[The
following is excerpted from a series of email posting from GCA member
John Pinyerd, who has been working out at the Water Works for years
as part of his quest for excellence in racing. John has been a
member of the US Wild Water Team and also races slalom, having taken
home many medals in the Southeasterns. – Editor.]

I
understand that the AJC and the local Atlanta TV Stations made a big
deal about the security of Atlanta’s water supply. They claim that
the Atlanta Water Works is a likely target of terrorists (it made a
great panic story). Because of all the attention, they had a big
debate in City Hall… etc., and Bill Campbell has closed the Water
Works. Permanently! No more kayaking, ever! They are taking down
the slalom gates. You boat, you go to jail!

I
was told this by a very understanding city worker. He also said that
they were even going to put security cameras up to monitor the water
intakes, and for kayakers. He felt like the local neighbors (in blue
blood estates) also put pressure on the city to keep the undesirables
(AKA kayakers) out of their neighborhoods.
[Too
bad the city doesn’t monitor and control their sewage discharge this
closely. – Editor.]


While
I’m being speculative about what might happen if a paddler trespasses
at the Water Works, one fact is quite true. The Water Works was
closed to canoes and kayaks today. I was there today and got the information
first hand. The question remains as to what might happen if you
paddle in from another put-in…. but it sounded like they were going
to make sure there was no way to get in from any of the nearby access
points.

Looks
like I’ll go back to paddling flat water this winter for exercise.
There are a couple spots that I can put in on Azalea drive. Between
the closing of the Water Works, the Rangers shutting off all of the
Chattahoochee Recreation Areas after dark, and the fact that much of the land
is privately owned, there are few, if any, legitimate access points
in the winter (after we get off from work).

[Later…]
I worked on the south side of
Atlanta today so I went by the Water Works on the way home. There
were 3 city employees staffing the gate. They allowed me in because
I had a kayak on the roof, but they required me to sign in (they did
not ask for ID so I’m really wondering what the sign-in is about).
There were also 2 security guards patrolling the premises & they
were also friendly and talkative.

They
told me that the Water Works would be open (and have security) at
least until after the election. They said that the decision on
whether or not to let us paddle there had been postponed until after
the election. Also, they said that the city may privatize the Water
Works & that the new owners probably would not let us in.

It
probably would not hurt for you City of Atlanta types to call/write
the mayors office concerning access. Also, if they are keeping score
on usage, it may be a good idea for us year-round paddler types who
do not mind paddling in scum to show up there (one note, they will
not let you in after dark).

[Later…
]
Well as you guessed, I went and
paddled at the WW Sunday afternoon. The WW supervisor was told to
kick us out a 4:00…. but he did not follow orders and told us that
it was OK to stay later. I left at 4:45 and he said that his report
would show that they kicked us out at 4:00. They had 3 city employees
and two security guards watching the joint…. what a waste.

He
said our new problem is that the new director over the WW (city
water, etc.), is trying to prove that she can do the job and be
tough, etc. He told me that the WW would be closed this week…. and
not to show up in the afternoons. He was totally uncertain about
being open during the weekend or in the future. He also encouraged
us to paddle in from other locations if they lock us out. He told me
that the whole thing is stupid anyway — that if a terrorist wanted
to blow up the WW, a little fence would not keep ’em out. At least
when there are paddlers there, somebody’s keeping an eye on the
place.

I’ve
heard from a couple sources that Mike Larimer (as team coach) will
meet with the City of Atlanta reps. Hopefully they will at least let
slalom racers in.

By John
Pinyerd
From The Eddy Line, December 1997