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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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Posted by on in UR Loons Paddlers

We are sorry for the short notice.  We have spoken to several local Meherrin River residents.  They are telling us that we need to wait till late April for the water levels to be navigable in the river for the north fork.  We will reschedule then.  


This Saturday WE WILL STILL PADDLE.  We are going to meet at Saffold Rd. (Rte. 635) to Whittle's Mill (Rte 636/ Bridge Rd).  Meeting at 10:30 am to drop off boats and shuttle to Whittle's Mill and launch around 11:00 am.  

Dress warm, Layers are the best and stay away from cotton.  Bring your sunscreen.

See you there!
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Posted by on in Kayaking

Hey fellow paddlers,

Get your paddling stuff together, it's that time of year again.  The Loons will be doing some exciting paddles this year. 

We will be venturing down the Meherrin River Saturday March 9th.  We are starting Wallace’s Bridge (Rt 712) to Whittle’s Mill (Rt 636/Bridge Rd).  This is said to be one of the greatest areas to paddle.  As of right now we have about 6 people joining us.  

Make sure you bring warm clothes and plenty of water and food.  Hope to see you all there.

Happy Paddling

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Posted by on in UR Loons Paddlers

Ok so this one day of warm weather has got me pumped to paddle and enjoy the water.  Hope you all are ready as well.  Scott and I have added some of the events to our calender of events and we have added some to our facebook page.  I have also emailed everyone the schedule for 2013 it is also pasted below.  If you are not on our email list please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can stay in contact about our events. 

We have some great events planned as well as some amazing things happening throughout the region for our blueway trails.  If you have not checked out our Trails Wiki, you need to.  Scott and several others have worked really hard to get a good start on this project.  We hope you can help us build our trails wiki and our blog.  Please tell us some of your favorite places to paddle.

We enjoy hearing from you.  Have a great day.

 

Get Out Now!

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Posted by on in Kayaking

Hello All,

I hope everyone has had a great winter.  I know my winter has been filled with family and friends.  I have not been as active on here as I wish, I apologize for that.  I will try again to post about all my outings whether on land or by sea.

This post is about Scott and I going for a mid winter paddle.  We did a nice trip on Saturday January 19, 2013.  We decided on going from Hyco River to Aaron's Creek.  Kerr's water levels has been low for the past few months, we dicovered after the nearly 5 inches of rain that Kerr has water again.  The Dan River between Hyco and Aaron's Creek was flowing so fast we just help on and let it rip.

The Hyco River is a great paddle with many fun islands to paddle around, although on this trip we paddled over the islands.  You will see that in the pictures below (or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Upper-Reach/120866234666406?fref=ts).  While going towards the Dan River we saw a Banded Water Snake.  It is highly unlikely to see a snake in this weather but due to the flood stage of the rivers we are sure it got kicked out of its hibernation home.  We also saw plenty of Turkey Buzzards.

Scott and I tried to paddle up the Dan and around Hyco Island but were unable to cause of the current.  The current was so strong you could hear it whimping by us.  So we decided to turn around a cruise down to Aaron's Creek.  Aaron's Creek was about 1.5 miles away but came up real fast because of the flow.  We skipped over to the mouth of Aaron's Creek and were greeted by some great rock formations and calmer water.  The take out was about 1.5 miles from the mouth.  The total trip was right around 5 miles.  You can view the maps in the trail wiki.

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Posted by on in Kayaking

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.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Watkins-Bridge-to-US-360-Kings-Highway-Map.jpg

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Posted by on in General

Hello Everyone,

This is my favorite time of the year...fishing, paddling, leaves changing, cool weather, and no crazy power boats on the lake!

We have some very fun relaxing paddles coming up this fall.  As the Loon Director (self titled)  I would like to announce these paddles.

Roanoke Rapids to Weldon  10:30am October 13, 2012

We will be paddling down the Roanoke River from Hwy 48(Roanoke Rapids Rd Boating Access Area).  The Loons will paddle down stream for 5 miles (2.5 hours) of fall fun.  We will be taking out at River Falls Park.  This is a great paddle full of small rapids and flowing water.  There is a nice Class I Rapid at the end but you can portage around that rapid.  

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Posted by on in General

Thought I had posted more pics...here they are again

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Posted by on in General

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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Posted by on in General

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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Posted by on in General

Hello everyone,

 

I have been busy again fishing Lake Gaston. I went out today around 4 and fished for 3 hours.  While the crowd is disappearing slowly because of school being back in session, there were still a bunch of boats on the main lake.  So it is a reminder to be safe out there.  Yesterday I fished for a couple hours with no luck but I did almost catch a pontoon boat.  This pontoon boat came within 15 feet of me and did not see me waiving my paddle or hear me yelling.  So just be safe.

Back to my fishing today: I caught 3 large mouth with the biggest being a 4 pounder, 5 blue gil and 4 white perch.  I do most of my after work fishing from my dock launch in Poplar Creek. 

If any of you would like to go fishing sometime I am always looking for a partner.  I have a fishing kayak you can borrow.  Just shoot me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Posted by on in General

Hello All,

 

Finally we have set dates for the rest of 2012.  I have been so busy I am sorry this is a little late.  But hey atleast you got it right....

 

August:  We will not be paddling as Loons in August.  How ever if you would like to participate in a great event at Lake Gaston here is your chance.  August 11th is The Crossing Event.  Please see

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Posted by on in General

I would like to start by thanking the people that did make it to our Four Rivers Picnic.  I would also like to throw a HUGE THANK YOU to Banks Dixon of Frog Hollow Outdoors for his clinic on Deep Water Rescue. Due to the crazy weather we were unable to go through all the steps but the abbreviated version is sure to help.

So July 14th we met at Stauton River State Park for a picnic and some boating.  If you have not been to this state park you need to go.  They have a great location between the Stauton River and Dan River.  When you go to this park be ready for nice vies of the rivers and some great hikes.  I was unable to do any hiking but I am sure I will go there this fall.  At the park they have great picnic areas for large groups and small.  We decided to grill hotdogs and sausage for this event. Scott was a hero during our picnic since the skies opened up and started raining on us.  I have never seen someone hang a tarp for shelter so fast.  Thanks Scott.  Besides the small amount of rain the picnic was a great time and then the water rescue class was wonderful.

Some folks kayaked down the Hyco River and met us on the Dan River.  This is a quote from an email from Pat who went down the hyco "There was quite a diversity in the bird species sighted and even a fleeting glance of a deer."  They did say there was not much of a current this time of year but they still had a great time.

Another group went down Aaron's Creek.  They said they had a blast but were really tired because of the heat and the lack of water flow.  This time of year without the rain it makes for a slow paddle.  They did enjoy the cold water when the got to the park.

Thanks again to Bank Dixon and Frog Hollow Outdoors.

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...just a few more pics from June 23rd Fun Days
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Posted by on in General

Hello Everyone,

We have joined forces to with several groups in the region to have this fun event.  Hope to see you there!

 

We will be converging on Stauton River State Park (beach area).  They have picnic tables for resting and grills for cooking.  A few of us Loons will be prviding ice and charcoal for a afternoon picnic.  We will be firing up the grills at noon.  BYOFD Bring Your Own Food Drink.  There is also camping at the park that you will have to contact the park to make reservations.  http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/cabgen.shtml

We hope many of you will join us in this paddle in event.  There are many areas to launch your canoe/kayak and paddle over to the park for lunch.  It is up to you to pick your route. Here are some ideas...

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Posted by on in General

Well this was a great way to spend a Saturday.  We gathered with about 500 other crazy people to float from Long Island to Brookneal on the Staunton River.  I was told that this trip is about 10 miles long.  I do not know much about the event since it was my first year but if you ever have this weekend free please go.  Below are some of the pictures from Scott. 

 

The next UR Loons event is July 14th.  Please join us for a good time at Stauton River State Park.  This event will be a paddle in event, meaning you choose your route and we all will meet at the park.  We will provide ice, and fire for you to grill your food and keep your drinks cold.  I will be posting more information soon.

 

Paddle Safe!

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Posted by on in General

Hello All,

Last Saturday (June 9th 2012) the UR Loons went on a very nice paddle on the Banister River.  Thank you for those who made it...those who did not make it missed a great paddle with a local star (Carl Espy) who made the trip very educational and fun.  Carl pointed out many historical landmarks along the way as well as told some great stories about the river and the town of Halifax.  Thank you Carl.  I know we all enjoyed it.

We started paddling just below the dam at the Banister Lake WMA boat ramp.  The put in was a tad bit rough to get to but with a scenic river like the Banister it is well worth it.  We paddled for 6.5 miles down to US 360.  The water was flowing slowly which made for a 4.5 hour paddle with a 45 minute stop to eat and discuss the Uranium mind that has been proposed for up river of this site.  Only benfit we came up for the Uranium mine is the fact we would not need flash lights for a night paddle cause the water and the shore line would glow.  All joking asside this is a horrible idea and we should all be against this for a number of reqasons. 

Please visit

http://keeptheban.org/

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Posted by on in General
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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Posted by on in General

Scott and I explored a new (to me) paddling area.  We put our boats in off 48 in Roanoke Rapids and floated/swam to the boat launch on Rockfish Drive.  This area is known for the rockfish fishing.  This time of year they are releasing water from the dam for spawning.  When the water is lower at the end of June the rapids are larger and much more fun.  Although on this trip they were fun and the last one made me swim.  Don't take a flat water sit on top kayak through whitewater and not excpect to go for a swim.

This trip took Scott and I about an hour and fifteen minutes.  With the high water the current is strong and perfect for a short ride.  You do pass the paper mill and sewage plant but they are only by yourside for a brief time.  After that you go through woods.  You do go under I95 during this trip but it is still very scenic.  We saw Osprey, river otters, gar fish, carp, turtle, and one blue heron that we followed down the river for about 2 miles. 

Please remeber our next two paddles: June 9th Bannister River and July 14 the Staunton River State Park adventure.

 

Paddle safe out there!

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Tagged in: accessible heron osprey
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Posted by on in General

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 blueways......so 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 ...it 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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US-1 Steel Bridge Launch

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

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