Tar camping platforms on the rise

Published 9:16 pm Thursday, April 17, 2014

Starting at Wilton Slopes Park near Oxford and ending at Camp Boddie Boy Scout Camp near Chocowinity, the Tar-Pamlico River Blue Trail runs 170 miles on North Carolina waterways. Now, kayakers and canoeists will be able to extend their overnight trips with the addition of another camping platform along the trail.

With $5,000 assistance from Novozymes, located in Louisberg, the Pamlico Tar River Foundation is building a camping site in Franklin County near Vollmer Farms in Bunn.

The new platform will be the only one located in Franklin County, and it begins more expansion across the Blue Trail. It will be the fifth camping site erected. The other locations are in Rocky Mount, and Pitt and Edgecombe counties.

“We hope to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the company Novozymes on April 28,” Heather Jacobs-Deck, Pamlico-Tar River Riverkeeper, said. “We are hoping this will be completely done by next week.”

The 15 platforms planned for the Blue Trail are only accessible by river, and feature wooden platforms and screened-in rooms for camping.

“Our goal was to have a platform every 10 to 15 miles,” Jacobs Deck said. “A slow paddle, you’ll be able to hit a platform and camp on.”

A paddle trek on the Blue Trail may take a week or two, according to Jacobs Deck, who, nearly a decade ago, made her own trip starting at N.C. Highway 96 in Granville County to the end in Washington.

“You kind of want to estimate during the light hours that you’ll go two-to-three miles per hour of paddling,” Jacobs Deck said. “A paddler may get 24 miles per day.”

Since the campaign began, PTRF has raised $125,000 for the project through donations and grants and plans to build nine more camping platforms along the Tar-Pamlico River.

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