Outdoor recreation generates $28 billion dollars annually in North Carolina, according to the Outdoor Recreation Association, and the state's thousands of miles of waterways are a large part of that. One example is the Wilson Creek watershed in Caldwell and Avery counties, one of five areas in the state that was created as a result of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, celebrating its 50th anniversary this month.
New River and Lumber River are among the other waterways in North Carolina that also received funding from the act.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, more than two dozen community partners, including Trout Unlimited, Resource Institute, the U.S. Forest Service and Foothills Conservancy, will host a public party to celebrate the anniversary of the legislation, and announce new community projects to further enhance Wilson Creek.
One of the new projects that will be launching at the event is a Citizen Scientists Initiative, where community members will be invited to monitor and maintain trails and roads around the Wilson Creek area.
"We're going to be utilizing citizen scientists to walk up trails and find significant sedimentation and erosion areas that the Forest Service and Trout Unlimited and other partners can then remediate," explains Andy Brown, Southern Appalachian cold water conservation manager with Trout Unlimited.
Brown adds that the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act anniversary is a good time to recognize how far efforts have gone over the years.
"Fifty years is a long time, and sometimes we all get busy on working on our conservation projects that we don't take time to just pause and just be, and remember why we're in this work in the first place, and why we even have a wild and scenic river," he states.
The Hickory NC Chapter of Trout Unlimited has an event scheduled at the Wilson Creek Visitor Center on Saturday, Nov 3rd to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic River Act. Activities include:
1. Fly Casting - Gary Hogue will be teaching the class and needs volunteers to assist with coaching after the lesson.
2. Chapter Table - they need people at our table to discuss our chapter, trout in the classroom, and sell raffle tickets for a fly rod
3. Fly tying - they need people to demonstrate (and perhaps help visitors) with fly tying.