Unlike many other Georgia rivers that start along the flanks of ridges in the edges of national forest lands, the Ocmulgee—meaning “where water boils up” in Muskogee—rises inside Atlanta’s I-285 perimeter highway as the South River in a jungle of asphalt and concrete, where its headwaters are buried beneath a hazardous waste site. Its other main tributaries, the Alcovy and Yellow, rise in the fast-growing, Gwinnett County suburbs and those tributaries haven’t escaped the consequences of city life. Still, the Ocmulgee is home to a hundred species of fish (about 85 of them are native to the river) as well as 18 native freshwater mussel species, including seven species found nowhere else in the world.
Author Joe Cook provides both beginner and expert water sports enthusiasts all the necessary information they need to enjoy the full length of the river. “Ocmulgee River User’s Guide” includes detailed maps, fishing and camping locations, mile-by-mile points of interest, put in and take out suggestions and an illustrated guide to the animals and plants living in and around the river. The guide’s readers will enjoy the introduction and overview of the river; descriptions of each river section, a natural history guide with species of interest, boating safety and etiquette information, a fishing guide and notes on organizations working to protect the Ocmulgee.