2006-07-11, White Oak River, Swansboro & Cedar Point

We launched our boats at the foot of North Front Street in Swansboro. We paddled directly across the White Oak River next to the bridge. This took us to the causeway between the two bridges. We had not paddled across here before. We had six full trash bags when we reached the far shore of the White Oak River beyond the second bridge. The trash was difficult to get to as it was on and between the large pieces of rip-rap protecting the bridge.

We had to paddle up and around marsh grass trying to stick close to Route 24. Picture #1 is of a grounded boat. We believe this was a victim of Ophelia. #2 pic is a view of Dudley’s Marina as seen from the water on the north side of Rte 24. # 3 is some of our trash collected. We unloaded six bags into the dumpster there. That is Dale Weston of Jacksonville on the left and Jim Morris of Morehead City on the right.

#4 is in the canal across from The Flying Bridge where we stopped for lunch. We beached our boats and walked over to the The Flying Bridge for a beer and some clams on the half shell but it was closed. We walked up to The Bogue Restaurant but they did not sell beer. We crossed over to The Wildbird Store to say hello to our friend John Brink.

John was being interviewed by Martha Ahlquist of The Tideland News for a story about hunting on Sunday. We all got our two cents worth in too. Martha is the young lady who wrote, “Heaven on Earth is in a red canoe” which appeared on the front page of The Tideland News on June 21. Our own Ed Gruca was her guide who took her and her Dad “to heaven” through the Croatan Marshes up the White Oak River above the Tidelands Trail. .

After Martha left John drove up to the BP Station and returned with a six pack for us. Walked back to our boats and sat under in the shade of the beautiful large live oaks and enjoyed a cold beer with our lunch. It was the longest lunch stop we have ever had.

Consequently we had to cut our paddle short and skip Jone Island and head straight for North Front Street. We arrived there at 2:45 and picked up another bag of trash along the shoreline at The Bicentennial Park. Picture #5 is here. That is our Izaak Walton League “Don’t Litter”sign which some kind sole moved for us. Maybe it was the construction folks for the new dock walk. We hope they do not cut-off our accesses to the water at the foot of each street. We need more access points to get on the water, not less. hat wood plan road they made to get the crane down there would make a lovely access for us if they can leave it there. That is Jones Island in the distance.

The picture with the crane is at the site of this new dock walk along the waterfront in Swansboro across from First Citizens at the new red brick parking lot with permeable surface to minimize storm water run off.

The birds nest picture is that of a large black duck who remained on the nest until we almost stepped on her.

Every paddle is different. This one proved that fact. It all added up to a very interesting and enjoyable day. Maybe we will make the trip from Tommy Drive to Bear Island if the weather looks good. on Friday. Elmer

Elmer, The White Oak River Trashman
Stewards of the White Oak River Basin
Please visit:
www.whiteoakstewards.org
Cell Phone 910-389-4588
‘If no one litters, there will be no litter”

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2006-07-07, White Oak River, Haywood Landing to Stella

This trip is paddling down The White Oak River from Haywood Landing in Croatan Forest to Stella. We had a northern wind at our backs which made for fast easy paddling. We hugged the eastern shore line and picked up all trash. We came upon an unknown creek and paddled up it and hit the downed tree in picture #1 blocking further progress. We do not think it can go far as we have walked the Weetock Trail here and did not cross a deep wide creek like this. It was a very picturesque and interesting creek with cypress and red cedar. We would like to have gone further. We had no chain saw on this trip.

We found ourselves at Long Point Camping area at 11:30. Our paddlers, from L/R, are Dale Weston from Jacksonville, Jim Morris from Morehead City, Cal Hansen from New Bern and Al Morris from Smyrna.

We past the confluence of Grant Creek and Caleb Creek on our right. This is where fresh water fishing licenses become necessary. Later on we past the entrance to Freeman Creek which is reported to be deep and interesting. We have never paddled it.

Next we came to Hunters Creek which forms the border line between Jones and Carteret County. We paddled up it to the sawdust pile reported to be between 100 to 200 hundred years old. It is gigantic! This is all we have of the remains of our original forests except for the huge cypress still standing up at the headwaters of The White Oak River. The first picture is from the bank at the sawdust pile.

The other picture is looking down on them from the top of the sawdust pile and the other is Jim Morris on the very top. It is an enormous and awesome looking pile of sawdust. The Weetock Trail goes by it so one can hike to it as will as paddle to it.

We could also paddle Hunters Creek far up into Croatan Forest for miles if it were cleared of fallen trees. It would make an excellent wilderness Canoe Trail. If we could get enough volunteers with chain saws we could make this a reality in no time. If you are interested round up your like minded friends and when we get enough we will schedule a day for it. This will be our contribution to our Croatan National Forest and increase the recreational value of the Forest. A Wilderness Canoe Trail holds great appeal to our Northern big city dwellers on a year round basis.

And now we come to a sad ending of a beautiful paddle down a trash free river. We are paddling along for a very long distance beside the new beautiful Stella Bridge which now cuts off all free access by the public to our lovely White Oak. The public has boated , fished and picnicked here for ever, but no more. We hope NCDOT never does this again in future bridge replacements. We desperately need more places to be able to use our biggest asset; our waters!

Maybe Carteret County could buy or get a 10 year lease here to designate a County Park or an access here. This certainly is worth exploring and would be an excellent way to use part of the $453,000 set aside for new access points for our waters.

This coming Tuesday we will paddle Swansboro Harbor above the Route 24 Bridge. We will meet at Hardees in Swansboro at 9:00. We plan to be off the water at 3:00. We will paddle a circle around the shore lines including Jones Island and will pick up all litter as we go. This is to determine if Big Sweep needs to use their volunteers here in this falls annual clean up. If you know of areas anywhere in Jones , Carteret and Onslow Counties where
litter is heavy and obnoxious please let us know. Elmer

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