/ Places You Helped Protect, Trails and Recreation,

Canoeing For a Cause!

By Torry Nergart

Canoeing for a cause!

(Or kayaking, or tubing, or duck hunting, or paddle-boarding, or bird-watching, or muskie fishing, for a good cause…. Sounds fun, right?)

I’d like to offer everyone an opportunity to help out the French Broad, to be the eyes and ears for the Transylvania French Broad River Stewards. If you’re already boating, or want to get into boating, then all you need is a cell phone. With some brief volunteer training, you too can be a protector of what you love by documenting log jams, large litter flows, and bank erosion.

Photo courtesy of J. Tinsley

I’ve learned quite quickly how much our county’s residential recreationists truly enjoy giving back to their adopted sport or hobby. Our volunteerism rate is one of the highest in the state! And Transylvanians are definitely passionate about fishing, hunting, boating and all kinds of water sports. So what’s your favorite way to be on the water?

Mine is spin-fishing from a kayak. I’m occasionally in a canoe if the trip I’m on calls for a large cooler. But all you need to help protect the Broad is a good mapping app, and as one of my buddies has learned, a little dry bag for your phone is not just a good idea, it’s a necessity.

Conserving Carolina is asking you to enroll in our general volunteer orientation (https://conservingcarolina.org/tfbs/) then get up with our team members in Brevard for an intro to using the Avenza Maps app. It’s free to use, and doesn’t ask for any information other than a legit email. We’ve created full color maps of the river, and with those as you do your usual float, if you run across a big log jam, document it for us. The app will take a photo that has a GPS point attached; and send it to the River Stewards. Our team of experienced and connected folks will figure out what to do and where to get help. There are programs to help landowners repair and enhance their river banks, and consider The Transylvania French Broad River Stewards a clearinghouse for knowledge on keeping the water open and accessible to all.

So as the temps start to climb into Spring, and you start dusting off the gear for good times on the water, remember how easy it is to give back. Trails (yes, including paddle trails) don’t maintain themselves!

All of this work, not matter how seemingly small, supports Conserving Carolina’s mission to protect the places you love. To date, we’ve conserved 45,899 acres of mountain land, including many places on the French Broad. We’ve put back together breeding habitat for the Muskie fish, helped stop our number one pollutant, sediment, on up East Fork, and kept family farms intact while improving river protection.

We also don’t forget all the unsung heroes of conservation, the private donors who have offered up their land to be conserved forever along the streams leading into and along the Broad for the protection of clean water, air, and soil. We thank you all and thank you, reader, for considering helping out the French Broad in Transylvania County.

Torry Nergart is an avid adventurer, a local to Brevard dad and spouse, and just happens to be Conservation Easement Manager for Conserving Carolina- a calling that often puts him in a climbing harness, or waders, on a bike, or yes in a kayak too, to protect the land and water we all love.

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