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Boy Scouts paddle Etowah in quest for 50-miler award
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A quest for the 50-miler award from The Boy Scouts led a troop through the Etowah River and Dawson Forest last week.

The 50-miler award is given to a Boy Scout who completes a 50-mile trek either by foot, canoe or boat, and takes at least five days to do it. On foot or by boat, the Scout must be self-propelled no motors allowed. And 10 hours of the excursion must be devoted to community service

Members of Troop 742, of Floyd County, chose the Etowah River for their trip. The trip started in Lumpkin County, assistant scoutmaster William Ballard said. Wednesday, June 27, and 17 miles into their journey, they set up camp at River Park on Highway 9.

Ballard said the county had been very accommodating about allowing the Scouts to camp at the park. "A sheriff's deputy even drove by to check on us," he said.

Trip coordinator Melissa Ballard said the section of the river from River Park to Kelly Bridge was one of the highlights of the trip.

Ballard said they spent the day cleaning up trash along riverbanks. "They (the Boy Scouts) gathered five bags of trash and a large piece of Styrofoam they named Blocky.

"The boys loved that section of the river so much," she said. "They are already making plans to come back."