Trail Tails...
Student Group Weighs In on Beaver Lodge &
Beaver Tail
The following is a report on the adventures of a group of graduate students from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

On the weekend of October 8, 2004, we traveled down to the Roanoke River to work with Roanoke River Partners and The Nature Conservancy on a service project. Our group of twelve students started on Saturday at Roberson's Marina and canoed down Gardner Creek to the Beaver Lodge group platforms.

One portion of the group then traveled by motor boat to Cut Cypress Creek to work with chainsaws and hand tools to clear trees out of the channel and open the way for canoes. It was difficult, deliberate work, but the passage is one step closer to being clear. The other portion of our group journeyed into Devil's Gut from behind the Beaver Lodge Platform to look for a canoe passage straight through the heart of the swamp. Hopefully, our start will one day allow paddlers to travel through Devil's Gut during high water.

Our group thoroughly enjoyed working on these projects to help the Roanoke River Partners. In return, we had a wonderful weekend on the river. The weather was beautiful - we had mild, clear days and cool nights. The leaves were just starting to change colors, particularly the big, golden sycamores and red maples. The tupelo and black gum were covered in fruit that would fall with a little breeze, making plunking noises in the river.

We marveled at the size of the old cypress trees and were treated to multiple choruses of barred owls, both during the day and at night. The Beaver Lodge group platform easily accommodated our group of twelve. We had plenty of space for sleeping, cooking, and sitting around at night bythe glow of headlamps. Sunday was another beautiful day and we leisurely paddled back up Gardner Creek.

We were very pleased with the ease of planning and carrying out our trip, thanks to the web site and the helpful staff at Roberson's Marina. All of our rental canoes and equipment were appropriate and in excellent condition, with the exception of one flat-bottomed boat that may be better suited for fishing or short trips around the marina. Also, we did not receive any formal instructions for the portable toilet - this led to some
confusion in our group.

We had a wonderfully relaxing and productive trip. We are especially grateful for Jeff Horton and Harry Thompson for their generosity as local hosts to our group.

We'll be back!
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Roanoke River Partners
Post Office Box 488, Windsor, North Carolina 27983-0488
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