My scheduled GCA Chattooga IV trip was changed to Dawson County ‘s Shoal Creek due to participant cancellations and heavy rain in the area through midday . Shoal Creek is a beautiful and lively class I-II stream which has gotten some attention recently due to some Dawson County officials wanting to inundate four miles of it for a reservoir. I have run it about 7 times since 1974 and consider it a delightful gem. It is not on the AW database, but I wrote up a 1/14/95 club trip there in April 1995’s Eddy Line. Our crew were solo open boaters Chuck Wilburn, Liph Johnson and I.

The nearby Hwy. 53 USGS gauge read 1.16 when we put on at the Hwy. 53 bridge, one mile west of Dawsonville, and recorded almost 1.7 inches of rain in the previous 17 hours. This was just enough brown water to cover the creek’s many rocks in its overall 23 foot per mile gradient. We took out after 6 1/2 miles at the ford on Shoal Creek Road in the Dawson County Forest . We enjoyed a leisurely pace, frequent wildlife sightings, and the creek’s outstanding, unspoiled scenery, which is similar to the Lower Amicalola , though on a smaller scale. The creek is small, but we only had to haul over 2 downed trees, which was easy. This is a beautiful stream. See it before it’s destroyed, or, better still, fight the reservoir!

The gauge referred to is the new, USGS gauge, which reads .3 higher than the old staff gauge which the GCA (Allen Lewis) installed in the late 1970’s. Usually one would need a little more than this, but in this storm more rain fell in the Shoal Creek watershed than did in the Amicalola one just to its west. As you can see, a more detailed “Exploration” article on Shoal Creek can be found in the 4/95 Eddy Line, pp. 12-14.

Roger Nott
August 21, 2010