The Ocmulgee River Water Trail Project started in 2010 as a partnership between the counties of Bleckley, Houston, Twiggs, and Pulaski and the City of Hawkinsville. The 200 mile water trail was completed in 2010, a time when other water trail projects around Georgia were gaining momentum. With the focus increasing on the value of water trails in the state, the success of the Phase 1 Ocmulgee Water Trail led to discussions about expanding it to include a 200 mile section of river from Macon to the start of the Altamaha River near Lumber City in Telfair County. This proposal was presented to a community gathering in August of 2010 that included 3 regional commissions, chambers of commerce, tourism departments, Robins Air Force Base, counties, cities, and various local interests from the river corridor. The consensus from that meeting was to initiate the Phase 2 section of the water trail from Macon to the Altamaha River.
Representatives from the counties bordering the Ocmulgee River from Bibb County at the upstream end, to Jeff Davis and Telfair on the downstream end, as well as state and national organizations met in Hawkinsville, GA during 2011 and 2012 to continue discussions related to the organization of an effort to promote the Ocmulgee River and the water trail. Project partners involved in the discussion were as follows: New Town Macon, Ocmulgee National Monument, Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative, Middle Georgia Regional Commission, Southern Georgia Regional Commission, Heart of Georgia Altamaha Regional Commission, Warner Robins Air Force Base, GA Canoeing Association, Hawkinsville River Advisory Group, Hawkinsville/United Pulaski E. D. & COC, Counties of Bibb, Twiggs, Houston, Bleckley, Monroe, and Pulaski, Rivers Alive/Hawkinsville, Ocmulgee River Conservation Association, Altamaha River Partnership, City of Fitzgerald Tourism Office, City of Perry, City of Woodbine, City of Hawkinsville, UGA Archway Foundation, GA Dept. Economic Development, GA DNR, Bond Swamp NWR, Cochran/Bleckley Chamber of Commerce, GA Wilderness Society.
The outcome of these discussions was to create an Ocmulgee Water Trail Partnership (OWTP). The OWTP has appointed representatives from the eleven counties along the river corridor that wanted to participate in the OWTP. Each county commission selected four board members; two votes for each county with two alternates to attend meetings if the two primary members are not able to do so. Each county will work to develop a water trail advisory committee to coordinate with the OWTP board members.
The following counties currently have selected representatives forming the Partnership Board: