Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanks for Your Help!

Boaters using the un-official Mitchell Road Bridge
as a river access in Summer 2008.
Check back in 2009 for more parking, easy access,
picnic facilities, and a scenic walking path!

In October, over the course of a three-week period you were all invited to participate in a survey about paddling the Smith River in Henry County, Virginia. Over 80 participants took the survey and the results have now been calculated! The findings of this survey will assist DRBA in the planning of future projects, such as the access at Mitchell Road Bridge that is coming in 2009. The survey results will also aid us in acquiring funding and support for other future river access areas and improvements to existing access points. Thank you for taking the time to participate!

Of the 83 survey participants, 98.8% have paddled the Smith River in Henry County, VA.

Of those that have paddled the Smith River:

73.5% paddle kayaks; while 33.7% paddle canoes

The most commonly used river access point is at Philpott Dam on the Henry County side of the river, 67.9% of paddlers prefer that location.

Out of a total of 10 public, unofficial, and outfitter access sites, Mitchell Road Bridge (unofficial access) ranks as the 4th most commonly used access point with 43.2% of paddlers preferring it. [Note: This access is the next to become an official access point on the Smith River.]

The “favorite” stretch of river to paddle was voted as Philpott to North Bassett with 60.5% of paddlers preferring this segment. Marrowbone Creek to Mitchell Road Bridge was voted as the 2nd most “favorite” segment of the river with 26.3% of paddlers voting for it.

Paddlers were asked how many times in the past year they had used the Mitchell Road Bridge to access the Smith River:
37.2% used the access 1-5 times
10.3% used the access 6-10 times
7.7% used the access 11-15 times
1.3% used the access 16-20 times
2 other paddlers indicated that they used this location to access the river in excess of 20 times per year.

Paddlers were asked to choose river access amenities that are of most importance to them. (Participants were allowed to choose more than one selection.) Ample parking was the most popular answer with 87% choosing it. Restroom/Changing Facilities came in second with 42.9%

Paddlers were asked how many miles they travel to visit the Smith River:
Average Miles Traveled= 40
Maximum Miles Traveled= 180
Paddlers traveling more than 30 miles= 22%
Paddlers traveling more than 50 miles= 31%

Paddlers who visited the Smith River in the past year supported the local economy by:
Purchasing gas- 89.5%
Visiting fast food restaurants- 69.7%
Visiting sit-down restaurants- 55.3%
Making purchases at local grocery stores- 31.6%
Visiting hiking & biking trails- 25%
Visiting area parks- 23.7%
Staying in local campgrounds- 7.9%
Enjoying river outfitter services- 7.9%
Visiting our local Visitor’s Center- 6.6%
Making purchases at area department stores- 5.3%
Staying in hotels or motels- 2.6%
Visiting area libraries and museums- 2.6%

85.4% of the survey participants are members of paddling clubs. The most popular club is the Creak Freaks of Franklin County (28%), followed by the Smith River Valley Canoe Club (20%). Other clubs included:
Float Fishermen of VA (Roanoke Chapter)= 12%
Coastal Canoeists= 10%
Carolina Canoe Club= 8%
Dan River Basin Association= 6%
Tarheel Paddlers= 6%
Triad River Runners= 6%
Paddlers of Virginia= 3%
Friends of the Staunton River= 1%

Of the paddlers surveyed, 71% are Virginia residents and 28% are North Carolina Residents. Two other paddlers traveled from Franklin, Tennessee and Monroe, West Virginia. Thanks for visiting folks!

Survey Organized By: Dan River Basin Association
Survey Administered By:
Photos by: Martha Smith & Darrin Doss

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