forecast weather station weather station

It's Wednesday May 29, 2024

News From The Village Updated Almost Daily

Paddling The Neuse End to End
Oriental Bound, Bringing Attention To The Waters
April 16, 2015

his week, a group of paddlers is traveling the Neuse River from Falls Lake Dam in Wake County to Oriental to draw some attention to the river and its waters. At night they camp on the banks of the Neuse. They set out on Sunday, April 12. Among the small group of kayakers are some representatives of the Neuse River Foundation, the Twin Rivers Paddling Club president and a thru-hiker on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

For several padadlers, this is the second year in a row paddling the Neuse from Falls Lake to Oriental. Bill Hines, Oriental’s local Creekkeeper with the Neuse River Foundation, provides a sketch of what this year’s trip is about:

Mapping Jobs Along The Way

One of the purposes of this year’s paddle is to do a final check for the new Neuse River Paddling Guide. The Guide is a joint venture with the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. We are hoping the Guide will make the river more accessible and using it, we hope to offer multi-day paddling experiences.

The Neuse River is one of the legs of the Mountains-to Sea Trail. We will be confirming GPS points for every bridge, launch and camp along the river. One of the people paddling the Neuse this year is doing it as part of his thru-trail hike for the year. He is going to start with the river section and then do the hiking sections from the Neuse to the Outer Banks and then finish with the section from the Smokey Mountains to Falls Lake Dam.

Assessing The Health of the Neuse

As part of the annual paddle we will be assessing the condition of the river. On our first day we will need to portage around the Milburnie Dam. This dam has been a problem of the river since it stopped producing electricity over a decade ago. Eleven people have drowned at the dam and it has a serious impact on the ecology of the river by reducing the habitat of migrating fish such as American Shad, Striped Bass and Herring. Dam removal was authorized in 2002 and will finally be removed starting in the winter of 2015.

Coal Ash On This River, Too

Another problem area is the Duke Energy H. F. Lee Power Plant that shut down in 2012 and imploded the boilers in 2014 but left a massive unlined coal ash pond with 650 million gallons of coal ash just yards off the Neuse River and 10 miles up stream from Goldsboro’s water intake. The coal ash pond has been leaching dangerous arsenic and cancer-causing heavy medals into the river and ground water for many years, as evidenced by orange seeps coming down the bank. State regulators rate the dike surrounding the ponds as a high hazard of failure.

Still, A Good Place To Take A Kayak

These and other problems aside, the Neuse continues to improve. The fish are abundant, and the banks are lined with birds and other animals. The paddling is beautiful through the forests and large cypress areas. In many bends in the river are sand beaches for rest stops and swims. (This is an unsupported paddle, meaning that everyone will be bringing everything they need in their boats for camping along the way.)

The river towns are very welcoming with convenient restaurants and camping. Seven Springs is a little gem of a town with two restaurants and the Neuse River Trading Post that allows tent camping behind the store. Kinston’s on-river Neuseway Park (with a shower) is close to the Mother Earth Brewery and The Boiler Room. We will be able to eat in seven towns along the way, including Changin’ Latitudes in Minnesott Beach. If all goes well we will be arriving Sunday afternoon April 19 at Oriental’s Town Dock.


The following Saturday, April 26, is Neuse Cleanup Day. For more details on how you can help – either on the water or on land – click here.

Posted Thursday April 16, 2015 by Melinda Penkava

Share this page:

back to top