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Geologist tells story of gold rush on trail
Geologist and author Dr. Bill Witherspoon will talk about Georgia’s gold rush this weekend.

Geologist and author Dr. Bill Witherspoon will literally walk visitors through the historical Georgia gold rush Aug. 24 during the Smithgall Woods State Park’s annual Gold Fever event in Helen.

Advance registration is required. Call 706-878-3087 to reserve a space.

The day will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the park with a historical overview of gold mining at the site by the park’s interpretative ranger. Witherspoon then will walk visitors along the Martin Mine trail and finish with the slideshow, “Geology, Gold, and the Making of Georgia” at 11:30 a.m. The talk will explain how gold deposits were made and how gold sparked America’s first gold rush, which contributed to Georgia’s unique character.

At 2:30 p.m. Witherspoon will be present the seminar “River Rivalries: the Battle That Made Blue Ridge Scenery” at Unicoi Lodge. The slideshow illustrates how eroding streams battle each other for supremacy, creating scenic features such as Tallulah Gorge, Anna Ruby Falls and the mountain slopes above Helen.

The final event at 4:30 p.m. will be a walk to Anna Ruby Falls from its visitor center. Along the trail, walkers will observe the effects of intense heat and pressure during the collision of North America and Africa.

At the twin cascades of Anna Ruby Falls, the difference in origin of a cascade versus a sheer-dropping waterfall will be explained.