White Oak River, Emmetts Lane Bridge to Gibson Bridge, January 26, 2005

This was an excellent trip. It was also the first trime we have been able to paddle this 8 mile secton of the White Oak River since Floyd. This is all due to a $40,000 grant secured by Jones County through the State Office of North Carolina Division of Water Resources Development Grant Program.

The last time I paddled this section was with Jamie Cameron of the Tideland News. We expected the river to be cleaned at that time and wanted to to have “Before and After” experiences. He wrote “Extreme Canoeing A Big Challenge” then on June 21, 2001and now, finally, three years later he will be able to write the “after” version.

I will leave the story of the trip up to him. It will appear in The Tideland News next Wednesday, February 2nd.

We never had to get out of our boats. The water level was 4″ below zero if I read Mike Bank’s gauge right. The picture was taken under the bridge over the river at Route 17.. If you see the river like this you can paddle this section and in fact the entire river.

Beaver dams can make a liar out of me. I have no control over them. We did encounter several beaver dams and beaver lodges. After all, they have had the river all to themselves all these years. If the first boat will take the time to remove a few of the sticks at the lowest part at the surface of the dam, this will cause all the river flow to go thru this opening and create an nice rapid through the chute and give you a thrill as you shoot through the opening and down the rapid. White water on the White Oak! Thanks to the beavers!

We were all concerned about the heavy concentration of noxious weeds we encountered. We believe these will completely block the river to paddling this summer if they are not eradicated. The first concentration was about 1/2 hour below Emmett’s Lane Bridge. Later we encountered another already bright green weed with a knife like blade. This did not appear invasive. When we hit the power line area a third type of weed almost blocked the river. We feel sure this summer it will close it down.

This would be a shame after all these efforts to get the river cleared of blown down trees blocking the river. I am sending copy of this e-mail to J. R. Batchelor of Onslow County and Rob Emens, of NC State Plant Pest Control and hope they can prevent this from happening.

Again we thank Larry Meadows, Jones County Manager and the Jones County Commissioners and Jeff Bruton of NC Water Resources and Connie Asero who wrote the Grant, and Mike Banks who is supervising the work in progress. We also thank all those who voluntered to remove trees obstructing the river thus making the Grant money go further.

Today’s participants were Jamie Cameron of Stella, Dale Weston of Jacksonville, Brian Leavy of Pine Knoll Shores, Jim Stevens and Tom Fineco of New Bern and Joanne Somerday of Kinston. Elmer