Basin Overview
A wild-gem in northeast North Carolina, the Lower Roanoke River and its tributaries offer a unique wilderness experience for kayakers and canoeists. The camping trail presents not only another way to appreciate the beauty of the area, it provides opportunities for the development of businesses geared to the needs of eco-tourists.
Unique Territory
Meandering through the Coastal plain to the Atlantic Ocean, the Roanoke spreads out through the largest intact bottomland hardwood swamp forest east of the Mississippi. Mistletoe and Spanish moss decorate majestic cypress trees and towering tupelos. Blossoms of cardinal flowers blaze in shafts of sunlight underneath.

The area is home to black bear, river otter, white-tail deer, bobcat, beaver and mink. Over 200 bird species have been identified including bald eagles, barred owl, osprey, and anhinga. Coupled with the hundreds of great egrets and great blue herons nesting in the region, it is a birdwatcher's paradise. The River is renowned for its abundance of striped bass, largemouth bass, black crappie, lunker catfish, gar and bowfin. Just above the waterline, turtles sun on logs near the banks.

For thousands of years, dugout canoes have been the ultimate vehicle to explore these amazing waters. In this spirit, RRP volunteers and contractors have constructed trails and camping platforms in the Roanoke River backwaters offering a swamp experience unlike any to be found in the Mid-Atlantic—a 200-mile wilderness eco-adventure for people of all ages. The Trail System features a series of water-bound camping structures that allow paddlers to overnight in some of the amazing water jungles of NC's coastal plain. Although the trail facilities are developed, built and managed by Roanoke River Partners, many are located on environmentally sensitive wetlands owned by The Nature Conservancy. This partnership is an excellent example of how RRP can bring together different interest groups for the benefit of all. Another is on land owned by Weyerhaeuser Company. Others are under construction or being planned.

"Great blue herons emerged from the forest and flew away from us with deep, slow wingbeats, disappearing into the veil of rain."

Paddle the Mighty Roanoke
by Ida Lynch
Wildlife in North Carolina
April, 2003
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Roanoke River Partners
Post Office Box 488, Windsor, North Carolina 27983-0488
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For reservations/info call Anne at 252-792-3790