Traveling the scenic river trail

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 8, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

At noon Saturday a boat coming downstream from Montgomery and headed toward Mobile stopped at the Selma City Marina for food and fuel.

Onboard were six Alabamians representing the Alabama Scenic River Trail and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Email newsletter signup

“We are checking facilities and historic points of interest for the trail,” said Thornton Clark, secretary of the Scenic River Trail.

They made the trip from Montgomery in three hours, traveling at 37 mph. Thornton made the trip by canoe as a teenager in nine days.

“The Alabama Scenic River Trail will be 631 miles long starting at Cedar Bluff where the Coosa River crosses into Alabama above Gadsden, and ending in Mobile Bay.

It will be longer than any scenic river trail within one state, including Alaska,” said Fred Couch, president of the Alabama Scenic River Trail and a white water kayaker, canoeist and instructor for 35 years.

Vice President of the Alabama Scenic River Trail Charlie Doster said the organization is an “Alabama unincorporated non-profit association 501c-3.”

“For this trail to work we must have gas available in Selma,”

said Richard Thompson, the owner and pilot of the 22-foot Cobia 98 Coastal deck.

Right now the gas pump is not working at the Selma City Marina, but owner Joe Sanders arranged for 30 gallons of gas to be delivered. The pump should be working within a few weeks, he said.

After refueling, the group dined on cheeseburgers in the marina, which was full of patrons watching the Auburn/Vanderbilt game.

The official opening of the trail will be in June 2008 when Richard Grove follows the Coosa River across the Alabama state line in a canoe and makes a 45-day journey to Mobile.

The Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel will be making brochures and there will be guidebooks made for each section of the trail.

At the last Selma City Council meeting, Clark was present when the council unanimously passed a resolution for the city to endorse and support the Alabama Scenic River Trail.

Sanders couldn’t be more pleased.

“Numerous groups already come down the river each summer from Montgomery and stop here at the marina,” Sanders said. “It helps if they call ahead so we can plan to get them gas and ice and food. We have made arrangements at hotels for them and help with transportation. This is really the only stop between Montgomery and Camden, which is another 70 miles down river.”

The boat pulled out and headed to Camden where the group planned to camp and then proceed to Fairhope in Baldwin County where a trailer was waiting to return the boat to Montgomery.