For years, the Rutherford Outdoor Coalition (ROC)has been advocating the creation of a paddle trail on the Broad River. The results have yielded improved access at several locations along the river and is helping to bring attention to a very safe and navigable river that has something to offer for boaters and anglers alike.
Being a native Rutherford Countian, I have always been enamored with the Broad River and have worked many years to support water quality in the Broad, particularly in the upper part of the basin above Lake Lure. I have fished the Broad numerous times but until now, had never floated any portion of the Broad. It has always been a goal of mine to paddle the Broad since I consider it my river. I'm a Rutherford Countian so I should consider it mine given the fact that all streams in Rutherford County empty into the Broad or one of its major tributaries.
The Lower Broad River is separated from the Upper Broad River by Lake Lure. The Lower Broad has been divided into ten runnable sections for a total of 41.3 river miles. The upper portions of the Lower Broad tend to get run a little more often as access points tend to be close to main roads and tubing companies and outfitters over the years have helped bring attention to these sections of the river. ROC has done a great job at describing the upper sections. Middle and lower sections of the Broad lack good descriptions other than mileage and some basic information. This is mainly due to the fact that, until recently, river access was difficult to say the least, requiring trespassing on private property which doesn't do much to improve relations between river rats and landowners. Accessibility has limited the number of potential paddlers on those sections of the river and thus has limited the overall knowledge that has been shared to interested paddlers and recreationists.
This particular trip was not only an excuse to get out of the office for the afternoon, but was also considered exploratory, the goal being to add detail to the limited description of the section we would be paddling. Amy, our esteemed leader who is an Americorps Volunteer working with ROC and the Town of Lake Lure, decided that we needed to explore Section 6 which starts at Coxe Road and ends at Poors Ford Road; a total of 4.3 miles.
The Coxe Road river access is one of two brand new access points constructed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. These access points are great additions and necessary to ensure long-term access to the Broad River. Hopefully, the access points will help change mindsets of people who are leery of paddlers (for whatever reason) and will encourage more participation by riverfront landowners.
So, now that you have the backstory, I will do my best to describe the trip and the river. The Coxe Road river access is quite nice. A nice gravel parking area provides plenty of room to unload boats. The Commission has also installed a set of concrete steps to make river access so much easier.
Once at the bottom of the stairs, it's just a matter of putting your boat into the river and let the current take you where you want to go. Here's another view of the ramp, pointing down river.
As you may notice from the pictures, the river was quite muddy on this particular day. Recent heavy rains contributed significant amounts of runoff which usually contains quite a bit of silt and sediment. Sediment is the single largest pollutant in the entire Broad River Basin and can severely degrade water quality. As a result, much of the river bottom is very sandy. More on sandy bottoms later in this story.
There were six of us on this trip, including Amy and me. Without a whole lot of effort I put my kayak in and shoved off, paddling a short way upstream into a small eddy created by a downed tree upriver. As I sat in the eddy, I contemplated the angry clouds I saw building around us and it occurred to me that we would be lucky if we didn't get rained on.
Finally everyone in our party was in the water. Our journey downriver had begun.
|The U.S 74 bridge marks the beginning of the journey downriver.|
|A view of the U.S. 74 bridge from below. There were multiple barn swallow nests on the horizontal supports.|
|Here we are about 200 yards upstream of the Coxe Road bridge.|
|Rain coming down at the Coxe Road bridge.|
|A short distance downstream from the small set of rapids. The rain has stopped. Woohoo!|
|Pawpaw in flower. They were already finished on this particular day.|
|Approaching a large sandbar in the middle of the river.|
|Our fearless leader, Amy Allamong showing how happy she is to be on the river.|
|Stay to the right to go around the island.|
|The downriver side of the island. Notice the accumulated sand.|
|A brief rest and exploration of the island and we're ready to go again.|
|Just upstream of the convergence of the Broad and the Green.|
|Looking upstream from the mouth of the Green River where it converges with the Broad.|
|Looking upstream at the Green on the left and the Broad on the right, below the convergence point.|
|Looking downstream of the confluence of the Broad and Green. The river has almost doubled in width.|
|At this point it was almost like paddling across a lake.|
|Wash plant for hydraulic dredging. Notice the erosion problem on the bank.|
|Hydraulic dredge. This dredge is held in place with cables that allow it to move back and forth across the river channel.|
|The Broad below where the hydraulic dredge was seen.|
|When you see this house, downriver a short distance will be the Poors Ford Road Bridge.|
|The Poors Ford Road bridge in the distance.|
|Getting closer to the bridge and the take-out.|