The Haw River Paddler


“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”  Henry David Thoreau

10 Ways Dams Damage Rivers *

 1.  Dams disrupt normal water levels

2.  Dams obstruct the natural flow of rivers for fish, wildlife and people

3.  Dams disorient fish swimming upstream to spawn

4.  Dams change water temperature, destroying native fish

5.  Dams alter natural life cycles, harming plants and animals

6.  Dams drown rapids and riverside habitat

7.  Dams suffocate fish by lowering oxygen levels

8.  Dams build up silt that buries fish spawning habitat

9.  Dam turbines injure and kill fish

10. Dams make native species vulnerable to predators

* Taken from American Rivers’ “Rivers Connect Us”.

 Paddling Swamps in Winter

For those of us who love paddling in swamps during cold months, very low temperatures for extended periods of time creates a particular problem.  The nature of swamps is slow moving water flowing through sheltered wetland forests, a formula for thick ice.  Just like black ice on highways creates a problem for drivers, thick ice on the top of water creates a problem for paddlers.  It is just impossible to punch a paddle through it.

Cold weather for extended periods of time is also pretty tuff on fish and wildlife.  Fish have to deal with low oxygen levels while birds and mammals don’t have access to drinkable water.  Whenever we are disappointed that we can’t paddle because of surface ice conditions like this past weekend, it is very easy to switch that disappointment to concern for our fellow creatures.

A Reminder:  River Clean-up in March – Volunteers Needed

For the past eight years, we have participated in the Haw River Assembly’s annual Clean-Up-A-Thon.  Like in past years, we will make canoes available for free to anyone wanting to volunteer their time with us to clean up the Haw River either near Saxapahaw or Spirit Island.  This 3-hour effort will take place on March 15th.  To help, either gives us a call at 336/260-6465 or register online at our website.  Just go to and put your cursor over the word Reservations on the home page.  A drop down menu will appear.  Click on Registration Form, fill out the required fields and hit send.  We will follow up with an acknowledgement that we have received your reservation.  Thanks for volunteering.  It does make a difference and you will feel better for it.