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Friends of the River collection

Collection number: ahc.MSS1269

Scope and Contents

These records document the efforts of the environmental and educational organization Friends of the River to preserve and protect the Chattahoochee River Corridor. Included are correspondence, financial records, membership lists, newspaper clippings, agendas, minutes, pamphlets, periodicals, publications, and subject files that highlight the work of this group and members Marcia Bansley and Claude Terry. The collection also includes organizational records from other environmental groups instrumental in creating the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area including Legacy Foundation, Chattahoochee River Coalition, and Georgia Conservancy. There are also by-laws, membership lists, and newsletters from the Georgia Canoeing Association.


  • 1966-2016, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Biographical / Historical

Friends of the River was an environmental and educational organization founded by the Atlanta Junior League in 1971 in response to rapid and uncontrolled development and water pollution along the Chattahoochee River in Georgia. Its purpose was to preserve and protect the 48-mile-long Chattahoochee Corridor from Buford Dam to Peachtree Creek through education, legislation, and land acquisition. The group emphasized the historical, natural, ecological, and recreational significance of the Chattahoochee River for the present and future use of all Georgians. Members of Friends of the River, along with other environmental groups, lobbied the United States Congress to pass legislation to create the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. On August 15, 1978, the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area Bill was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. The organization was in existence as late as 1984 and later ceased operations at an unknown date.

Marcia Bansley (1941- ) was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Northside High School in Atlanta in 1959 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1963. Bansley ran her family’s law firm for 10 years before earning a Juris Doctorate degree from Emory University School of Law in 1981. As a member of the Atlanta Junior League she joined Friends of the River and later served as secretary for the organization. Bansley also served as chairman of the board for the non-profit the Legacy Foundation which Friends of the River created to buy land along the Chattahoochee River. In this role she helped write and ensure passage of legislation to establish and expand the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Park. In 1985, Bansley was the founding executive director of Trees Atlanta and led that organization for 26 years until her retirement in 2011.

Claude Terry (1937-2019) was born in Cumming, Georgia. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from University of Tennessee in 1960 and Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Microbiology from University of Georgia in 1962 and 1965, respectively. From 1965-1967, Terry was a Post Doctoral Fellow at the United States Atomic Energy Commission in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Terry then moved to Atlanta and taught in the Department of Microbiology at Emory University from 1967-1974. An avid outdoorsman and canoer, he was an early member of the Georgia Conservancy and Georgia Canoeing Association in the late 1960s. In addition he was a technical advisor and stunt double in the 1972 movie Deliverance which was filmed on the Chattooga River in Georgia. Terry served as president of Friends of the River, president of Georgia Canoeing Association, and chairman of the Rivers and Streams action group of the Georgia Conservancy. He, along with members of Friends of the River and other environmental groups, helped create and pass the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area legislation in 1978. Terry co-founded the river conservation organization American Rivers Conservation Council (later American Rivers) in 1973 and was named a director emeritus in 2018.


9.8 linear ft. (18 document cases, two oversize boxes, and one audio cassette tape)




This collection is arranged alphabetically by titles supplied by staff.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Audio recording was made on audio cassette tape and can be made accessible only through conversion to digital surrogates. Patrons who request access to the audio content in this collection are responsible for digital conversion costs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1984, with subsequent additions

Related Materials

Visual materials have been separated from the collection. Please contact an archivist for access to these materials.

Bias in Description

As archivists, we acknowledge our role as stewards of information. We choose how individuals and organizations are represented and described in our archives. We are not neutral, and bias is reflected in our descriptions, which may not accurately convey the racist or offensive aspects of collection materials. Archivists make mistakes and might use poor judgment. In working with this collection, we often re-use language used by the former owners of the material. This language provides context but often includes bias and prejudices reflective of the time in which it was created. The Kenan Research Center’s work is ongoing to implement reparative language where Library of Congress subject terms are inaccurate and obsolete.

Kenan Research Center welcomes feedback and questions regarding our archival descriptions. If you encounter harmful, offensive, or insensitive terminology or descriptions, please let us know by emailing Your comments are essential to our work to create inclusive and thoughtful description.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2019 and reprocessed with additions in 2024.

Friends of the River collection
Ginny Van Winkle
April 2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305