New River State Park | NC Weekend | UNC-TV


>>>NORTH CAROLINA HAS NEARLY 38,000 MILES OF RIVERS BUT ONLY
ABOUT 145 MILES OF RIVERS IN OUR STATE ARE DESIGNATED AS
WILD AND SCENIC. 27 OF THOSE MILES ARE IN NEW
RIVER STATE PARK IN THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF THE STATE. PRODUCER RICK SULLIVAN SAYS IF
YOU’RE A CAMPER, A PADDLER OR A HIKER, THIS PARK AND THIS
STORY ARE FOR YOU.>>NEARLY A HALF CENTURY AGO,
PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON SIGNED THE WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS ACT. SOON AFTER, THIS INCREDIBLE
SECTION OF THE NEW RIVER IN NORTH CAROLINA WAS CLASSIFIED AS
SUCH, A WILD AND SCENIC RIVER THAT HAS BECOME PROTECTED SOME
ALTERATIONS SUCH AS DAMMING, DEVELOPMENT, AND DIVERSION. INSTEAD, NEW RIVER STATE PARK IS
THE PLACE TO GO FOR CAMPING, CANOEING, AND A CAREFREE GETAWAY
ON THE NEW RIVER.>>WELL, NEW RIVER STATE PARK IS
A GREAT RIVER FOR FAMILIES THAT WANT TO COME OUT AND
ENJOY THE WATER. IT IS GENTLE ENOUGH FLOW FOR
FOLKS TO GET IN AND SWIM FOR CANOEING. BEGINNING CANOEING IS THE
BIGGEST RECREATION THAT WE HAVE.>>EXPERIENCE IS NOT NECESSARY. THE RIVER IS SHALLOW, AND THE
CURRENT IS LIGHT.>>FOLKS DON’T HAVE TO WORRY. IF THEY FALL OUT, ALL THEY
REALLY HAVE TO DO IS STAND UP. IF YOU’RE NOT FALLING IN,
YOU’RE NOT CANOEING. THAT’S JUST THE BASIC THING.>>BUT DON’T CONFUSE THE LACK OF
DANGER FOR LACK OF ADVENTURE OR THE QUALITY OF TIME SPENT HERE
ON THE RIVER AND IN THE PARK. NEW RIVER STATE PARK IS IN THE
NORTHWESTERN CORNER OF THE STATE, JUST CLOSE ENOUGH TO
CIVILIZATION THAT AN OCCASIONAL CAR CAN BE HEARD FROM HIGHWAY
221 NEARBY, BUT MORE OFTEN YOU’LL HEAR THE BIRDS, WIND, OR
SLOW-MOVING WATER FROM ONE OF THE OLDEST AND MOST
UNIQUE RIVERS AROUND.>>THE NEW RIVER IS — IT, UM,
TELLS THE STORY OF BEING THE OLD — AN OLD RIVER. IF WE TALK ABOUT IT BEING A
BACKWARDS RIVER OR HEADING NORTH, BECAUSE IT FLOWS FROM
BLOWING ROCK AND BOONE AREAS THROUGH NORTHWEST NORTH CAROLINA
AND INTO VIRGINIA AND INTO THE KANAWHA RIVER AND THEN THE OHIO
RIVER AND THEN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.>>AND THEN IT DOES IT
A HOOK SHOT.>>AND THEN IT DOES A HOOK ALL
THE WAY BACK DOWN TO THE GULF.>>THIS TRIO OF CANOER/KAYAKERS
IS FROM THE CHARLOTTE AREA SAMPLING A SHORT PADDLE THROUGH
A SECTION OF THE PARK. WITH WATER FLOWING AT JUST ABOUT
2 MILES PER HOUR, IT’S PRETTY EASY TO DO SHORT TRIPS.>>THE THING WE’VE ALL GONE
KAYAKING BEFORE AND CANOEING A FEW TIMES, BUT NEVER IN THE NEW
RIVER, ON THIS SIDE OF IT. SO THIS WAS OUR FIRST TIME,
AND WE REALLY LIKED IT. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.>>AND WE — WE CAME OUT HERE
YESTERDAY TO TENT CAMP, AND WE LOVE TO COME UP HERE, ESPECIALLY
THIS TIME OF YEAR, BECAUSE YOU CAN SEE ALL OF THE LEAVES
TURNING AND THE STARS.>>NEW RIVER STATE PARK IS AN
IMPORTANT ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT. IT NOT ONLY PROTECTS THE BEAUTY
AND FUNCTIONALITY OF THE NEW RIVER. IT EDUCATES VISITORS SO THEY CAN
LEARN AND SPREAD THAT INFORMATION TO OTHERS.>>YOU NEED TO VISIT THE CENTER,
THE WELCOME CENTER THEY HAVE IN THE PARK, AND THERE’S ALL
KINDS OF EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS IN THERE. AND THEY MAKE SURE THAT YOU
UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHY THE VEGETATION IS ON THE EDGE AND
WHY EVERYTHING IS LAID OUT THE WAY IT IS AND NOT TO GO
STOMPING THROUGH IT.>>THE VISITORS CENTER ALWAYS
ALLOWS FOLKS TO GET ACQUAINTED WITH A SLIMY LITTLE CRITTER
CALLED A HELLBENDER, WHICH HAS THE FULL SUPPORT AND PROTECTION
OF RANGER DOUG AND HIS ASSOCIATES.>>THEY LIVE UNDER LARGE ROCKS
IN THE RIVER, AND MOST OF THE TIME DURING THE DAY, THEY’LL
STAY UNDER THOSE ROCKS. THAT’S THEIR HOME. THEY COULD LIVE THERE FOR 30
YEARS AND NOBODY EVER SEE THEM. BUT IF YOU’RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO
SEE ONE, IT REALLY IS AN EXCITING EXPERIENCE.>>DID YOU SEE ANY HELLBENDERS?>>NO.>>NO.>>NOT YET.>>HAD YOU EVER HEARD OF A
HELLBENDER BEFORE YOU CAME HERE?>>NO. I SAW A SIGN. THAT’S THE FIRST TIME
I’VE HEARD OF ONE.>>HOW DID YOU FIND OUT
ABOUT THE PARK?>>I JUST DID A SEARCH ON NORTH
CAROLINA
STATE PARKS, WHICH ONE HAS, LIKE, TENT CAMPGROUNDS.>>A LOT OF THEM DO. HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THIS ONE?>>I GUESS I SAW THE PICTURES
AND IT LOOKED THE PRETTIEST.>>AT NEW RIVER STATE PARK, I’M
RICK SULLIVAN FOR “NORTH CAROLINA WEEKEND.”

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