The Band Kelley, Labor Day Barbecue, Conasauga River Protection

It’s been significantly cooler the past few days. We’ve seen 56 on the porch for morning coffee, and we’ve had an afternoon temperature below 70 at our place. And it’s beginning to dry out a bit. It feels good, after the summer we’ve had.

I heard an excellent, promising band last Saturday at the Union County Farmer’s Market. They’re called “The Band Kelley” and they are four siblings ranging in age from 23 to 9. The oldest brother, Timothy, plays guitar, the two daughters, Victoria,(13) and Bethany (15) play mandolin and violin/banjo respectively, and the youngest, Daniel (9) plays bass. They’re all accomplished bluegrass musicians. The guitarist solos fluently, and the mandolin player is also quite good. The fiddle player is outstanding. She’s placed second in the Georgia State Fiddle Championship and second in the Ellenboro, North Carolina Fiddler Convention. The bass player is solid, and a bit of a show stealing sideman. It seems Dad runs the soundboard and Mom watches over the CDs for sale and makes videos. My mind was on finding about twelve pounds of cabbage to ferment into sauerkraut and kimchi, but it slowly dawned on me that I was in the presence of a outstanding fiddle player. I was feeling too poor to buy the CD, but I’m kicking myself as we speak. If you have any love for bluegrass, you need to hear this band. I don’t know what their ambitions are, but if they can stay together for the next few years, they have the potential to make it, big. They are scheduled to play Vogel State Park on September 12th at 1:00. Here’s a link to their website, including tour schedule:

The Labor Day Barbecue is Monday, September 7.  This is one of my favorite events, as it brings everyone out, from the old boys to the newcomers. It starts in the downtown park about 11:30 and goes until the food runs out. Ribs are $12, chicken $10, pork sandwich $9, with good fixings and dessert. Take out is available at the far end of the park, entering on East Main from the south. For you first timers, there is a separate line for tickets and for food. Get a ticket first, then go through the line. Gospel and bluegrass will be played.

The Conasauga River is the first Georgia River to achieve designation as an Outstanding National Resource Water. You can find the snorkeling hole they refer to by following the directions to the “Confluence of the Jacks and the Conasauga”  on the “Blue Ridge Experience” tab:

The hole is downstream from the confluence a short distance. You’ll pass it as you follow my directions to the confluence.

“Georgia Designates First ‘Outstanding’ River
Highest Level of Protection Given to the Conasauga
Atlanta, GA—Georgia’s Board of Natural Resources passed a rule change Wed. morning that designates the headwaters of the Conasauga River as Georgia’s first ‘Outstanding National Resource Water’ (ONRW). The designation is the highest level of protection, identified in the Clean Water Act. Georgia is the only state in the Southeast, except for Mississippi, that had not designated an ONRW. Environment Georgia first petitioned the state for an ONRW in 2007.

“The Conasauga River deserves to be Georgia’s first ‘Outstanding’ river,” said Jennette Gayer Environment Georgia’s Director. “The headwaters of the Conasauga support one of the most biodiverse river ecosystems in the country plus it is a truly breathtaking part of our state to visit and enjoy.”The ONRW designation provides protections designed to prevent both point and non-point sources of pollution. New point sources of pollution, such as pipes, that are channeled into the designated segment are prohibited. Temporary changes to water quality could be allowed as a result of non-point source pollution but only if water quality would be maintained or improved in the long term.Carl Riggs, Georgia Trout Unlimited Council Chair, lauded protection for such a unique and pristine fishery. ‘These wild headwaters are what help make Georgia a trout fishing destination, treasures like the Conasauga deserve our utmost respect and ongoing care–there is no doubt this River deserves this designation,’ said Riggs.The proposed ONRW lies within the Cohutta Wilderness Area where cool, clean waters support outstanding trout fishing.  Just beyond the border of the Cohutta, pristine headwaters feed a snorkeling hole where outdoor enthusiasts can sneak a peak at more than 90 different fish species and 25 species of freshwater mussels.  Twelve of these fish and mussel species are federally designated as endangered or threatened species.Murray, Gilmer and Fannin Counties as well as nearly 100 businesses, groups of outdoor enthusiasts and non-profits have voiced their support for the Conasauga’s designation. At a public comment meeting, hosted by Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division in June, Environment Georgia delivered 6,061 petition signatures form Georgians urging the Board to take action and designate the Conasauga as ‘Outstanding’.’I have probably paddled 100 Georgia rivers, and none is more beautiful and deserving of being Georgia’s first ONRW than the headwaters of the Conasauga,” said Daniel MacIntyre, Chairman of the Georgia Canoe Associations Legal Committee.'”

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