Monday, March 14, 2011

Hart's Access at Highway 704

Spring 2010 Paddler Cleanup
More than 20 years ago a group of people in Stokes and Rockingham Counties joined together to establish a network of public river access sites along the Dan River Trail.

Creating and protecting access to the Dan River for fishing and floating over the intervening years has demanded the vision, initiative and cooperation of many people and institutions. Success in maintaining the network has seen its ups and downs. The first week of March 2011 the Dan River Trail had another major success.
Late Summer 2010
Grading & Gravel

Spring 2011
NC Wildlife Kiosk & building
slated for demolition.
The river access known as “Hart's Access” at Highway 704 near Francisco, NC, is coming to the end of its 25 year lease agreement with the county. Since the late 1990s when the county budget could no longer stretch to provide maintenance many different groups and individuals have taken it upon themselves to maintain this and other access sites. Most recently a coalition of local canoe and kayak clubs graded and graveled the steep driveway and parking area. But an old, half-burned house – full of the childhood memories of the Hart family – needed to be removed. For Joann Hart, who owns the property with her brother, Johnny, the site had become a danger that needed to be fixed.

Spring 2011
NC Wildlife Res. Comm at work
A partnership was formed between the Harts, the County, and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to remove the building in exchange for another 15 year lease.

Spring 2011
Building removed
This past Monday a NCWRC crew of two arrived with equipment. With the addition of a county dumptruck and driver, the site was leveled and hauled off. By 4pm Tuesday all that remained was a seeded and strawed clearing in the woods. As Darren Wade, NCWRC Engineering Services Chief, prepared to head off to the next project he told me (with a big smile), “as long as we're keeping access open and helping folks get out in nature I'm tickled to do what I can.” A man who loves his job.

Spring 2011
Darren Wade, NCWRC, Engineering
Following is a short list of those who have supported this small project to improve and save Harts Access:
  • Kin Hodges, Fisheries Biologist, NCWRC
  • Jimmy Boles, Enforcement, NCWRC
  • Darren Wade, Engineering Services, NCWRC
  • Alan Wood, Stokes Economic Development
  • Frankie Burcham, Fire Marshall
  • Mark Delehant, County Operations
  • Brandon Joyce, Stokes Environmental Health
  • Don George, attorney
  • Triad River Runners
  • Smith River Valley Canoe Club
  • Tarheel Paddlers Association
and especially
  • Johnny Hart and Joanne Hart, owners of the property where Hart's Access is located.
Thanks to all who help keep access open to outdoor recreation!

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