Chapter History

The roots of Rabun TU go back to 1965 when Doug Adams, Jim Nixon and Bill Kelly began camping and fishing together at THE RIVER (a.k.a. the Chattooga North Fork).

By 1976 the group had added several additional “regulars” and had started making annual campouts every May at THE RIVER and summer road trips to camp and fish in Colorado.

They adopted the name Klondike Enterprises and the motto, “Gold is Where You Find It.” By 1985 the informal fishing club had about 20 regulars and 8 or 10 “next generation” youngsters.

Beginning in the mid 70s and continuing through the early 80s, THE RIVER suffered a steep decline in the quality of the angling experience, especially solitude and catch rate. In 1985, about 15 members of GA and SC TU leadership in Atlanta, Greenville and Columbia met in a cabin on Ford Mountain in Rabun County on October 19th for a lengthy discussion of concerns and possible remedies. A working committee of 5 spent the next month preparing a joint resolution sent December 5th. Doug Adams, a Chattooga angler since 1955 and member of TU, was invited to serve on that committee. The cover letter and resolution requested a meeting with the fishery professionals in the US Forest Service and Georgia and South Carolina Departments of Natural Resources to express concerns about the decline in THE RIVER fishery.

The professionals came to Ford Mountain on February 28, 1986. The professionals listened as the “city” TU folks described the decline in the fishery and their suggested solutions involving “catch & release” and “fly fishing only” regulations. The professional proposed an action plan that included a 3-year study to collect data scientifically on water quality, the fishery, angler use patterns and angler experiences. It was the beginning of the Chattooga Coalition. (To read more about the Chattooga Coalition, click

In May 1986, the Klondikers held their annual 5-day campout at THE RIVER. At that campout they discussed how the organized “city” TU members were trying to sway the professionals in the future management of THE RIVER. The “locals” needed to also organize so that they could express their views and to “give something back” to the coldwater resources that have meant so much to them. The Klondikers voted to request a charter from National TU for a Rabun Chapter.

After proper advertising in the local paper, the provisional Rabun Chapter held its organizational meeting in the community room of the Rabun County Library on July 15th, 1986. A slate of officers was elected: Doug Adams-President, Jim Nixon–VP, Tom Landreth–VP & Newsletter Editor, Tom Shirley–Secretary/Treasurer, Jim Darnell, Fritz Vinson & Jim Kidd–Directors. The Rabun Chapter received its Charter on August 7th. There were 26 charter members, and 15 of those are still members today. Also, 7 of the Klondike “youngsters” have since joined the Chapter.

At that time, Rabun was the only Georgia TU Chapter in the mountains north of Roswell and between Dalton and Greenville, SC. After Art Shick and his young sons came over from SC to participate in a Rabun TU camping/fishing/in-stream work-outing, he and Ray Mortensen decided to form the Chattooga River Chapter in Clemson (1988). The Georgia Foothills Chapter in Clarkesville formed as a Rabun TU “spinoff” when Rabunite Jimmy Harris decided to apply for a TU charter for his hometown (1993). Presently there are 3 more chapters in the Northeast Georgia mountains, located in Blairsville, Blue Ridge and Dahlonega.

In the summer of 1986 Rabun TU volunteers started working on projects to restore the Chattooga North Fork fisheries and have since logged over 100 in-stream work outings throughout Northeast Georgia, always under the guidance and supervision of agency professionals.

Every year since 1992 the Rabunites have provided funds for summer interns to work with GA DNR and Forest Service professionals to improve wild trout fisheries in Northeast Georgia.

The Chapter has become famous for the annual Rabun Rendezvous fundraiser (started in 1987) held every January in the Dillard Conference Center and welcoming more than 250 like-minded trout enthusiasts.

The Chapter has always had several camping and fishing outings each year, including a 4-vehicle, 16-member caravan for a 10-day road trip to Wyoming in 1990.

Rabunites have been recognized in several magazine and newspaper articles for their conservation and volunteerism. In 1992, the USDA Forest Service presented the Chapter a “Certificate of Appreciation” for volunteerism. National TU awards include the Chapter Silver Trout Award in 1989, Professional Conservationist awards to Monte Seehorn in 1989 and to Jeff Durniak in 2006, Distinguished Service award to Doug Adams in 2004, Youth Education Leadership award to Kathy and Charlie Breithaupt in 2007 and Best Website award in 2010 to Pat Hopton and Allison Adams.

Over the years, as the other 4 chapters in the Georgia Mountains were chartered, numerous Rabun TU memberships were transferred over to them. Yet the Rabun Chapter has grown to more than 150 memberships, including 21 life memberships. Rabunites still enjoy the fellowship of camp cooking, campfire stories, live bluegrass music and trout fishing. They are still a “hands-on” group working on in-stream habitat improvements and advocating for clean water and the protection of NE Georgia’s coldwater fisheries.

Over the years, however, their emphasis has shifted to the education of the next generation of the coldwater conservationists: Passing it on!

The history of Rabun TU as recalled by Doug Adams (Rev 10/1/2011)

Past Chapter Presidents and the year(s) they served:

  • Doug Adams- 86, 87, 88, 91, 92
  • Jim Nixon- 89, 90
  • Kyle Burrell- 93
  • Jim Kidd- 94
  • Tom Landreth- 95, 96
  • Russ Burken- 97, 98
  • Terry Seehorn- 99, 00
  • Charlie Breithaupt- 01, 02, 03
  • Ray Kearns- 04, 05
  • Terry Rivers- 06, 07
  • Jimmy Whiten- 08, 09
  • Larry Walker- 10, 11
  • Pat Hopton- 12, 13, 14
  • Steve Perry- 15, 16
  • Kent Wilson- 17, 18
  • Jeff Durniak- 19
  • New Kiosks at Burrell’s Ford

    The Rabun Chapter recently donated funds to help pay for a new kiosk to be located at the Burrells Ford Bridge, near the trailhead to Ellicotts Rock. The kiosk will encourage visitors to practice “Leave No Trace” outdoor recreation. Read more here.




New Kiosks at Burrell’s Ford

The Rabun Chapter recently donated funds to help pay for a new kiosk to be located at the Burrells Ford Bridge, near the trailhead to Ellicotts Rock. Read more.



Read Your Chapter Newsletter

Call to Action! Attention All Rabunites!

If you are out fishing and see a stream conservation need (erosion control, bank restoration, trout structure maintenance, etc), contact the Georgia Council. Details here.



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