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Lisa Kipps-Brown

Lisa Kipps-Brown

Lisa Kipps-Brown has not set their biography yet

To All Loons Paddlers: we have received criticism for promoting paddle outings where some persons choosing not to wear or carry life jackets (PFD’s) create a potentially “liable” situation for our group and associated organization and individuals. The laws of Virginia and North Carolina state that all vessels capable of transporting persons on the water (including canoes and kayaks) must have on-board one USCG approved life jacket sized for each wearer and that they must be readily accessible and ready for use. They do not require that you wear it in all situations but they do require that all children under the age of 13 wear one at all times.

The Loons group is not affiliated with any organization although the Roanoke River Basin Association Upper Reach Program has promoted Loons outings and events in the past. The Loons exists as a volunteer group of paddling enthusiasts whose common interest make us want to paddle together without the burden of liability waivers, insurance and legal oversight that comes with sanctioned events and outings.

The Loons has purposefully opted to suggest and encourage rather than mandate any particular behaviors such as wearing life vests. The reason for this is two-fold: 1) we believe that all paddlers should take personal responsibility for being familiar with and complying with the laws of the state, and 2) adults should be free to make the personal decision whether or not to wear their PFD, and they are always responsible for their children.

If conditions are such that a paddler can “self-rescue” (i.e. swim, walk or drag) themselves to safety in the event of capsize, it is not our responsibility to assume the role of PFD police. They should not expect others to come to their rescue, possibly endangering their lives too.

Personally, I wear my life jacket. I have found that a good quality jacket can be both comfortable, convenient (with many pockets) and are often quite stylish. I have also found that going for a swim and banging my head on a rock can happen with little notice, ruining not only my day but everyone else’s too.

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Thanks to all who have faithfully followed our scattered e-mail postings since last Fall. We have been busy and not so good about blogging lately. We'll improve as we near spring.

What have we been doing? We are in the process of permitting our three launch sites and two of them (Kerr Tailrace and US-1 Steel Bridge) will be 100% wheelchair accessible. This means programs like Vets-on-a-Roll, Wounded Warriors and any other recreational thearpy program (not to mention those of us with general loss of mobility) will be able to get into a kayak (unassisted) and access over 30 miles of water trails. The first of its kind on the east coast and only second in the Country that we know of.

We've been posting on the River Management Society Website to get input and we are ready to build...well almost.

On top of that Glerin has our website upgraded with the new Trail Wiki which we are working on populating with trail info. We are completing the maps for download (see below for sample) and also getting starting on the 15 trail head signs. We've occasionally been out breaking trail (or rather it has been breaking us) to try to push into some of the true upper reaches.


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Thought I had posted more they are again

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Thanks to the efforts fo our friends at the SPDC and Mecklenburg County (Angie, Heather & Robyn) the Dept of Conservation and Recreation was finally able to conduct thier scenic rivers field evaluation from the North and South forks confluence to US-1. We joined them on Friday and not only did we see a beautiful river but shared the day with some great folks too! Had we had a bit more water it would have made the paddling ...well, more like padlling and less like hiking. Its definately a trip you need to plan around the seasons and recent rainfalls.

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Finally, we have been able to officially begin our work on developing our blueways and mapping them in a way that will reach paddlers living outside our area to come visit. Lisa is hard at work on the website and we are working on our interactive map. Andy is plotting the channel centerlines and I'm gathering the vital information that goes into the trail descriptions. We are underway with the design of our launches and interpretive signs. We'll keep you posted as things develop. Meanwhile check out the fall calendar and give Doug a shout if you have any ideas or want to participate in the fun!

Almost forgot, DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation) paddled the Banister recently and it does qualify for the Scenic Rivers designation . The Meherrin will be reviewed in Sept after having been delayed from July due to the heat. We'll keep you posted on that to.

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...just a few more pics from June 23rd Fun Days
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Thanks to Robyn and friends we got a copule of great shots of their Meherrin paddle this past Sunday. 8.3 miles from Rustic Rd. To Robinsons Ferry.

Other than a little slippery mud at the take-out Robyn says "...It took us about 5.5-6 hours, including stopping for lunch and we just took our time floating along. Everyone, young and old, had a great time! 35 yaks and 6 canoes!!!"

This is picture exhibits the "classic country style" where you do what you have to to navigate the river banks. You gotta love it!

We need to work to get some access easements and some river launches in place. If anyone is actively pursuing this on the Meherrin please let us know and we'll help however we can. We'd love to follow your activities and let others know the stretches to paddle and the best places to access.

put in_lr


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We've finally been able to get some dates nailed down for our Loons Summer Outings. Please mark you schedules for our June 9th Banister River and July 14th Staunton River State Park. Those of you who are still young at heart (and mind) may want to join us for the Fun Float on June 23rd from Brookneal to Long Island. We do not sanction this event...but will probably go anyway.

We are also getting underway on our capital projects and website to get everything really rolling. We could sure use some volunteeer help keeping the website calendar and blogging. We'll get the website to where you can post your pictures. Tax-deductable donations are always needed and very much appreuciated! Please click on the button above and mark your donation for Upper Reach. This is a non-profit venture dedicated to promoting the use and protection of our all monies go to help raise awareness and supprot the outings. No personal compensation comes out of these donations (or any others for that matter) so please help out if you can. Remember that when taking advantage of shuttles is good paddler etiquette to "pony up" a couple of bucks to help defray the cost of gas and wear on personnal vehicles.

This has been an interesting start-up but everyone that has come out to paddle provides the inspiration to carry on. We wish to acknowledge and thank everyone who has taken part in our outings and events. You are helping to build a paddling community of friends that share in the love of the outdoors and the protection of our river system. Thank-You!


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Yesterday RRBA-UR began an early announcement of its Requests for Proposals for Website Development, Metrics Program Development, and Capital Projects. Interested teams and firms are invited to submit their proposals pursuant to the published RFP's available on this site. Go to Downloads > Planning & Development to download copies of the RFP's.

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Many thanks to everyone that "likes" us on facebook. We've been busy working ot get the launch and website projects underway and its taking a lot of time. We continue to get good news from State agencies, the Corps and other groups on possible projects so hopefully we'll ahve some big announcements soon to pass along.

MOur biggest focus now is in trying to buidl this paddling community to a point where some of our friends will feel free to blog, post pictures, help with Spring paddling outing, etc..

There's lots of opportunities to volunteer and you don't have to commit long term or otherwise over commit. Last two weeks three folsk have stepped up to say they want to help. A student at NCSU Recreation Management is helping write some of the letters to try and approach teh NC Golden Leaf Foundation, a recent Landscape Architecture graduate has offered to help on mapping, a past Parks and Recreation manager has offered to help on miscellaneous and I've recruited my nephew to help on launch ramp construction. We're in discussion with the Boys Scouts about partnering on projects and thats jsut for starts.

We need someone to run point on a Spring outing (nothing big just have to pick a date and place and tell everyone to be there). I'm trying to make time to talk to more groups and show our power point and could always use some help. It only amounts to a couple of hours here and there so drop us a line if you can spare a few.

Enough for now....remember to GET OUT NOW! 

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Our apologies for dropping off the radar for a few weeks but the holidays, work and grant admin have us very busy. I finaklly was able to post Scott Huddle's pics of his paddle trip with his Dad from Staunton View. Looks like a perfect day and check out route map in the post where I included his description.

We also posted a few pics of Little Fishing Creek (2.5 mi run through Medoc Mountain SP , Halifax County, NC) The lauch and retrival are easy enoguh to find and I only counted one tree fall that you would have to negotiate. Plenty of water this time of yer and through spring and early summer.


We're getting underway finally with our blueways development and more work on our website. Stay tuned... and please send us your pics and stories. First on the agend is an "easy post" for pics and stories. If we can't get out there every day we can at least read and follow others.

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Many of you have ask about how to best prepare for the Paddle Days Event. Hopefully this blog will provide some useful advice. SAFETY FIRST - The Kerr Dam Tailrace section of the Roanoke River is just below the dam and the water stays about 10 degrees cooler than in the lakes at any time of the year. During water releases from the dam the current will increase to 3-4 mph and rise about 5' over a 15- 20 min. time period. Plenty of time to get to higher ground and there is nothing to fear ....unless you have waded out to a rock for a picnic (not adviseable). This current makes for a plesant float downriver. LIFE JACKETS ARE A MUST! We will have safety boats nearby for the event but if you were to capsize ....everything can be funny and memorable.... unless you are not wearing a life jacket. Life jackets or PFD's (personal floatation devices) are included with every canoe or kayak rental. If you capzie STAY WITH YOUR BOAT...heck with the paddle, it will float.We can get you back in to the boat but have you ever tried to mount a paddle? There are many good YouTube videos on what to do and how to renenter a kayak or canoe in the event of a capsize. This event is not a teaching session and it is up to each paddler to know the sport, the associated dangers and have a basic understanding of the techniques and skills. That said it is really very easy to master the basic skills.... a few links to some of the better videos are included in our LINKS on this website but there are literally hundreds more. Please watch some of them or sign up for a class with Frog Hollow or one of our other providers. WHAT TO WEAR - As we mentioned the water is cool and the air may be even cooler. Oct 15th was selceted because it is not so darn hot but remeber that a cold front can make it become quite chilly overnight. Synthetic clothing is best and our many outfitters offer the best paddling attire. Although you will surely look snappy for the camera it is not essential to go "gear-up" for your first enjoyable day on the river. Running gear, snythetic long johns or quick dry clothing along with a nylon windbreaker, cap and sunglasses are usually all that are needed. Wet shoes ...the kind that dry quickly are cool but that old pair of Vans or Converse will also work...and can be equally snappy. One of your first purchases that you will never regret is a "dry-bag". Its kinda like a big zip-loc baggie on steroids. We'll give you a small zip-loc with your map and breakfast snacks at the registration but having one large enough to hold a pair of dry shorts and a tee shirt to change in to at the take-out can mean a much more comfortable shuttle ride back to the top. if you are totally soaking wet we'll vote to either let you ride with the kayaks, ride as a hood ornament or simply let eveyone else grab you and wring you out before climbing in to the van. Its also a good idea to bring along a towel or something to sit on. Although a kneeling or semi-knelling position is most stable a 5 mile paddle will find you shifting among positions and having somehting to coushin the knees or the seat is handy. Oh well, I'm sure I'll think of some other stuff to blog before the 15th but DO COME ON OUT AND HAVE FUN PADDLING!
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Greetings, we're glad you found us! Upper Reach is a brand new program for our community and we're working hard to make things happen. With any luck at all we'll have our first paddling outing this fall (when its much cooler) and hope you will join us. Mark you calendars for October 15th and watch the events calendar for updated information.

We're working on a lot of fronts and can use all of the help we can  muster. Step up and hit the Get Involved button and send us a note on your interest. We're working on our eagle cameras and osprey platforms where we've joined Dave Kramar- Virginia Tech Conservation Management Institute who is applying for some USFWS funding. If he is successful Rick and Lee will join him in installing the first (that I know anyway) Lake Country eagle camera.

We are exploring otions with VA DGIF to add an accessible canoe/kayak launch at the Steel Bridge/Historic US 1 Landing. this will enable personsiwth disabilities to enjoy paddling our cornerstone trail. Lots of veterans and disability groups are asking for this and we want eveyone involved. Sound interesting...hit that Get Involved button.

Get out and Explore some of the trails. They are there for you to enjoy and they belong to you. You've already paid for them.

Check out the hot political events on our Roanoke River Basin Association site (see links) as well as our other friends.

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Featured Project


US-1 Steel Bridge Launch

Handicap accessible! The launch serves as the takeout for paddlers launching at the Tailrace. Read More

Virginia Tourism website