Participants were Julia Miner from Arapahoe, Dale Weston from Jacksonville and Elmer Eddy from Swansboro.
#1 is Julia navigating the sluice we made in the beaver dam by removing the sticks one a time like the beavers built it.
#2 is the jug for others who may need to get out of the river here.
#3 is Dale towing Julia’s Loon back upstream to the closest take out to my truck.
#4 is the newest of the two very large beaver lodges just downstream from the jug below another dam.
Now back to the morning of the last day in January and the purpose of this trip. It was to scout and explore
Starkys Creek to determine if a paddle trail is possible from our new Deppe Onslow County Park of 886.7 acres to The White Oak River. Estimated distance is about 6 and 1/2 miles.
It was misty and light rain alternating. I arrived at the Deppe Loop Road bridge early to go upstream and open up the large beaver dam to give us more water flow as we paddled downstream. About twenty pieces of rip-rap have been placed in the bottom of the creek just below the bridge in the very narrowest place in the entire creek between two small trees that our canoe just fit through.
We knew from our earlier upstream paddle that our boats would scrape on these basketball size rocks. The overnight rain had raised the New River from 3.70 feet to 4.80 feet. It also raised Starkys Creek so there was no need to open the dam. But, those rocks should be removed. We see no reason for them to be there.
The water was swift flowing and we made good progress down stream encountering several obstructing trees which we cut through or maneuvered under or around. This continued well past the Route 17 bridge. The fast flow abated and we knew we were approaching our first beaver dam.
The sun came out and we marvelled at how the beavers had completly taken over this creek and adapted it to fit their needs. In all we must have humped over or torn apart the tops of 25 dams.
The question now arises: What do we do about the beavers? Some say kill them all. Others are dead against this.
We say let’s leave them alone on this creek as we have all these many years. They have already done all the damage they can do. We probably can’t ever kill them all anyway.
So let’s share the river with them. They add a lot of interesting aspects to the scenic beauty of this creek. A leisurely paddle from the new park to the White Oak River or Belgrade-Swansboro Road will provide access to view their dams and lodges and lovely lakes they created. .
The two lodges close together are the biggest we have ever seen. The series of dams go on for miles twisting and turning and are absolutely amazing. The lakes they create are lovely. The Google Image shows the one very, very large lake.
These lakes not only support the beavers, they provide a home for lovely wood ducks and other ducks and we also saw a gaggle of Canada geese, huge deer, a wild turkey and a rabbit and squirrels and many more kinds of birds.
All this will provide a wonderful adjunct to our new park for our visitors to enjoy.
All JR Batchelor and his crew have to do is to the clear all obstructions from the main river bed channel and leave the beaver dams alone.
Paddlers can remove a few sticks from the top of the larger dams and do what Julia did in her very light Loon kayak.
It is very important to be sure to clear the main channel only. The next day, 2006-02-01, Dale and I found ourselves in the middle of a swamp off the main channel. We had to go back up over a dam to get into that very large lake and then we found the main channel again.
We arrived at our take out point, the bridge on Belgrade-Swanboro Road, at 3:00 PM as originally planned but 24 hours later!
We previously have paddled from here to The White Oak River. Yes, there is more of the same to enjoy. You can do this right away if you want to and take out at Haywood Landing with a minimum of obstructions to over come.
Paul Ferguson estimates the total trip to the White Oak River at 6.4 miles. Add another 3 & 1/2 miles to get to Haywood Landing. He reports the total drop in gradient is 36 feet. This accounts for the more rapid flow than most of our coastal rivers.
Conclusion: Yes, by all means open the entire lenght of Starkys Creek to paddling from our new Deppe County Park to The White Oak River and let us all enjoy and share the wonders of nature together with our industrious beaver friends. Elmer
The White Oak River Trashman, Stewards of The White Oak River Basin, http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/
The sun came out and we marveled at how the beavers had completely taken over this creek and adapted it to fit their needs. Wecould paddle along up on top next to the beaver and look down into the swamp below. It was fantastic.