Helen City Commission looks for ways to prevent pollution of the Chattahoochee River


Helen City Commissioners met with stakeholders Tuesday hoping to find a way to protect a valuable resource: the Chattahoochee River.

HELEN, Ga. – Various stakeholders, including city officials, citizens who live on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, tubing rental company owners and outfitters participated in a spirited 45-minute discussion about what to do about the trash in and along the river during Tuesday’s Helen City Commission meeting.

Helen is one of the most heavily visited towns in Georgia and tubing on the ‘Hooch is a favorite pastime. While those who choose to float the river are part of the problem, they certainly are not all of it.

Mayor Helen Wilkins said plastic bottles and flip flops are a major problem. She added that she hopes flip flops will be banned.

David Greer, who lives along the river, says tubers lose plastic bottles and flip flops when they hit the rapids and are unable to recover them.

Representatives of Helen’s tubing rental companies, Cool River Tubing and Helen Tubing and Waterpark, attended the meeting and told commissioners they do their best to prevent trash from getting into the river, and they make daily runs down the river to clean up any trash they find.

Derek Long, of Helen Tubing and Helen Waterpark, told commissioners, “I’m not saying there’s not a problem. There is a problem. I am saying that there are angles too that a lot of people haven’t seen as far as us trying to help clean up. It’s a lot bigger task than for just two tubing companies.”

Commissioner Jeff Ash suggested the formation of a committee made up of himself and another city commissioner, representatives from both tubing companies, Jimmy Harris of Unicoi Outfitters and others to meet in January, February and March, to come up with a plan to end the river pollution.



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