The annual expedition of the New River begins this Saturday as boaters will begin the four-week, 235-mile trek down the river.
From July 24 through August 18, boaters can have the opportunity of a lifetime to be on the beautiful New River from the High Country of North Carolina all the way to the mouth of the river in West Virginia.
The journey begins at Brookshire Park in Boone on Saturday with a kick-off event, and for the first week, boaters will be in Watauga and Ashe County making several different stops along the way.
Week two is scheduled to begin in Bridle Creek, across the state line into Virginia on July 31. From there, boaters will navigate the river through Virginia until Aug. 14 when the expedition moves into West Virginia for the final few days of the journey. The celebration of a successful trip down the New is scheduled for Aug. 18 at the mouth of the river in West Virginia, as another expedition will be complete.
There are several hotels, campgrounds, and cabin rental areas along the way for each boater to stop for the day and rest up for the next adventure on the river.
Although a schedule is in place, there are different circumstances that may force a change in the daily schedule, including weather and low water levels here and down the river.
“We are likely to have a ‘buttdragging’ experience…there will be a few places we’ll have to carry,” said George Santucci, executive director of the National Committee for the New River (NCNR).
Weather may be a factor in the trip, but rain would be a welcome sight to help keep raise the water levels in the New.
“We are hoping the river gods will smile on us and send us a few showers between now and then,” Santucci said Tuesday.
While the trip is sure to be an exciting and fulfilling journey through some of the most beautiful landscapes around, this trip is also designed to bring awareness to protection and conservation of the New River. Currently, there have been some concerns about impurities in the water. According to Santucci, runoff from a parking lot in Boone fouled the water in a tributary the flows into the New River. There was a fish kill in the tributary, but so far there is no noticeable impact to the river as a whole.
“We hope that communities will stop straight piping runoff to creeks and consider filtering it through wetlands,” Santucci added. He recently inspected an area constructed near another Boone parking lot to do just that. The water would flow from the parking lot into a marshy area containing plants native to the area. Impurities like oil and winter road salt can be filtered out of runoff in such an area before the wather reaches streams.
Those making the full trip, or joining in along the way are responsible for their own boating and equipment needs, as well as food, camping, and lodging. River Girl Fishing, Zaloo’s Canoes, and Riverside Canoes are three outfitters in the county that will be helpful to any boater making the journey in the High Country.
For more information on the New River Expedition, contact NCNR at (336) 982-NCNR or visit their website at http://www.ncnr.org.