Last updated: July 21. 2014 10:09AM - 309 Views

The New River Paddle-a-Thon occurred in Ashe County on Saturday, July 12.
The New River Paddle-a-Thon occurred in Ashe County on Saturday, July 12.
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On Saturday, July 12, the New River Conservancy (formerly National Committee for the New River) hosted its 2nd annual New River Paddle-A-Thon in partnership with the New River State Park, Riverside Canoe and Tube Rental, RiverCamp USA, New River Outfitters and the REGEAR Store.

The goal of the Paddle-A-Thon was to encourage New River constituents to not only join the staff and Board of the New River Conservancy on the river for the day but to give paddlers a vehicle to raise awareness and funds for the New River Conservancy and the organization’s river cleanup efforts. This way, our paddlers could share what is important to them about the New and the New River Conservancy’s work with their friends and family.

“I loved the concept of being able to reach out to my family and friends with multiple social networking options and have everyone pitch in a little. Like most of the work on the river, if everyone does a little, like cleanup their yard or stretch of stream or river, significant work is accomplished,” said Courtney Wait, water quality coordinator with New River Conservancy. “And after all the friends, funds and awareness is raised we get to go out to the river and paddle in celebration of a job well done.”

The celebratory paddle started at 10 a.m., with participants meeting at the New River State Park’s Kings Creek Access. After a big “thank you” and acknowledgement to all the hard work of the paddlers the group of 23 launched from the U.S. 221 bridge to leisurely paddle seven miles down to Kings Creek Access.

The group chatted, swam, stopped for lunch and leisurely enjoyed the sunny, bright summer day just barely missing a torrential down pour at approximately 4 p.m. After taking out and drying off, the group was welcomed back to the riverbanks with ice-cold growlers generously donated by Appalachian Mountain Brewery.

The over $7,480 raised from this event is going to further the New River Conservancy’s River Cleanup efforts. New River Conservancy is nationally recognized for its citizen engagement efforts that inspire ordinary people to undertake extraordinary activities to protect the river.

The New River Conservancy’s direct citizen action is critical to ensure the River’s health and beauty. Last year, over 20,000 pounds of trash was removed from 66 river miles throughout the New River watershed.

The contributions to the Paddle-A-Thon make it possible for New River Conservancy to engage local citizens to take an active role cleaning up and ensuring that their section of river is scenic and welcoming and will support both a tourism industry and the aquatic life that depend on the New River.

It is New River Conservancy’s mission to ensure the health of the New River by working with the communities on and around the River in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The New River Conservancy has worked with New River residents to stop a dam, pipeline and prison from impacting water quality and scenic beauty of the river. They have also permanently protected over 7,600 acres of land important to the health of the New River and restored or stabilized 81 miles of stream and river bank.

Thanks to the dedication of New River volunteers, the Conservancy has trained 70 citizen water quality monitors and collected 196,590 pounds of trash and 5,623 tires from river clean-ups.

To check out the New River Paddle-A-Thon’s paddlers’ awesome personalized pages and how far over the fundraising goal New River Conservancy has gone, please check out https://www.crowdrise.com/NEWRIVERPADDLE-A-THON2014 or to learn more about New River Conservancy go to http://www.newriverconservancy.org/

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