Thursday, May 19, 2011

You’re invited!
Draper Landing to Berry Hill Float June 4

Join in DRBA’s seven-mile float on the Dan River from Eden’s Draper Landing Access to Berry Hill Bridge on June 4, coordinated by Will Truslow, DRBA’s past president.
Meet at 10:00 a.m. at the access’s graveled parking lot beside the NC 700 Bridge to set the shuttle (GPS 36.4987, -79.6814). Three Rivers Outfitters of Eden, 336-627-6215 or, will offer boat rentals and shuttle for the float, which will end on private property with the owner’s permission.
In this river trip of Class I water, participants will navigate at least seven ledges and shoals with long-standing historic names found on old maps. Six of these have been made easier to navigate by structures such as sluice walls built in the nineteenth century by the Roanoke Navigation Company (founded 1812), a joint effort of Virginia and North Carolina, and by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The sluice walls concentrate the river’s water at shallow ledges, creating a narrow channel deep enough to float long, narrow batteaux, the commercial “semi-trailers” of early river travel.
Nearly a century before the river was improved for navigation, in 1728 a survey team led by Virginia’s William Byrd determined the “dividing line” between North Carolina and Virginia. Byrd named the Dan River for the river in northern Israel and gave names that still survive to many of the river’s tributaries. One was Cascade Creek, which enters from river left about halfway through the trip, so called “by reason of the multitude of waterfalls that are in it” some distance before it reaches the Dan.
Devil’s Jump Shoal, just downstream from Cascade Creek, is named for impressive mid-river rocks. On river right less than a mile downstream from Devil’s Jump is the confluence of the Dan with Tanyard Creek, named for the tannery owned by John Morehead, father of North Carolina Governor John Motley Morehead, who grew up nearby.
Between two old sluice walls of Tanyard Shoal, separated by nearly a half-mile of the Dan’s flow, is a place called on an 1823 survey “The Wreck,” according to William E. Trout III, author of the Dan River Atlas. “Why?” he asks, inviting future river mappers to solve the mystery.
Other examples of intriguing nineteenth-century labels are Beasley’s Gallows Shoal Sluice and the well-preserved Hairston’s Fish Trap Sluice, likely modified from an Amerindian fish weir of 1000 years ago.
The trip is part of the series of over 100 First Saturday Outings that have been offered by DRBA almost from its inception. Other interesting facts about the geology, history, and culture of this section of the river are found in Maps 42 – 45 of “An Insider’s Guide to the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia,” available at

Participants in the outing are asked to provide boat, life jacket, lunch and water, to dress in layers of artificial (quick-drying) fabric and to sign a waiver.

Directions: To reach Draper Landing Access (GPS 36.4987, -79.6814) from the north or west, take NC 14 to NC 700 East. Travel on NC 700 about 4 miles through Eden to the bridge over the Dan River. After crossing the bridge, go 0.1 mile and turn left into the gravel driveway to the access.

From the south take US 29 North, turning left (west) on NC 700. Just past Quesinberry Road, turn right into the gravel driveway to the access beside the NC 700 Bridge over the Dan.

From the east take US 29 South, turning right (west) on NC 700, and proceed as described above.

More information:
For trip information, contact trip coordinator Will Truslow, 336-547-1903,


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