Thursday, May 19, 2011

Smith River Mini-Triathlon

Smith River Mini-Triathlon

: 1.2 miles along the beautiful Smith River   Paddle: 1.2 miles on the Smith River's class I rapids. Bike: 2.5 miles on paved and natural surface terrain. Experienced mountain bikers for bike leg. Awards for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place finishers. All pre-registered participants receive a T-shirt. Classes: Solo-Youth, Male, & Female. Team-All Male, All Female, Coed different age increments. Call 403-5140 for more inf. Registration brochures are online at  or call us for a registration brochure.
DATE/TIME: Saturday, May 21, Registration and check in 9am-9:45am. Race starts at 10am 
11:15am-Awards ceremony at Trailhead
LOCATION: Fieldale Trail Head, (Off River Rd., Fieldale, VA)
FEE: $15 per participant, $20 fee day of the event
Kayaks & Canoes available to rent - $15 - Smith River Outfitters, Must reserve kayaks by calling 252-0701  or canoes - 403-5140 & they will be onsite.
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,


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Axton Elementary say's "Bye Bye trout"

Its Monday morning on the Smith River at Bassett Virginia and vivacious group of young students pile out of the big yellow bus, excited to be out of school and ready for an adventure on the river.  These students from Hannah Sullivan's class at Axton Elementary have been raising brown trout (with a little help from their teacher) for the past 6 months in a tank in their classroom.  They are one of 31 tanks across 4 counties in one of the country's single largest Trout in the Classroom Programs, TIC in Southern Virginia !

 Each year, students and teachers get brown trout eggs from the state hatchery at Wytheville in December,  The tiny pinkish / orange eggs are only a few weeks old when the schools first receive them and these "eye-up" eggs are placed in breeder baskets made of netting and suspended off edge of the tank.
Its not long before the first trout start to "break out of their shell" and get their first look at a new environment. 

Often, the first thing the new trout see are many eyes on the outside of the tank, staring back at them !
By Christmas the fry have hatched are now called alevins,  Just a few weeks later and the "sac fry" have absorbed all their yolk sacs and are ready to start eating trout food.

Once the trout are big enough to be "swim-ups"  they are released from the breeder net in to the tank.  By May, the trout are now big, fat and healthy and are known as "fingerlings" and at this stage  they are ready to be released in the Smith River.

The students and teachers help take care of the trout and have to make sure the water is cleaned and the trout are fed.  They also have to make sure the water is the correct ph and the ammonia levels are low.
The students are learning that trout need good clean water to survive.  So now the big day has arrived and they are ready to take theses trout they have been raising and let them go into their new river home.
On this day, The Dan River Basins new Executive Director, Tiffany Haworth, donned rubber boots and joined the students as they introduced the trout to their new home.

After the last trout swam out to deeper water, it was time for the students to take a "stream walk" and learn more about the river and what the trout were going to eat now that they would not be fed each day by the students.

On the stream walk the students learned that bugs like stoneflys, mayflys, helgramites and crayfish (macro-invertebrates) live under the rocks and logs in the river.   A seine net was used to capture some of the macros for closer examination.

 It was another great day in the best classroom in the world...the river
Thanks to Hannah and Patrick Sullivan, all the students and teachers at Axton Elementary and a special thanks to Tiffany Haworth for helping the kids stay "mostly" dry during the stream walk experience !