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Logo courtesy of Western North Carolina Alliance.

The Western North Carolina Alliance is taking a group of more than 140 people on a nine-day tour of the future French Broad River Paddle Trail. From June 11-19, French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson will lead a paddle trip down 117 miles of the French Broad River, from the headwaters into Tennessee.

Carson explains “the trip will monitor the threats to the river, but also highlight the river as one of the country’s most scenic and inviting paddling destinations.” The trip will camp at many of the future Paddle Trail campsites as a way to highlight the potential of this recreation amenity. Carson further explains the benefits by adding that “paddle trails in eastern North Carolina bring in over $1 million a year. This trail presents a great economic opportunity as well as a way to further the cleanup of the river.”

Paddle trip participants will get a firsthand look at the future French Broad River Paddle Trail and camp at many of the future campsites along the river. The first new campsite as part of the paddle trail was recently constructed in Etowah, N.C.. Six additional campsites will be constructed in order to link over 120 miles of the river, from the headwaters in Rosman, N.C. into Tennessee. The campsites are all paddle-in only, reservation campsites, that are spaced every 12-15 miles along the banks of the river.

The float trip also will monitor the water quality of the river by taking water samples. This includes sediment samples to determine the impact of the local coal burning power plant on the water quality and fish in the river.

This trip is part of the larger Save the French Broad Campaign brought to you by the Western North Carolina Alliance, Sweetwater Brewery and Clear Channel Asheville and its family of stations. The campaign includes selling paper fish that encourage the public to “give of your liver to save the river,” at more than 20 bars, restaurants and businesses around town. Many paddling participants are also helping raise funds through a Paddle-a-thon. All the proceeds of this trip will benefit the French Broad Riverkeeper program and its work to protect and defend the river. See you on the river!

Learn more and stay up to date with all the exciting events of this trip by visiting www.savethefrenchbroad.com.

IN BRIEF
Where: French Broad River
When: June 11-19
Why: To give paddling participants an overview of the French Broad River Paddle Trail, monitor water quality, and raise money to build future Paddle Trail campsites.
What: Nine-day paddle trip for 117 miles from Rosman, N.C. to Paint Rock, Tenn.

Kathleen O'Nan

Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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