Newport River, Chimney Island, February 16, 2005

Newport River, February 16, 2005,Morehead City

We set up shuttle at Crab Point Loop Road at the sharp west bend on Country Club Road. The following three pictures are what welcomed us. Nough said!


We put-in at Radio Island Morehead City Park on northeast shoulder of the high rise bridge.

It was foggy. I had been in a fog all morning. I was supposed to be on Ben Ball’s radio talk program at 6:45 AM. My apologies, Ben. I was in a fog more ways than one.

We stayed in a fog all day! Never saw a fog last so long. The tide took us toward Chimney Island but the westerly wind was blowing us to the east as we paddled along.
We came upon some island but no chimney. We turned west per our compasses and paddled and paddled into to a stiff west wind and finally spotted the chimney. I felt like I had paddled enough to be at our takeout at Crab Point Loop Road!

We landed on Chimney Island and immediately it was worth it all. Birds were everywhere. Apparently they don’t like the fog either. This is a very interesting island. The chimney is the focal point. Campers obviously think so too. We all just wish they would take their trash with them so others who come later could enjoy it too.
The white rectangle in the sky is the top of the huge chimney. The next one shows the beautiful bricks

We picked up trash and ate lunch and picked up more trash until we had my canoe full.
The next one is my loaded canoe. Folks, this is unnecessary. “If no one litters there will be no litter”. Wouldn’t that be wonderful. Let’s do it! Not litter, that is!.

The large snake will be a souvenir decoration on my back fence.


We aborted our trip plans and headed south to our put-in on Radio Island. The wind was in our face again having swung around to the south. The fog kept us from seeing the bridge. In spite of this and the wind, we made it back in 40 minutes.

We past what must have been a thousand water birds of all kinds. Alas, my camera was buried in my towed canoe with the trash. I was riding with Al Morris in his tandem kayak.

Brian Leavy and I stopped in and met Capt. Marti Bolster of Sea Tow. We tried to sell him that rope but he wasn’t buying. But we got better than that; he will help us with the trash when we get overloaded. Thanks Capt. Marti.

I stopped and saw Todd Miller at North Carolina Coastal Federation. He had been working on the White Oak River on one of their new land aquisitons and looked almost as bad as I did. He reported good progress toward the future plans for this property.

Next week, our continued exploration of Croatan’s Adventure to the Sea Trail

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Paddling Newport River, Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Paddling Wednesday, February 16, 2005. We are going with the forecast that says 68 degrees and mild and partly sunny.

We will put in at the Public Access on Radio Island This is the very first left coming off the high rise bridge from Morehead going east at the east end of the high rise bridge on Route 70 like we did last week.

We will paddle up to and explore the old chimney we saw on the island in the middle of Newport River and which we were all so intrgued with. We will then head west for Calico Bay and Crab Point Bay and then up around Crab Point and over to Lawson Point where we will take out at the end of Crab Point Loop Road which is off of Country Club Road where it makes the sharp bend to the west.

You can also get there by going out 20th street and turn left on Country Club Road and then right on Crab Point Loop Road at that same sharp bend in Country Club.

We will meet at MCDonalds in Cypress Bay Shopping Center. This is the big shopping center just before and between the junction Rte 70 and 24. Will meet and leave at 9:30. If you are going to eat here please be ready to leave at 9:30. We will set up the shuttle and then go to the put-in.

We should be off the river by 3:00. Bob Wendel’s pictures of last week’s paddle.
(Sorry, I could not get the pictures on here. E-mail me if you want them and I will send them to you.) Elmer

Calico Creek Paddle, February 8, 2005

Calico Creek Paddle, February 8, 2005

Every paddle is different. This one certainly was. We put in the water at 10:30 at Public Access on Radio Island. This is on the northeast shoulder of the high rise bridge.

The tide was strong and running out. We paddled across Newport River past the bridge and into Calico Creek past the large white phosphate holding tanks where the barges tie up to unload. Next came the new marina and then the Army Core of Engineers depot.

On the other side was a spoils island with a steep sandy beach. This is where the unusual birds were. See picture. They are Brown Pelicans per Jamie Cameron.

Going further upstream we came upon a large red boat See picture. Would love to know the history of this old beauty. It is an eyesore or an historical relict depending on you point of view.

Beyond this was a real boat grave yard of discarded and abandoned boats. Not exactly a tourist’s attraction.

The river then became very shallow and lined on both shores with residential buildings. Some large live oaks became a photo shot. See picture.

We soon came to 20th Street bridge. It was noon and we pulled out for lunch stepping in thick sticky mud to get ashore. We had a pleasant lunch on the bridge and then noticed our boats were stranded on the mud flat and a long way from the water.

We found firmer ground close to the bridge and launched there still in muddy conditions.

The low tide prevented us from getting to the shore where high tides deposit the trash. The trash did seem to be light and scattered except for the shore line across from the marina. This is a high steep firm sandy shore line covered with shrub like growth. See picture.

Time restrictions required that we pass up picking up this trash off this spoils island. Perhaps it can be done during upcoming Clean Sweep by some group.

Next week, weather permitting, we will continue to explore this area of the Newport River going upstream to Crab Point or vice versa depending on the tides and the wind.

All pictures courtesy of Bob Welden. (Sorry, I can’t seem to get his pictures on here.) I can e-mail them to you if you would like to see them.

Beyond this was a real boat grave yard of discarded and abandoned boats. Not exactly a tourist’s attraction.

The river then became very shallow and lined on both shores with residential buildings. Large oyster beds contained beautiful succulent appearing and tempting oysters but it is “Closed Waters”. Some large live oaks became a photo shot. See picture.

We soon came to 20th Street bridge. It was noon and we pulled out for lunch stepping in thick sticky mud to get ashore. We had a pleasant lunch on the bridge and then noticed our boats were stranded on the mud flat by the outgoing tide and a long way from the water.

We found firmer ground close to the bridge and launched there still in muddy conditions.

The low tide prevented us from getting to the shore where high tides deposit the trash. The trash did seem to be light and scattered except for the shore line across from the marina. This is a high steep firm sandy shore line covered with shrub like growth. See picture.

Time restrictions required that we pass up picking up this trash off this spoils island. Perhaps it can be done during upcoming by some group.
Clean Sweep
We all enjoyed the trip very much.Particpants were Dale Weston, Jim Stevens,Bob Welden, Brian Leavy and the writer.

Next week, weather permitting, we will continue to explore this area of the Newport River going upstream to Crab Point or vice versa depending on the tides and the wind.

All pictures courtesy of Bob Welden.

Newport River trip February 2, 2005

The following is from the Carteret County News Times, Sunday, February 6, 2005. Elmer

County cleanup of Newport River a boon to paddlers

By Mark Hibbs

THE CARTERET COUNTY NEWS-TIMES, Sunday, February 6, 2005

NEWPORT – A group of canoe and kayak enthusiasts with a mission to clean up trash along local rivers is ecstatic now that a county project to clear fallen trees has opened miles of new wilderness for paddlers to explore.

County commissioners last July approved a request to apply to the state for funds to snag fallen trees in the Newport River ’s upper reaches. The logs and heavy overgrowth there made the prongs impassable to even the most adventurous explorers.

The Stewards of the White Oak River Basin, a loosely organized volunteer group that picks up litter while paddling local waterways, gathered Wednesday armed with reaching tools and garbage bags at a bridge on Newport ’s Nine Mile Road to launch their maiden voyage on the newly cleared waterway.

Chief steward, Elmer Eddy, also known as “the White Oak River trash man,” said county commissioners deserve “profuse praises” for their decision to clean up one of the county’s most scenic attractions.

“It’s a gem that’s right here in our backyard,” Mr. Eddy said as he dipped his oar and began the more than 6-mile winding journey toward the Wildlife Commission’s boat ramp in town.

“It makes a whole lot of U-turns. The trip is at least seven or eight miles due to the twists and turns in the river,” Mr. Eddy said after the trip.

He said the team of paddlers had just rounded the first bend when they entered a silent and deep wilderness, insulated from the din of civilization.

“This river is unique in that it’s heavily forested,” Mr. Eddy said.

He said the dense curtains of trees and vegetation along the outer river basin filter the noise and protect the trees on the banks from damaging winds.

“Blow downs,” as the paddlers call the fallen trees that blocked passage and collected floating debris like the tines of a rake, were cleared in a three-week job completed Tuesday.

A $52,000 grant from the State Division of Water Resources and a $13,000 county appropriation made the project happen.

County Soil and Water Conservation technician Todd Kelly supervised the snag line cleanup, which was performed by an 11-man crew from Blackmon Construction of Smithfield. He said the crew, working on johnboats and canoes with chainsaws and hand tools endured extreme conditions.

“They worked the coldest days we’ve had. A couple of days the temperature was only 16 or 18 degrees ― they were tough,” Mr. Kelly said.

He said the preliminary work of counting fallen trees was also hard work. Fortunately, the cold weather kept mosquitoes, snakes and other pests at a minimum.

“Most of the creepy-crawlies are in hibernation this time of year,” Mr. Kelly said.

The stewards enjoyed much warmer weather Wednesday as they embarked on their journey. The group, which in addition to Mr. Eddy included Bill Murray, Robert Wendel, Brian Leavy, Joanne Somerday and Dale Weston, buzzed with excitement as they paddled away under the sunny midday sky.

Mr. Eddy’s excitement was still evident two days later.

“They did a beautiful job of cleaning up the river,” Mr. Eddy said Friday.

The group is dedicated to bringing the White Oak River Basin to a trash-free condition and keeping it that way.  

The basin includes the New River , White Oak River , creeks along Bogue Sound, Bogue Sound, Newport River , creeks along Core Sound, and Core Sound.  

The area covers from the Jones-Duplin county line to North Topsail Island , northeast to Cape Lookout and Atlantic , and back toward Maysville.

The Newport River project is just the latest cleanup effort for the stewards. Their previous endeavors have included work on the White Oak River, Shark’s Tooth, Sugarloaf and Brandt islands, Shackleford Banks, and other areas.

The volunteers also campaign to stop littering. Large white letters affixed upside-down to Mr. Eddy’s red canoe (so that they may be easily read while strapped bottom-up to the vehicle rooftop) say, “Y’all pledge…I will not litter!”

Roadside and neighborhood litter finds its way to the rivers. A July 2004 canoe trip on the middle reaches of the river with steward Gary Scruggs revealed an endless dotted line of bottles, cans, old dog toys, basketballs, tires, paper, plastic and other debris blown or washed in by heavy rains.

But the fallen and partially submerged trees that before had snagged much of the litter are now gone, Mr. Eddy said. The volunteers said they were there Wednesday to enjoy a pleasant paddle on a sunny day, and to pick up any remaining trash along their journey.

The stewards said the cleared river is an untapped tourist attraction that will surely draw visitors to the county. Eco-tourism is one of the fastest growing segments in the vacation business.

The paddlers, who traveled the river’s southwest prong between Roberts Road and Nine Mile Road , said they had no trouble with obstacles. They easily crossed two newly built beaver dams, each nearly two feet high, thanks to Wednesday’s high water level.

“They rebuild those dams overnight,” Mr. Eddy said.

But their canoes bumped a few unknown objects beneath the water’s surface that Mr. Eddy said could possibly present problems to inexperienced paddlers when the level drops.

“But it’s a nice canoeable river right now,” he said.

The river’s northwest prong, which extends toward Lake Road , was also cleared in the project.

 

Paddling Tuesday, February 8, 2005, Calico River, Calico Bay and Crab Point Bay

( Rain predicted for Wednesday). These are all on the north side of Morehead City.

We will meet at 10:00 at the Public Access on the north side of Route 70 being the west bound lane at the High Rise Bridge (east end of the bridge), turn off north into Bay Blvd into the park). This will be our take-out too.

If the North wind is bad off of the Newport River we will move to 11th Street access as our put-in and take-out and do the north shore of Bogue Sound including Peletier Creek and Spooners Creek.

Should be off the water by 3:00. Elmer

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Paddling The New Port River, February 2, 2005

Paddling Feb 2, 2005, Newport River

For the first time we were able to paddle this river with out getting out of our boats to climb over, or portage around, or squeeze under blown down trees blocking the river.

This is due to the foresight of Carteret County Commissioners who obtained a Grant as I understand it to open the river to paddling. It is now open and should attract paddlers in this fast growing sport from all over.

Good for Tourism and good for us to enjoy as a new paddle trail .

They stopped at Nine Mile Road. The river is still blocked upstream and could be made into an extended paddle trail up into Croatan Forest and perhaps even the lakes. A real wilderness paddle!

Perhaps another access point to get our boats into the rive r could be found up there too.

At current water level it is now canoeable from Nine Mile Road to the Wildlife Ramp on Old 70 in Newport. We estimate the distance to be about 7 miles as there are a great many twists and turns. At one time we saw those ahead of us going in the exact opposite direction through the trees.

We left Nine Mile Bridge around 12:00 and arrived at The Wildlife Ramp around 3:30. Or course, we picked up three bags of trash as we paddled. A straight through paddle would take less time.

It is a beautiful river with forested banks most all the way. There were large high dirt mounds along the north bank especially. These were covered with full grown trees. We suspect that these are man made mounds made of soil dredged out of the river by mule scoops. We think this was done at shallow areas to allow cypress logs to be floated down the river.

One large cypress right in the middle of the river in the picture is probably one of the smaller ones that existed here. Sure would have loved to see the river then. We need to do more planting of cypress trees along our rivers. Croatan Forest lands border a good portion of this section of the river.

Thanks Carteret County for opening this wonderful new Paddle Trail. We appreciate it very much and will do our best to keep it clean.

Gary Scruggs, The Newport River Trashman, points out that the trash getting in this river comes from The Nine Mile Road Bridge and two or three bridges on the Nine Foot Road including the bridge over The North Prong of the Newport River and again where it goes under Lake Road.

This is typical of the trashing of all our rivers. People are discarding their trash off bridges! Please stop it!

Large cypress in middle of river.

Paddling down the river.

Lunch stop, left to right: Bill Murray, Joanne Somerday, Brian Leavy, Dale Weston, Bob Wendel