DRBA outing on Saturday

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The Dan River Basin Association’s May 6 First Saturday Outing will launch at Eden’s Draper Landing Access. Mark Bishopric, avid canoeist and DRBA board member, will coordinate the seven-mile float from the public river access point to just below the Berry Hill Bridge at the North Carolina-Virginia line.

Participants are asked to meet at 10 a.m. at the access’s graveled parking lot, beside the NC 700 Bridge to set the shuttle. ¬†Boat rentals and shuttle for the float are available.

Participants are asked to provide boat, life jacket for each boater, lunch and water, to dress in layers of artificial (quick-drying) fabric and to sign a waiver.

The trip is part of the series of year-round First Saturday Outings that have been offered by DRBA for 15 years. On earlier floats along this section of the Dan, clusters of large Great Blue Heron nests have been spotted high in the trees. Herons often escort DRBA’s flotilla along the river, unless they are busy with their family duties.

In this Class I trip, participants will navigate at least seven ledges and shoals with long-standing historic names found on old maps. Six have been made easier to navigate by structures, such as sluice walls, built in the nineteenth century by the Roanoke Navigation Company and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The sluices concentrate the river’s water over shallow ledges, creating a channel deep enough to float long, narrow bateaux, the commercial “semi-trailers” of early river travel. Boaters today still benefit from the working navigation system that makes the river floatable, even in extreme drought.

Other interesting facts about the geology, history, and culture of this section of the river can be found in Maps 42 – 45 of “An Insider’s Guide to the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia,” available at www.danriver.org .

Driving directions: To reach Draper Landing Access from the north or west, take NC 14 to NC 700 East. Travel on NC 700 about 4 miles through Eden to the bridge over the Dan River. After crossing the bridge, go 0.1 mile and turn left into the gravel driveway to the access.

From the south take US 29 North, turning left (west) on NC 700. Just past Quesinberry Road, turn right into the gravel driveway to the access beside the NC 700 Bridge over the Dan.

From the east take US 29 South, turning right (west) on NC 700, and proceed as described above.

Outings and meetings of the Dan River Basin Association are open to the public without charge.

FURTHER INFORMATION: For trip information, contact trip coordinator Mark Bishopric, mbishopric@3-r-o.com, 336-627-6215.

For information about the Dan River Basin Association, visit www.danriver.org.