April 2, 2016


April 2, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM
Come and share the Dan River Basin Association’s April 2 First Saturday Outing—a 6-mile float on the Mayo and Dan rivers in Rockingham County, NC. Boaters will paddle the lower 1.5 miles of the Mayo River and 4.5 miles of the Dan River.

Coordinated by DRBA board member T Butler, the float will extend from the NC 135 Bridge in Mayodan to the confluence with the Dan River and conclude at the mouth of Jacob’s Creek. The entire trip is rated Class 1-II in difficulty.

Meeting at 10:00 a.m. at the NC 135 Bridge in Mayodan (GPS 36.407317, -79.965097), participants will unload boats and gear, sign waivers, and set the shuttle. The put-in is a new river access created by the Mayo River State Park. Park superintendent Keith Martin plans to greet boaters at the access.

Three Rivers Outfitters of Eden, 336.627.6215 or www.3-R-O.com, will offer boat rentals and shuttle for the outing.

Joining in the float is Butler’s husband, North Carolina historian Lindley Butler, who has extensively studied and documented the history of the Dan and Mayo rivers.

Regarding the Mayo River, T Butler comments, “Although the lower portion of the Mayo flows through Mayodan and Madison, the river’s high forested banks hide the towns and provide a pleasant feeling of wilderness. Gravel and cobble bars may generate riffles, but the river tends to be shallow and easy to navigate. It’s a lovely trip.”

Two historic features on the lower Mayo include Mayo Ford, where the Petersburg to Salem Road connected Virginia and North Carolina in Colonial times, and the stone pier from the 1892 Mayo River Bridge, which was replaced by the Dan Valley Road Bridge in 1965.

After reaching the confluence with the Dan River, participants will encounter six historic structures from the batteau navigation system that made the Dan usable by flat-bottomed batteaux, the long, narrow workhorses of nineteenth-century river commerce in the region.

Roberson’s Fish Trap Sluice includes a widened fish weir originally built to collect fish making their great spawning runs upriver from the coast. Slink Shoal Sluice and Wing Dams, called the navigation system’s “crown jewel,” consists of the longest sluice, or channel, and the only surviving log-crib wing dams on the river.

These and the other navigation structures direct the water to bypass rapids and ledges that would have blocked the batteaux, each of which carried several tons of goods. Present-day recreational users enjoy the effects of these structures, which have been self-maintaining for over 135 years.

After a lunch stop at Lone Island, where Revolutionary War soldiers forded the river after the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, paddlers will take out at a private access point with the owner’s permission.

Participants are asked to meet at 10:00 a. m. at the southeast side of the NC 135 Bridge in Mayodan, NC (river left, downstream). Please dress in wool or quick-drying fabric and be prepared to get wet. Bring boat, paddles, life jacket for each boater, water, and lunch. Each boater will be asked to sign a waiver.

To reach the put-in, travel on US 220 to the interchange with NC 135 in Mayodan. Turn west on NC 135, passing McMichael High School, and drive about 3 ½ miles to the bridge over the Mayo River.

All First Saturday Outings of the Dan River Basin Association are free and open to the public.

For more information about the outing, contact T Butler, 336.613.6723 or members@danriver.org