NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 16, 2018) – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District employees, family members and retirees participated in a canoe, kayak, and boat voyage down the Cumberland River in celebration of the district’s 130th Anniversary.
The team completed 650 miles of the 694 miles of Cumberland River in 51 legs spread out through five months.
“I’m proud of the Nashville District team, and everyone that had a hand in this historic event,” said Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, Nashville District commander. “This was an excellent way for the district to commemorate our anniversary.
The 51-leg journey started at the confluence of Clover Fork, Martins Fork, Kent and Poor Fork of the Cumberland River in Harlan, Kentucky and was completed at Smithland Boat Ramp on Cumberland River below Barkley Dam at the confluence of the Ohio River in Smithland, Kentucky.
Jones commended Adrian “Bruce” Rogers, Michael Arles, both geologists, in the Engineering and Construction Division and Army Lt. Clint Lacure for coordinating and serving as team leaders for the Nashville District’s 130th Anniversary Canoe Voyage.
“These guys kept the ball rolling and were great leaders and through their vision saw a way to engage and enrich the entire district that people can stay active and I personally appreciate them,” said Jones.
Rogers led the charge and took the first leg, completed two other legs, and was at Smithland boat ramp to help Caleb, lock master for the Kentucky lock and his wife, April Skinner, completed the last leg journey.
“The keys of our success were: safety and participation, and we got that,” said Rogers. “I think everyone had the opportunity to see some amazing sights of things they ordinarily don’t get to experience, as they travel with the flow of the river.”
Arles said Rogers came up with the idea, but he remembered the St. Paul district had planned and executed a canoe trip similar, so he reached out to the coordinators and St. Paul shared the information.
“They shared everything with us, their safety plans, lists of equipment, recommended gear and essential equipment,” said Arles.
The Nashville team developed a safety plan and outline for the trip down the Cumberland River and submitted it to leadership.
Rogers said Lacure was instrumental in the plan development, working with them to finalize trip logistics. Lacure later left the district before the journey was completed.
Arles said the key for success was that each team had the opportunity to share emergency gear, a satellite phone, maps, GPS and each team documented their journey on a log book. Teams supplied their own canoes, kayaks or powered vessels.
Each team received water safety briefings, an overview of river navigation symbols, water safety, and water and nature hazards, and other safety information. Sections of the river such as Cumberland Falls were not navigated for safety.
Mike Brown, a civil engineer, in the E & C Division, invited his wife, Rebecca, to paddle on several legs and said it allowed them to enjoy the scenery, spend family time together while experiencing the beautiful scenery on the river.
“We love to do things together”, said Brown. “We had a great day taking our time on the water and really enjoyed the group.”
Rogers said the main objectives were to celebrate the 130th Anniversary, reflect on the development of the Cumberland River Basin, remember the past, enjoy the present, and dream about the future of the waterway that is vitally important to the region.
Karen Halter, an accountant, in the Resource Management Office, and Sarah Wiles, a geologist, in E&C shared a kayak and said they were both excited to have the opportunity to get outdoors, hangout with other kayakers and they are ready to do it again next year.
“I had a great time on the water because I love to be outdoors,” said Halter. “I love kayaking and it was so much fun to get out see areas I normally would not see.”
Rogers said the average distance per day was to 13 miles with four to six hours of paddling. The journey was divided into 51 legs to allow for variation of weather and participation. Each team consisted of a minimum of two people and one craft.
Teams utilized multiple vessels to during the trip.
Linda Adcock, the Center Hill Dam, project manager, traveled several legs multiple times. She traveled 40 miles with her husband in their fish/ski boat from Celina, Tenn., to Gainesboro, Tenn. He fished and she relaxed and read along the journey.
On her second leg, she partnered with Vanessa Bateman, a geologist from E & C Division. They traveled together in separate kayaks from Carthage, Tenn. to Old Hickory.
“I love to be on the Cumberland River, it feeds my soul,” said Adcock. “It rejuvenates me to be near the water, so I take advantage to do things like this and I had so much fun.”
Jones said he’s proud of the Nashville district and thinks it is great for the district to do activities like traveling down the Cumberland.
“We have more than 730 employees in the district and that deliver the program on a daily basis, there is no better time to focus on the future and workforce readiness of the Nashville District than when the organization celebrates such a great milestone such as 130th Anniversary.”
Information about the 130th anniversary, a historic milestone, and photos from the voyage, are available on the district's public web page at www.lrn.usace.army.mil/130. The web page includes resources, historical information, vignettes, and timeline where photos will be posted throughout the year.
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