Neuse River Rising paddle: Day 1

Environmental, Sound Rivers

Posted on September 27th, 2022

And they’re off. Today, Riverkeepers Sam, Jill and Emily launched from Smithfield Town Commons (with #FirstMateMiller and #AdventurePupCharlie). They had a 15-mile stretch to their camping destination, through a largely undeveloped area of the Neuse River.

They made it to their camping destination this evening, but it seems phone service is at a minimum in the Let’lones, the area once feared because of the presence of snakes and bootleggers (best left alone). We’ll be updating tomorrow morning on Day 2 of the Neuse River Rising!



Our first day on the Neuse was spectacular. We put in at Smithfield at 11am to a perfect fall day giving no sign of the stormy weather still coming.

Paddling on the Neuse, it’s obvious why the native Neusiok tribe named it the Peace river. The fifteen miles of river we paddled today were beautiful, undeveloped, and filled with life. In a single day, we saw deer,  otter, many species of birds and even a marmot.  And we saw no other people. This stretch of the Neuse river is colloquially called the LetLones because it’s so remote, and filled with snakes that folks say it’s best left alone. We agree that it should be left alone, but for different reasons. Being one of the last remaining swaths of undeveloped land along the Neuse, this place is special.  Seeing the river from the water allowed us to not only appreciate the beauty, but to also see the contrast between wild places and the growing number of clearcuts and new developments that are also starting to encroach on this area. Paddling on the Neuse today was a reminder of what we’re fighting for, and why we work so hard to protect clean water and the communities who rely on it. 

We’re spending our first night camping out on a sandbar with a warm fire, a delicious riverside pasta dinner, and the sounds of the birds, crickets and steady flow of the Neuse.

 Keep following us as we make our way down river and have more stories to tell about the beauties and struggles along the way.

#FirstMateMiller sporting his Neuse River Rising bandana!

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