by Travis Graves
Bill Hines has been a volunteer with Sound Rivers longer than I can remember. I say that because Bill has been volunteering for the Neuse River Foundation and now Sound Rivers since before I even lived here. As a matter of fact, when I moved to New Bern, Bill was the first person I met at Sound Rivers and was a mentor to me while I was a college intern. I have many firsts that I can attribute to Bill; my first time paddling our captivating black water swamps was with Bill, the first time I saw (and smelled) a hog CAFO up close was with Bill, and the first time I investigated a fish kill was also with Bill. Many of my first memories as a Riverkeeper are connected to Bill Hines in one way or another. That makes this chapter of Currents extra special to me, as it is a way for me to say thank you once again to a man that has been meaningful to me personally, and has meant so much to the health of our public waters.
Bill is an accomplished paddler who has assumed personal responsibility for the waterways around Oriental. He organizes patrols every week with a group of kayaking enthusiasts and bird watchers, picking up trash, monitoring the health of the rivers and creeks, and appreciating nature. To say that Bill is just an accomplished paddler is an understatement He is an advocate, ambassador, and agitator for action on the Lower Neuse River and he, again literally, wrote the chapter on paddling the Neuse River – you can read it in the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail Guide, section 11A-16A Paddling the Neuse River, which he wrote from his own experiences paddling the entire length of the river from its origins at Falls Lake to its mouth at Pamlico Sound, which he does each spring to help raise awareness.
Making a difference is all about people, and Bill is one of those people that makes a difference every day. Thank you, Bill!
I had an opportunity to talk with Bill about his time volunteering with Sound Rivers recently, here’s what he had to say:
SRI: “How long have you been involved with Sound Rivers?”
Bill: “I moved to Oriental October of 2012. In November I went to a talk at PCC (Pamlico Community College) by Riverkeeper Mitch Blake and volunteered that night with the Neuse River Foundation. When Lauren Wargo took Mitch’s place I worked with her until she left to sail around the world. Then I filled in as the river keeper until Travis Graves was hired.”
SRI: “Why did you decide to become involved with the organization?”
Bill: “I worked with the Riverkeeper organization in Ohio. I had a 7 mile section of the Great Miami River. Every Thursday night a group of us kayaked the river cleaning, monitoring and enjoying. After 3 years I was rewarded with the second Bald Eagle nest in Southern Ohio establish in my area. I organized trips from end to end on many of the rivers in the area for my scouts (Little Miami River, Mad River and Great Miami River). Paddling on a regular basis with the amazing wildlife and scenic beauty had me hooked.”
SRI: “What is your favorite aspect of being a member of Sound Rivers?”
Bill: “I enjoy taking people out on the waters of Pamlico County and sharing with them the treasures that we all need to work at preserving. It’s all about the changing of hearts and minds to protect and enjoy our local waters. I enjoy talking with anyone group or individual about our nursery marshes and what an important part they play in our local economy, recreation and environment.”