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The voyager on Peachtree Creek

David R. Kaufman's journey down Atlanta's forgotten waterway

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John Wesley Powell had the Colorado. Lewis and Clark explored the Missouri. For Henry Morton Stanley, it was the Nile.

David R. Kaufman set his sights a bit more modestly. Since he moved to Atlanta as a kid in 1971, Kaufman wanted to uncover the mysteries of Peachtree Creek, a neglected stream that drains the northern half of Atlanta.

Now he's completed his voyage of discovery. Throughout the 1990s – sometimes with a friend, most often alone – Kaufman descended the North and South forks of Peachtree Creek, as well as some of its tributaries.

What he found by canoe and on foot, and what he recorded with a 4-by-5 camera, was a stream whose rich history and natural beauty has largely been pushed aside by roads, buildings, garbage, pollution – by a city that turned its back on what could be a magnificent resource. Yet remnants of that history and beauty remain. 

Kaufman shares his journey in a book, Peachtree Creek: A Natural and Unnatural History of Atlanta's Watershed (University of Georgia Press, 2007).

This report was prepared by Ken Edelstein, with assistance from Joeff Davis, Samantha Simon and Tammy Vinson. Online production by Alejandro Leal. 

Here are some photos and excerpts. 

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