More than 50 participants joined a virtual meeting hosted by the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) on July 9 to hear presentations from safety experts, users and recreational asset owners and discuss outdoor safety in the region.
The nine presenters included Davis Montgomery, Duke Energy; Durwin Joyce, City of Martinsville Electric Department; Kevin Edwards, Piedmont Hydro Technologies; Matt Tatum, Henry County Public Safety; Allen Farrar, Rockingham County Sheriff Office; Todd Robertson, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR); Bill Tanger, Friends of the Rivers of Virginia; Bob Brueckner, Carolina Canoe Club; and Mark Bishopric, Co-Owner, Three Rivers Outfitters. Participants represented regional city and county municipal governments, state parks, state departments of conservation and recreation, land conservancy organizations, emergency and law enforcement agencies and businesses that sell outdoor recreational equipment.
“For many years, DRBA has worked with partners to build trails, parks and river accesses and our municipal tourism partners have been very successful in promoting these assets – which has resulted in a dramatic increase in users of outdoor recreation in our region,” said Brian Williams, DRBA’s program manager. “With this increase in usage, there is also the potential for an increase in accidents. The July 9th meeting brought regional stakeholders together to hear what others are doing to reduce that risk for our citizens and visitors and share their ideas to move forward. DRBA is committed to providing information that helps make the outdoor experience a safe and enjoyable one for all users.”
At the virtual meeting, dam owners discussed regulations regarding dams and ideas for improved safety, public safety and law enforcement described their best practices for emergency response, a recreational organization, canoe club and outfitter shared ideas for improved safety along rivers form a user perspective. In addition, Iowa is the leading state in deaths related to dams in the United States and Robertson from the DNR spoke about what they are doing to reduce that risk for kayakers and tubers. Participants were asked to share their challenges and new ideas related to safety during the meeting which resulted in almost 100 comments.
“Safety is not solved in one meeting, the discussion needs to be on-going, and ideas need to be shared freely and quickly with both stakeholders and users,” said Tiffany Haworth, DRBA’s executive director. “After the meeting, I heard from dozens of participants who are inspired to continue this conversation about safety in their own locality. DRBA will continue to provide tools, resources and information to continue to increase awareness and share best practices.”
To learn more about how to stay safe outdoors, please visit DRBA’s website at www.danriver.org/our-watershed/trails-and-river-info/trails-river-safety or view a short webinar at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qen4W7pPuLQ
To learn more about DRBA’s impact and programs that protect and conserve our natural resources, visit danriver.org.
The mission of the Dan River Basin Association is to promote and protect the natural and cultural resources of the Dan River basin through education, recreation, and stewardship. DRBA works to fulfill that mission by building river accesses and trails, educating people of all ages about protecting our natural resources, and protecting our water resources through water quality monitoring, cleanups and master planning. The Dan River basin is 3,300 square miles including sixteen counties throughout Virginia and North Carolina.