COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is warning the public against the dangers that lurk beneath the Chattahoochee River. In September, the number of alligator sightings drastically increased in areas with calmer waters.
During the summertime when we got down past about a half a mile past the Riverwalk, we saw 25 to 30 alligators.Investigator Russell Sharman, MCSO Master Underwater Criminal Investigator
The Columbus Riverwalk is one of the most frequented walking areas of Columbus. However, local officials say this doesn’t deter what lurks beneath. The Fort Moore Dive Team and The Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office Divers and Boat Patrol reported an increase in alligator sightings near the U.S. Hwy 280 bridge behind the Civic Center.
There’s wildlife that can be anywhere at any given time in Columbus or in Georgia, anywhere you go. So you always have to be observant of where you’re at, where you step and where you’re walking at all times. Daytime and nighttime.”Investigator Russell Sharman, MCSO Master Underwater Criminal Investigator
The Georgia fall line goes from Columbus to Augusta. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says alligators usually live south of the fall line, so these alligators are not out of their normal habitat. The rise in alligator sightings brings concern to those swimming, boating, and fishing in calmer waters.
We just want the citizens of Columbus, Georgia, to know that there is a threat along the Riverwalk. There are alligators out there to be cautious with your pets and yourself while you’re out on the Riverwalk. Because not only alligators, but there is a lot of wildlife along the Riverwalk.”Investigator Russell Sharman, MCSO Master Underwater Criminal Investigator
While whitewater rafters and kayakers are less likely to see alligators in the rapids, MCSO urges everyone to use caution along the Chattahoochee River.