2008-02-15 Trent River, Chinquapin Chapel Road to Route 58, Jones County, NC

This section of the Trent River is most enjoyable. It twists and turns and doubles back on itself and has one small and two large islands at this water level which was a little over six feet at the USGS gauge which is mounted at the Chinquapin Chapel Bridge called Free Bridge.

This section is described on page 306 being Section #3 of “Paddling Eastern North Carolina, expanded 2nd edition” by Paul; Ferguson. As the crow flies the distance is 2.4 miles. Paul says 5.5 miles paddling. Cal Hansen’s GPS said 6.5 miles. Our extra mile is due to going from bank to bank to retrieve trash along the shore lines and into the strainers.

Recent rains have raised the water level by three feet. Consequently the high banks are reduced this much which changes everything. So much so it seemed like different river today.

The Trent River is now cleared of obstructions to navigation (blown down trees blocking the river) from Chinquapin Chapel Road, SR # 1129, to its confluence with the Neuse River at New Bern. This is the first time in years that this has been possible.

This opening up of this river to paddling again is because The Jones County Commissioners obtained a Grant to have it so cleared. They hope to obtain more funds to continue this operation all the way to the County Line above Pleasant Hill. We sure hope they do.

Also, Jones County owns the land at the N/W shoulder of the bridge here at the junction of SR 1129 and 1131 all the way to Little Chinquapin Branch. This provides us with a excellent access to The Trent River and we used it today for the very first time. It is now closed off with a locked cable. We hope to get them leave it open at all times as it needs to be for a Public Access.

If you use it and you find the cable locked simply park on the shoulders of SR 1131 and carry or drag your boats to the water.

We had a great trip today. The story and some pictures to follow.

This Joanne Somerday in the parking lot of the Jones County Offices getting ready to taking off.

This is the group L/R, Larry Meadows former Jones County Mgr. and now supervising the clearing of the river, Jim Niedermeyer of Hubert, Dale Weston of Jacksonville, Elmer Eddy of Swansboro, Cal Hansen of New Bern, Ronnie, Water Dept. of Jones County, John Clecker of New Bern, next , Brian Leavy of Rochester, NY, Julia Miner of Araphoe, next next, Tom Fineco of River Bend, Ginny Goodrum of New Bern. Larry Jones of Swansboro is missing and Jim Dunn is taking our picture. We had 10 boats and 12 paddlers.

This is new public, natural put-in which is very good just as it is. No money
has to be spent on this except to cut the grass and bushes.

Joanne taking off.

Larry Jones under way. That is the Chinquapin Chapel Road bridge.

Ronnie Dail seeing Joanne off.

Everybody is getting underway. Julia had a little accident got a little wet.
We are off and heading down stream.

Larry made the first trash kill.

This is a strainer which collects trash. Taking three of us to clean it.

Plenty of wood left in the river for the micro and macro invertebrates!

Lunch stop.

Joanne and Elmer. We always check each others lunches. She had a peanut
butter and miniature chocolate kisses sandwich. I had beef stew.

Cal, John and Brian.

Coming up on Route 58 bridge.

Pretty river view. Good water. Somewhat turbid due to storm water run off.

Dale with a boat load of trash.

Jim and Elmer with a boat load of trash. We in canoes become trash barges
for the kayakers.

Debarking and unloading.

Ginnie didn’t have to be towed this trip. We had good flow from one to two
miles per hour.

Dale picked a tough spot to get out!

Jim and Elmer loaded
with trash.

We got it all unloaded and on shore.

The trash filled up Lonnie’s pick up truck. We sure appreciate Lonnie taking
it for us and running our shuttle. That saved us beaucoup time.

It is a shame and a disgrace that people disobey our laws and dump their
trash off bridges into this beautiful river. Our leaders need to enforce our
litter laws and get this evil process stopped.

The river has been cleared of fallen trees to here. We have one more section
to clear it of trash from Wilcox Bridge, Middle Road, SR # 1300 to the Thomas
Waller farm where we put in earlier.

Maybe we can do that next week.

Thanks to Jim Dunn and Joanne for the pictures and thanks to Ed Gruca for
setting them up for me to get on the internet. Elmer