Jay Caldwell, who came up with the idea for the trip, is a summer intern with the foundation. He and his mother, Tracy Tripp, the foundation’s community coordinator, led the effort. The mother-and-son team, which advocates for the river, joined two other kayakers: John Dettelbach and Tim Reaves.
The inspiration for the trip was the Riverkeeper Foundations concerns about water quality. American Rivers designated the Catawba River as threatened and endangered in 2008. Two years later, it’s now designated as one of “the Southeast’s top 10 most endangered rivers.” Problems include phosphates, nitrates, mercury, arsenic, PCBs, raw sewage and runoff from development.
Two million people live in the river basin, and depend on its waters for drinking and recreation and quality of life, organizers said.
The Catawba Riverkeeper group hiked from Linville Falls to Lake James, where it picked up boats. They next paddled through Lake James and along the river to Lake Norman, making stops along the way to promote awareness of these water quality issues and to encourage people to donate, time , talent and funding to help the Catawba River keeper Foundation continue to monitor the health of the basin.
For the final leg of the trip on Lake Norman, kayakers borrowed sailboats from the nonprofit N.C. Community Sailing & Rowing.
- Andria Krewson, The Charlotte Observer DavidsonNews.net’s David Boraks also contributed.
(Reprinted with permission, as part of DavidsonNews.net‘s local news partnership with the Observer.)
Aug. 11, 2010, “Kayaking for the Catawba.”
June 24, 2010, Video: Kayaker organize to promote water quality.”