A celebration of eastern NC life

Published 3:29 pm Monday, September 19, 2016

Two things by which eastern North Carolina is known are barbecue and blue crab, so it’s no wonder that two of Washington’s signature events celebrate this bounty of both land and sea. Those two events are Saturday’s Pickin’ on the Pamlico and the barbecue festival Smoke on the Water on Oct. 22. Both are held on the waterfront in downtown Washington; both take advantage of one of the county’s most valuable resources: the Pamlico River.

Beaufort County has many precious resources, in the streams, creeks and rivers that meander through the coastal plain. They provide endless hours of enjoyment, both on and off the water; they provide food in the crabs and fish pulled from them; they provide a living for many. They make Beaufort County a unique landscape in which to live.

So when a person, or a group of like-minded people, set out to protect the local waterways, everyone should rally around and support them. Over the last several years, one group of people passionate about their natural environment, has stood up to a large corporation and the state government department backing it. These people are backed by conviction — a conviction that local waterways should be treasured and protected for the use of generations to come.

They are determined to “Save Blounts Creek.” They are a motley group of homeowners and conservationists, environmentalists and small business owners who depend on business the river brings them. They are the average Joe and those with special skills to lend to a cause.

One of those with special skills is Ed Rhine, a Blounts Creek resident, a retired school administrator, a woodworker and hobbyist. Rhine has made it his personal mission to support the “Save Blounts Creek” movement by combining his passion for the creek and his passion for woodworking. His handcrafted strip canoe, made in his Blounts Creek workshop, will be raffled off. All the money raised will be donated to the Sound Rivers Foundation, the organization that filed a petition with the state to rescind a discharge permit that could very well jeopardize the future of the creek and its aquatic life. At $20 per raffle ticket and only 500 of them being sold, that’s $10,000 that Rhine hopes to donate to Sound Rivers’ legal battle with the Department of Environmental Quality and Martin Marietta Materials Inc.

Here, rallying around a movement is as simple as handing over a $20 bill, with the chance that one might receive in return a river-worthy vessel that is part canoe, part kayak and all a work of art.

There’s no better occasion than to have the drawing for the canoe at Smoke on the Water. After all, the event is a celebration of the eastern North Carolina way of life, as is the “Save Blounts Creek” movement.

For more information about the raffle, contact Ed Rhine at edwardrhine@yahoo.com or call 252-975-1568.