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Comment Opportunity on the Green River Gamelands Plan (NC)

Posted: 12/12/2014
by Kevin Colburn

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has released their draft management plan for the Green River Gamelands in North Carolina.  This plan addresses all uses and activities in the iconic Green River Narrows, as well as the Class III+ Upper Green and the Class II Lower Green. This place and this plan are important to many paddlers in the southeast and across the globe.  You can review the plan here, and send in a comment by January 16th, 2015.  New and noteworthy in the draft plan:

  • Paddlers are Welcome: While a secondary use to hunting and fishing, the plan acknowledges the incredible paddling and economic resource the Green River is, and aims to welcome paddlers to sustainably enjoy the river. See pgs 7, 16. 
  • Big Hungry Dam Removal: Two dams are currently being removed from Big Hungry Creek.  This will make paddling Big Hungry way more fun and fluid, and protect the Green from episodic sediment problems.  This is great news. See Pg. 37, 50,51.
  • Trail Improvements: There are plans to improve the Narrows Trail (into Groove Tube) and the Gallimore Road Trail (the Narrows put in) to reduce erosion. See Pgs. 44,55, 56.
  • Parking Improvements: Parking enhancements are planned at the Pulliam Creek Trailhead, Gallimore Road Trailhead, and Big Hungry Creek. See Pgs 49, 53, 55, 62
  • Potential for Permits: Permits for commercial use, large events, and use of gamelands may be explored at the statewide level. Presumably these permits would be fee based.  See pg 64.
  • More Logging: Hunters in NC want more open canopy and early successional forest to support more deer and turkey.  The management actions listed in the plan for nearly all habitats includes logging.  See beginning on pg 19.  The extent of the planned logging is difficult to ascertain. The plan proposes a 100 foot buffer for the Green and Big Hungry River from logging activities. See pg 36. 
  • Partnerships: The trail and access work aimed at benefitting paddlers will likely occur through partnerships with the paddling community. See Pg 72.

American Whitewater will be filing comments on the plan, and we encourage Green River paddlers to do the same. There are clearly some good things in the plan for the paddling community that are worth recognizing, and this plan is the result of solid relationships between managers and the paddling community built over many years. We're confident the paddling community will keep strengthening that relationship through thoughtful participation in this planning effort and through ongoing partnerships on trails and access.