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DRBA’s Oct. 6 outing in Eden part of river cleanup effort

The Oct. 6 First Saturday Outing of the Dan River Basin Association will complete the cleanup of the Smith River begun in August. Meeting at 10 a.m. at Island Ford Landing, West Meadow Road, Eden, N.C. (GPS 36.502168, -79.756086), participants will float just over two miles to the confluence of the Smith with the Dan River. The take-out will be at the Eden Wildlife Access, locally known as “the Boat Landing,” a popular Dan River access point beside Bethlehem Church Road.

Three Rivers Outfitters, 336-627-6215 or www.3-R-O.com, will offer boat rentals and shuttle for the float. 

Coordinated by T. Butler, the cleanup is part of the North Carolina Big Sweep watershed cleanup held each fall. As former Rockingham County coordinator for Big Sweep, Butler has organized retrieval of several tons of debris from the county’s waterways and roadsides over many years of service.

“Dan River Basin Association has participated in river cleanups for over a decade,” she notes, “and we have a great record of volunteer service in keeping our rivers clean and healthy. In addition to the satisfaction of doing the cleanup, we always have fun on the river with each other as we do it.” 

Dan River Basin Association joined other nonprofits in Henry County, in retrieving over eight tons of trash from 30 miles of the Smith River in August, in addition to pulling out a record-breaking 690 tires. “Because of the terrific job the volunteers did upstream,” Butler said, “we should have a much easier task in the river’s last two miles.”

Although the river flows through the City of Eden, high-forested banks hide many of the homes and businesses and provide a pleasant getaway. Gravel bars may generate riffles, but the river tends to be shallow and easy to navigate.

The entire trip is rated Class 1 in difficulty.

Island Ford Landing is located at the Meadow Road trailhead of the Eden Smith River Greenway. The public access point was officially opened in August, 2009, at the site where colonial travelers on the road from Salem, North Carolina to Petersburg, crossed the Smith River. 

More information about the two rivers can be found in “An Insider’s Guide to the Dan River” and “An Insider’s Guide to the Smith River,” available at www.danriver.org.

Cornerstones of DRBA’s mission are education, recreation, and stewardship of our resources. At Island Ford Access, MillerCoors Brewery partnered with DRBA on a reforestation project to protect the river by capturing runoff from the picnic shelter and parking lot.

Participants are asked to meet at 10 a. m. at Island Ford Landing, West Meadow Road, Eden, N.C. Bring boat, life jacket, plenty of fluids, and lunch. Dress in layers of synthetic fabric or wool; wear work gloves and close-toed shoes. 

North Carolina Big Sweep will provide trash bags for the cleanup. Although the trip is not technically demanding or hazardous, boaters will be asked to sign a waiver.

To reach the put-in, take N.C. 14 to Eden, North Carolina. Turn west on Meadow Road (N.C. 770/N.C. 700). Go through one traffic light at Stadium Drive. Following the sign to Island Ford Landing, turn left just before crossing the bridge over the Smith River. The small parking lot is beside the picnic shelter. 

All First Saturday Outings of the Dan River Basin Association are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact T. Butler, 336-613-6723, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Information about the Dan River Basin Association is available at www.danriver.org.