not only improves the access for boaters, but practically begs the public to 'come on down' to the river!
In keeping with the adage “no good idea goes unpunished”, FLFR next had the bright idea to install some exemplary landscaping to compliment the Grand Staircase – so of course we get to do it. We're enlisting the aid of the Master Gardeners, but in addition to their volunteer time, it's going to require some funds to do something comparably remarkable to the Grand Staircase.
Which brings us back to you dear friend of the river . . . we could really use your financial support. In addition to the expenses of the new River Access Project, we've completely overhauled our website (check us out at www.FLFR.org ), hired a part-time assistant to upgrade our database and e-bulletins, and agreed to buy the chemicals for a growing crew of Alabama Water Watch testers – all of which costs money.
This is the first Membership Appeal we've had in two years (we were really busy last year) so we're hoping you'll use the enclosed card and envelope to support us in this exciting period. . . or go online at www.FLFR.org. Thank you for your support! . . . and hope to see you on the river!
Stephen Guesman, President
Friends of the Locust Fork River, aka “FLFR,” was founded in 1991 to actively preserve the natural integrity of the river in its free-flowing state, and to that end, the lifestyle of the community that surrounds it. FLFR protects the river by educating youth, getting people out on the river through guided monthly outings, watchdogging polluters, and working with other statewide partner organizations to advocate smart water policy and better protection of rivers statewide.