A New River Celebration Day will be held at New River State Park Highway 221 access point in Laurel Springs on Saturday, Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Organizers hope to continue raising stewardship awareness of the river and promoting its recreational value to the area.
Outdoorsmen and aspiring environmentalists of all ages are invited to a day of fun and recreation while appreciating the educational value of the American Heritage River. Some of the day’s creative activities includes a River Ramble session, which will consist of collecting aquatic insects to better understanding the health of the river, a Nature Walk, two guided one-hour canoe trips, a children’s fishing program, river tube rides for kids, and a special presentation by the North Carolina Zoo on the Eastern Hellbender salamander.
John Groves, North Carolina Zoo Reptiles and Amphibian curator, will introduce the Hellbender. That particular species of giant salamander can grow up to two feet in length that thrives in cool water conditions of the southern Appalachians. Park Ranger Scott Robinson said that the species is believed to be in decline and one of the focal points of the celebration is to raise awareness of the salamander and to protect it. Join Lori Williams, a biologist for the NC Wildlife Resource Commission, for an encounter with a live salamander for those who have yet to enjoy the privilege of examining one up close.
If playing in the river and enjoying aquatic wildlife is not your cup of tea, then maybe you will be enticed by live gospel or traditional bluegrass music that will be held throughout the day. Winners of the River Poetry Contest will read their poems and there will be prize drawings for participants of nature programs.
You don’t want to miss the celebration’s grand finale either as the Elkland Arts Center of Todd will perform an environmental costume parade to put the entire event in perspective. Join in by wearing a costume provided by the Elkland Arts Center.
Snacks will be available from Ashe County Worship Center Youth.
For more information on the celebration, call (336) 982-2587.
(Information also provided by Jackie Nelson.)