Defining the Challenge
In 1996, people from the five counties along the Roanoke River in
North Carolina met with others from across the state to merge their
interests in this rich natural resource and in the region's economic
Historically, people along the Roanoke have depended on its
abundance for their own food as well as for commercial goods: naval
stores, lumber, cypress shingles, fish and more. The river served as
a travel route for the earliest inhabitants of this land and those
who followed. Its dense swamps provided cover for runaway slaves.
Its high banks and sharp bends offered vantage points for forts
during wars. It carried barges of fuel and other products in more
recent times. Its water serves industries and municipalities from
dam to sound. The forbidden swamps even hid illegal stills during
Prohibition. One was so "industrial" that it ran three shifts!
The Roanoke remained vital, yet there was awareness that this
beautiful, life-giving river was not being used to its fullest
potential...or in ways that protected it for use by future
Facing the Realities
In 1997, this group had identified their goals, established a plan
of action and incorporated as a non-profit group called Roanoke
River Partners (RRP). Now, the hard work began. One of RRP's first
and biggest projects was to create a paddle/camping trail along the
river and its creeks that would increase awareness of this treasure
we call the Roanoke, and build infrastructure for small businesses
like guides, outfitters and many others in the region, new and old.
Visitors could trace the curves of the Roanoke and its tributaries,
discovering the variety of wildlife and habitats it offers and
enjoying the unique experience of spending a night (or more) in the
breathtaking beauty of its moss-draped back swamps. In this special
type of eco-tourism, the Roanoke River Paddle Trail would be the
first private system of its type in the nation. No small task, for
Realizing the Dream!
Today, the Roanoke River Paddle Trail is a reality!
With its 16th camping site in operation, this unique trail has
attracted thousands of users from across the US (as
well as paddlers documented from eleven countries outside the US).
There are many wonderful
stories between the dream of this trail and the reality, and it
could not have happened without countless dedicated supporters. We
sincerely thank each of them and just as importantly, we hope that
you will be captivated by this vision of the Roanoke as a source of
sustainable, responsible growth through eco-tourism.
Join us in creating a better economy for the people along the
river and in helping to assure a healthy future for this treasure we
call the Roanoke. For more about how you can become a sponsor (and
there is a level of sponsorship for everyone) contact us at
Roanoke River Partners (RRP) is an independent
501(c)(3) non-profit group of organizations & individuals formed to
create a positive, healthy vision and future for the historic
communities that reside throughout the
region - the Roanoke River, Albemarle Sound and their communities.