2007-04-23 New River south of Jacksonville, MCAS Marina to Olde Towne Point

This trip provided us with a visit to the County Seat of Onslow County in 1741!

Our take out. The monument says the town here, Johnston, was settled in 1705 and

destroyed in 1752 by a hurricane and not rebuilt.

Historical marker at the take out.

The following sign is at the Marine Air Base ramp, our put-in, access, (launching site).

Marina on New River. You need to drive around the airfield to get here.

High banks at Ragged Point on the New River.

We had to paddle against this wind for the first mile to get around Ragged Point.

Inviting sandy beaches.
The New River here has many dead tree photo ops.

Jim and Elmer towing Bill’s kayak. He wandered off in search of trash along the shore. .

Elmer brought flowers to lunch.

Here comes another one of those 30% chance of thunderstorms. We had a few mild
doses, but it wasn’t cold. It was hot in between brief showers.

In the home stretch. The shuttle took a long time. We were running late. We cut straight across
from Little Ragged ( Holmes Point) to Olde Towne Point. A little rough as you can see.
We had white caps most of the way but the wind was at our backs but on the east a little.

A memorial to “Mom and Dad” at the take out.

A sandy delta at the end of Town Point Road.

L/R: Ed Gruca of Emerald Isle, Jim Morris of Morehead City, Bill Murray of Pine Knoll Shores,
Jim Niedermeyer of Hubert, and Elmer Eddy of Swansboro.

Eight bags of trash plus a gas can, a ghost crab pot and a sign. Camp Lejeune picked this up for us.
One of the dirt roads thru Camp Lejeune.

One more shot at the marina. This is the bench where Bill and Jim waited over an hour
for Elmer, Ed and Jim to return from wherever they went in search of the takeout. The
noxious Alligator Weed is up Southwest Creek. We saw none of it on this trip on the New
River. The salt water kills it.

Another one of the storms. We missed this one.

Here is Dale Weston. He should have been paddling with us but he was manning one
of the two early, curb side voting stations in Onslow County. His station was in Verona
which by coincidence is where we were on our way to set up our shuttle.

Another great day on the water! Thanks to Ed Gruca for the pictures and thanks
to Doug Toltzman for getting my picture of Dale in here doing another kind of
public service.

Elmer Eddy
Elmer, The White Oak River Trashman
Stewards of The White Oak River Basin
101 River Reach Drive West,
Swansboro, NC. 28584
910-389-4588 e-mail:
Please visit our website: http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/
“If no one litters, there will be no litter!”


2008-04-17 Scotts Creek New Bern, NC

This creek was reported to us by members of The Twin Rivers Paddle Club in New Bern. The report was bad!

Trash, trash trash everywhere. Filthy! An open sewer! We could not stand this. We are members of the Stewards

of the White Oak River Basin. This creek is in the Neuse River Basin.

For years members of the Twin River Paddle club have been helping us clean our rivers. So, we decided to help

them clean Scotts Creek and return the favor. They responded beautifully. We had about twenty in all. We split
into two groups. We could not locate any access to get on the creek. We called Charlie Hall of the New Bern Sun
Journal and we told him of our plans and problem. He graciously put an article in the paper and we had two responses.

That is Charlie to the right with his back to the camera in the group picture.

Hilda Pope of 502 Howell Road was the first. She has been cleaning the creek for years. She was delighted to get our

help and offered her back yard as an access to get on the water. She paddled with us and picked up trash. Pallets

were part of the trash that washed up on her land. She used them as a walk way over the silted in shoreline to get to

the water.

Ron Phillips was the second one to call. He lives at 316 Johns St. He also offered his premises as access to the river.

He met us at Lawson Creek Park.

We split into two groups Ron lead one group to his house and the rest of us went to Hilda’s.

The group: Dale Weston from Jacksonville was late and is not in the picture. They came from Jacksonville,

Hubert, Swansboro, Emerald Isle, Pine Knoll Shores, Arapahoe, New Bern, River Bend and Pollocksville.

They are all now automatically members of Stewards of the White Oak River Basin. Guess we have to

change our name to Stewards of Our Waterways.

They are Mike Markham, Jim Stevens, Ed Mazzilli, Shep Harvey, Ron Phillips, Bob Bordeaux, Julia Miner,

Ed Gruca, Edie Romaine, Dale Weston, Dave McCracken, Bill Murray, Frank Bruno, Joanne Somerday,

Dean Carzoo, Elmer Eddy. Hilda Pope, and Dale Weston, not shown. For all his help in making this trip a real

success story we are making Charlie Hall an honorary member.

Mustang kayak carrier

Charlie Hall, New Bern Sun Journal photographer and Ed Gruca duel with cameras at 50 paces.
That is alligator weed in fore ground. This is a very noxious weed from South America which has taken
over this creek. We had to dig our way through it to get to the water. Hilda Pope tells us it completely
closes the creek in the summer. This should not be! We are contacting North Carolina Department of
Environmental and Natural Resources about this.

Joanne decided to launch this chair in lieu of paddling thru the alligator weed. Hilda Pope is reaching for it.

One way to get through is to follow a trail left by the previous paddlers but it closes up quickly. It grows
a foot in a day!
Joanne is going backwards in this shot. It is so thick we used our paddles as poles. By summer time
it will be impossible to get through it at all!

Elmer pushes with his paddle and Jim pulls with the hoe. They made a nice trail through the alligator weed.
They actually dug it out and pushed it back into open water. It was a foot to two feet thick!
Litter photos taken by Elmer in a low vacant lot next door to Hilda’s on Howell Road.
It has washed up here on high north east wind tides and deposited here behind the
marsh grass and alligator weed. It is still there and can be picked up by land.
This would be a nice project for some group to do for our Governor’s Clean Sweep
which commences April 19th. Someone has picked a little of it.

There is lot’s more of it. This is only a sample.

Bill Murray with another find.

Ron thought we could take this back in the little canoe. Sorry Ron, it will have to stay in your back yard
which we are facing! Actually, if it had not been so full of silt, it would have been possible to tow it.
This pipe has got to be removed. Maybe it should be hauled ashore. Get a line on it and drag it out!

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One of the three parallel tunnels under Rt 70, a six lane highway above. These are long!
Would make a nice three kayak race! (Gentlemen(Ladies) start your kayaks!
The “light” at the end of the tunnel. They are about 8 feet wide and fun to paddle.
You can sing or make wild animal noises and other interesting sounds on your way thru!
Elmer took this photo of Jim Niedermeyer exiting the tunnel heading back from the Neuse.

Ed follows Ron en-route to one of three canoe loads they picked up on the way to the Neuse River.
Highway 70 and interchanges in the background.
This was one of the canoe loads

That is Ed Gruca with the other one. Ed is also our camera man. Thanks for the fine pictures Ed. Most of
the comments on them are Ed’s.

This active railroad bridge has some problems! This is the New Bern to Morehead Railroad owned by
the State of North Carolina.

Another canoe load of trash.

Ed Gruca with his canoe loaded. The kayakers have to unload on the canoes.
Another load coming thru the tunnels. Kind of like mining!
The tunnel framed this photo.
Loading the NCDOT marker barrel and the large truck tire in next photo
We had to tow the large truck tire back. It had just enough buoyancy and was real drag! It just made
the canoe too unstable on top of the boat. Ed had visions of sinking in the tunnel.

Ed’s camera developed a large scratch in the center of the lens on the last trip and he is learning how
to compensate. That is why you may see some defects in the center of some photos. And a few other
nuances as well. We apologize to those who are the victims of this technical problem! Some corrections
were necessary and some “body parts” were harvested from other photos.

This is the trash unloaded at Ron’s house that came from the Neuse side of the tunnels.They loaded it in a
pick up truck of Mike’s? He took it to Hilda’s and put it with the others. NCDOT very kindly picked it up for us.
We are reporting this to Niki Bell to be included in the Governor’s Clean Sweep efforts now in progress.
This will look nice over the mantle

Who was Ensign Parker????
Joanne and Jim Stevens coming back from the Neuse.
OK! So where is the Tom Sawyer?

Joanne Somerday and Jim Stevens waiting for Elmer to come through the tunnels.

These birds are walking on the alligator weed and feasting on insects. We hope those sinsects are not
the flea beetles that eat these noxious weeds.
Rt 17 bridge over the Neuse River……..looking North

Looks like a UFO! That is the active railroad bridge at the far right. That is alligator weed lining booth shorelines.

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Our combined collection for the day!
Waiting for Elmer to come home.

We had a excellent, enjoyable and very productive day. We hope our Noxious Weed folks will spray the alligator weed and get rid of it.
We are sending this report to them in Raleigh.This creek seems to be overlooked and neglected and trashed. It is also severely silted in.
The locals blame this on the construction of the airport.

This small creek is a lovely as they come. It should be open and clean and navigable. It definitely should not be an open, clogged sewer!
Especially so right here in the historic cradle of North Carolina.

Elmer Eddy
Elmer, The White Oak River Trashman

Stewards of The White Oak River Basin
101 River Reach Drive West,
Swansboro, NC. 28584
910-389-4588 e-mail:
Please visit our website: http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/
“If no one litters, there will be no litter!”


2008-04-11 Cowhorn Creek/New River Leg 2

Continuation of our paddle on Onslow County’s only designated Canoe Trail.

We should have a hundred more like it for our visiting tourists to enjoy.

Julia at the confluence with the New River. Notice the New River water is turbid due to channelization and storm

water run off. Cowhorn Creek water was clear.

Our first blowdown on the New River! We understood it had been cleared of all obstructions.
Ed cut the first cedar log with our battery powered DeWalt. Since we forgot our hoe, Ed had to dig out the muck with his bare hands.
It was two feet thick and trash laden. We do not understand this existence of these obstructing blown down trees on the New River.
We understood this section of the New was cleared by the Grant Onslow County obtained.
One by one we all got through
A view from downstream.
The New River is lined with leaning sycamores and other trees just waiting to fall down. We had some high winds
recently and a nice rain that raised the river level to over 10 feet on the gage. It was at 4.3 feet on this paddle.
Pure spring beauty.
And another blowdown.

Ed got through on the right where Julia followed. He was careful to poke around before he went through and one
of our reptilian friends was resting in there somewhere. Elmer saw him drop into the water ahead of the canoe.
Ed saw nothing. Snakes love to sun themselves on strainers like this.
Doing the limbo.
Another one
And yet another
Must have been those 70 mph+ winds or more
This one was near the end….another limbo
Here we are picking up trash in this beautiful setting.
We saw two very large deer that were crossing the river and we surprised them as we came around a bend.

Here is the crew for the day: L-R Julia Minor of Arapahoe, Hugh Passingham of Mapelhirst, George Speth of
Wilmington, Elmer Eddy of Swansboro, and Ed Gruca of Emerald Isle.

And here is our ever present trash and litter. The 50 gallon drum is a trash can placed here by the County.
The rest is what we picked up today.

We are working with NCDOT to have DO NOT LITTER signs installed at each bridge. We must stop those of us
who are using our bridges as their own personal disposal convenience center for their discards.

As to the presence of the blown down trees blocking the river, they need to be removed! Maybe the Grant money
has not been used here yet. If it has, then this demonstrates that constant maintenance is needed. Our rivers are
like our roads. When a tree falls and blocks the road we immediately remove it. We need to do the same on our
rivers. We can and do do some of it. But what we have here today requires professional help. Elmer.

A great day was had by all. Our photographer, Ed Gruca, ran around and got in this picture. That’s Ed on
the right. Thanks again for all the wonderful pictures, Ed.
Elmer Eddy
Elmer, The White Oak River Trashman
Stewards of The White Oak River Basin
101 River Reach Drive West,
Swansboro, NC. 28584
910-389-4588 e-mail:
Please visit our website:
d=”qg5q” href=”http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/”>http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/
“If no one litters, there will be no litter!”


2008-04-11 Cowhorn Creek/New River Leg 1

Come and cruise down Cowhorn Creek with us!

This is the first leg of Onslow County paddle trail from the bridge on Cowhorn Road

over Cowhorn Creek. It was a real pleasure to to paddle this section. The water was

clear thanks to the fact that it had just been cleared by a Grant Onslow County

obtained to clear the creek of all obstructions. Blown down trees and the strainers

they cause catch every thing floating in the river.

We paddled this last year in early March. This time we had the signs of early spring

for added beauty. New River gage was at 4.3 feet. We paddled to the Rhodestown Bridge

take out for a distance of 7.5 miles.

The Cowhorn was clear with only one minor blockage. The three beaver dams were already

breached. All we had to do was paddle over them through the breach and the shouts of the

thrill of riding the rapids resounded as each of us went through. Cowhorn was perfect.

The following photos are from the Cowhorn to the New River. About 2.5 miles.

At the put-in. Beautiful, isn’t it! It was a joy to behold.

The water is backed up here and you can hear the sound of rushing water. Sure sign of a beaver dam.
George and Julia go over the first dam.
Followed by Hugh.
Level water again but still with a good fast flow.
George over the second dam

This river must have been gorgeous before all the 1,000 year old cypress were cut.
We followed Julia down the creek passing many large cypress
Here is the bell bottom of one of these cypress trees.

George and Hugh followed behind. They were picking up trash which required getting out of their boats.

Almost like a rain forest!
The flow of the river has caused the face of this very high steep bank to cave in.
The last dam. The end of our white water. We call it “shooting the rapids”.

Julia loved it. Sorry, Julia’s picture got away from me. Here is George enjoying the drop.
There is Julia below the dam.
On to the New River! Before we got there we past limestone outcroppings that look like Swiss Cheese.
Due to the higher water level they were mostly covered and not as spectacular as when the are exposed.
Thanks Onslow County for making this most enjoyable paddle trip possible. We will do our best to keep it
open and clean. And thanks to Ed Gruca of Eme
rald Isle for these lovely pictures.
Elmer Eddy

Elmer, The White Oak River Trashman
Stewards of The White Oak River Basin
101 River Reach Drive West,
Swansboro, NC. 28584
910-389-4588 e-mail:
Please visit our website: http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/
“If no one litters, there will be no litter!”


2008-04-08 Southwest Creek, near Jacksonville, NC

2008-04-08 Southwest Creek, near Jacksonville, NC

Another Canoe Trail for Onslow County!

We put-in, launched, our boats at Haws Run Road bridge. This is an excellent
natural access. We should have an access like this at every bridge. It did not
cost anyone one red cent. Contrast this to Old 30 new bridge over little Northeast
Creek where NCDOT just went to considerable expense installing rip-rap on all four
shoulders. We had asked them to give us a access here but they ignored our requests.
Now we will have to climb over rip rap on the north west shoulder to launched our boats.
We could and should have a hundred more new accesses if the local governing body
would simply ask NCDOT to cover the rip rap so we can get to the water without
breaking a leg climbing over the rip-rap.
New River water level 6 feet down from 10 feet the previous day! Southwest Creek
has not fallen as fast. We had excellent high water and very good flow.
All this has washed the litter and trash which has been thrown into this lovely
creek to was downstream to where it has caught in a strainer or sank to be
forever on the creek bottom.

Here is a map of today’s paddle.

Our put in. Excellent and natural and of no cost to anyone! We need a

hundred more like it at every bridge.

Jim and Elmer at the put in. Elmer is dressed warmly against the cool morning.
(Only because I left my paddling hat in my truck at the take-out.) It was supposed
to be a warm sunny day. It was warm and partly sunny in the afternoon.

Hugh cruising off downstream.

Sure signs of spring…..wild azaleas.

Elmer and Jim trashing.

What is this! A deer stand? A bear trap??

Unknown water craft or just plain LITTER!

No trash along the shore line.

Our first blockage. The high water level disguised the true channel in many places.
We took the left fork and came upon this blockage. We wondered if we were
on the correct course?
This one was easy!

Hugh went around.
Fighting through. Ed’s canoe was full of branches when we took out!
One by one we battled thru this blockage.

At last back into the mainstream which has been cleared of all blockages
by a grant obtained by Onslow County. Thank you Onslow County. Everyone
can now enjoy paddling this beautiful creek right here in our back yards.

We wondered if Elmer would ever stop for lunch. He paddled ahead and we
found him under a blossoming tree, comfortably seated at a picnic table.
We always have lunch with a “water view!” No extra charge! Come and paddle with us!
The paddle down from our lunch goes thru a swamp and the high water made
it difficult to pick the main channel. We paddled through the trees and took
the best guess at the channel.
Ed with a folding metal chair that somehow found its way down the creek.
Rt 17 bridge in sight. The paddle is almost over. We went 6.3 miles. We are
now in the Marine Air Corps base. A most enjoyable trip thanks to the high water
and to Onslow County for making it clear for navigation again! Now let’s
designate it as a Canoe Trail and put signs up so our tourists can find it and use it.
Brown water snake found by Bill Murray.Looks nasty! Harmless! Especially
when found dead.

Brown Water Snake
(Nerodia taxispilota)

It is nearly impossible to convince folks that brown water snakes are harmless. After all, they are so large-bodied, and so intimidating, and (on occasion, as when they drop into your boat from an overhanging limb) so startling that a person’s usual reaction is “Kill, Kill, Kill,” and repairing the bullet holes in the boat is an afterthought. Even trained herpetologists who are catching brown water snakes for research will take a long look before grabbing “just to be sure” [view the Brown Water Snake fact sheet]. Of course, the reason behind bullet-ridden boats and herpetologists actually being safety conscious is this—brown water snakes resemble the venomous cottonmouth, and often share a somewhat similar habitat. Some individuals of both species can appear to be long, fat, dark, non-decrypt snakes. So, although I have no illusion that merely reading this will change many minds, here are some observations on differences between the TOTALLY HARMLESS brown water snake and the venomous cottonmouth.

Brown Water Snake below

Cottonmouth below
The old bridge on MCAS where we took out. We have paddled under this bridge many times.

Elmer Eddy of Swansboro sitting down. L/R Dale Weston of
Jacksonville, Hugh
Passingham of Maplehirst, Bill Murray of Atlantic Beach, Ed Gruca Emerald Isle,
and Jim Niedermeyer of Hubert.

Seven bags of trash, a tire, a chair and a mop handle.

Are we going on forever allowing some few people to use our bridges as their
personal disposal convenience centers? This is what will happen until our
leaders take definite steps to enforce our anti litter laws.

Let’s put $1,000. fine signs up at every bridge both ways facing traffic as a
beginning. Elmer

Elmer Eddy
Elmer, The White Oak River Trashman
Stewards of The White Oak River Basin
101 River Reach Drive West,
Swansboro, NC. 28584
910-389-4588 e-mail:
Please visit our website: http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/
“If no one litters, there will be no litter!”