Congaree National Park Paddle

Calling all paddlers! We'll meet at Congaree National Park (Harry Hampton Visitor Center) to paddle the South Cedar Creek area in the swamp at the conjunction of the Congaree and Catawba-Wateree Rivers. We'll have folks from multiple groups, so come meet a new paddler with the same passion as yourself! The event is free for Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation members and $25 for non-members. Please support our efforts to protect beautiful waters like this one. Bring a snack, sufficient water, sunblock, lunch, and kayaks/gear, including life jackets (pfd's) that is in safe, working condition.

Come paddle the swamp where the Catawba-Wateree River meets the Congaree River, and this flat-water paddle is a great change of pace at the southernmost extent of our basin. Astonishing biodiversity exists in Congaree National Park, the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. Waters from the Congaree and Wateree Rivers sweep through the floodplain, carrying nutrients and sediments that nourish and rejuvenate this ecosystem and support the growth of national and state champion trees. PLEASE RSVP to Riverkeeper Sam Perkins ([masked]).

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South for approximately 95 miles to Exit 5. Follow directions below from I 77, Exit 5. At Exit 5 turn off onto SC Hwy 48 East (Bluff Rd.), following the brown and white Congaree National Park directional signs. Travel southeast approximately 12 miles on SC Hwy 48 (Bluff Rd.) toward Gadsden. Take the right fork onto Old Bluff Rd. at the brown and white sign. At the large park entrance sign, turn right onto the park entrance road and proceed one mile to the Harry Hampton Visitor Center. Parking lots will be on the right.

An interactive park map can be found here: http://www.nps.gov/common/commonspot/customcf/apps/maps/showmap.cfm?alphacode=cong&parkname=Congaree The National Park website is here: http://www.nps.gov/cong/index.htm

****CONTACT Catawba River Expeditions [masked]) for kayayk/gear rental.****

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  • Tam

    Thanks to all who enjoyed this paddle and for the pictures shared! Enjoyed kayaking for the first time with some who are locals and with some from Palmetto Paddlers, in the Columbia, SC area. Also enjoyed meeting Bill, the Congaree Riverkeeper and hearing about the Congaree Riverkeeper Foundation's current issues. Thanks again for your participation! The pictures are awesome!! Looking forward to a great '14 CRF Meetup year!!

    A special word of thanks to: Dan, who is co-organizing/co-guiding many of our paddles; Andy, who is helping with the Bridgewater Meetup; and Mike, who provides great mentoring and a watchful eye for river safety for our Meetups! You ROCK, guys!!

    March 10, 2014

  • Tom J.

    Good scenery and high water to help with the blowdowns

    1 · March 9, 2014

  • Mike B.

    Great conditions and organization! Thanks Tam and Sam. Really look forward to the next one! Thanks to Andy as well for your scouting reports.

    1 · March 8, 2014

  • William

    Flat rite :'(

    March 8, 2014

  • Andy H.

    Looks like water will top out at about 7.5'. Probably have some overflow of the banks but it should make any fallen trees less of a problem. Just need to ensure we stay on the trail.

    March 7, 2014

    • Mike B.

      See you down there Andy, should be a nice day.

      March 8, 2014

  • Mike B.

    Always good to have a backup plan. Thanks Tam. See you in the morning.

    1 · March 7, 2014

  • Tam

    We have a very safe backup plan, a young oxbow lake, if necessary. Congaree is one of the most beautiful, mystical places in SC to enjoy, and I hope to see you in the morning!! : )

    March 7, 2014

  • Mike B.

    It's certain there will be plenty of water tomorrow. Watching the gage...

    1 · March 7, 2014

  • Tam

    Several have asked about the water level, which is currently safe, at Congaree tonight....I will be in a wetsuit/drysuit to assist any paddler that needs help getting in/out of his/her kayak. The water level will be checked early in the morning also for safety.....

    Thanks for all participation in Congaree, which is one of the most beautiful, breathtaking places in SC to paddle.... : )

    March 7, 2014

  • Tam

    I'm hearing 70 degrees and sunny for here Sat. !!: )

    1 · March 5, 2014

  • Kim D.

    Spring break has messef me up. Will have to go another time

    1 · March 5, 2014

    • Tam

      : (

      March 5, 2014

  • Tam

    Regarding the $25 suggested fee for non-CRF members who participate at Congaree and a few other paddles.....

    CRF, a 501(c)3 non-profit, works to educate people about the Catawba-Wateree River, to protect the River, and to advocate for the River. It is a big job and we need your help. The Catawba-Wateree basin includes approximately 5000 miles of waterways flowing through 11 major lakes. The basin includes portions of 24 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina. CRF currently has only three full-time employees, in addition to numerous volunteers, who work continuously to make this happen. Our CRF members' fees and donations, such as the fee for this event, support operating expenses. We are constantly at the same risks as those surrounding the Dan River, which had a recent high-profile coal ash spill. Coal ash contains arsenic, cobalt and manganese, which have severe side effects, such as cancer and birth defects (and more).

    March 5, 2014

    • Tam

      Most of the paddles on this Meetup will be free thanks to volunteers who share their time and trip expenses. I hope that 2014 will offer MANY more breathtaking opps to enjoy the Catawba River and more. For those who entertain alternative gifts for friends/family, CRF donations can also be made in honor/memory of a significant other. Thanks tremendously for current/past participation of CRF and their great events/programs, such as the Youth Kayak Program, which mentors youth in Boys/Girls Clubs of Charlotte.

      March 5, 2014

    • Tam

      Membership/donations/hon­orariums can be made at: catawbariverkeeper.org

      March 5, 2014

  • William

    Cool

    1 · March 4, 2014

  • Andy H.

    Keep fingers crossed for water levels between 3 - 7 feet. Creek water level gage at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/sc/nwis/uv/?site_no=02169672

    1 · March 2, 2014

    • Tam

      So thankful you're participating, Andy : )

      March 4, 2014

  • Andy H.

    Read my previous post first. (I apologize for making this two posts. I got wordy.)
    The park is fantastic and now is the time to see it (before the bugs and snakes become active). Don't let the prospect of encountering some strainers turn you off but it will be a bit more difficult that you may have anticipated. BTW the new parking area at Cedar Crk Landing is wonderful!

    2 · February 26, 2014

    • Mike B.

      Thanks for the good information on recent conditions Andy!

      1 · February 26, 2014

  • Andy H.

    A group of Catawba Cruisers did the section upstream (Bannister Bridge to from Cedar Creek Landing) on 22 Feb. We encountered close to a hundred trees fallen into the water. Some just a few branches, others completely blocking the creek with trunks. At least three portages were required. We had a blast but it was a hard paddle and took almost 5 hours.
    The rangers claimed that the creek downstream from Cedar Crk Landing is in better shape but I would still expect numerous fallen trees.
    We were greatly aided by the water level. At a gage reading of 5', many trees had just enough water to "scoot" over, others had just enough space to limbo under, the water was just high enough so getting in and out of the boats at portages wasn't difficult, and there was just enough water to bypass many trees by paddling off the main stream through the cypress knees. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/sc/nwis/uv/?site_no=02169672

    1 · February 26, 2014

  • Kim D.

    Cant wait

    1 · February 18, 2014

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